Ari Lennox in Sunday Dinner: DMV
Ari Lennox; photo courtesy of Spotify

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Sunday Dinner: DMV

“Some of the most talented artists come from D.C. and they deserve shine and support just as much as amazing artists from other places,” says local soul artist Ari Lennox in a statement to City Paper. Lennox is referring to Spotify’s recent spotlight on the DMV’s innovative Black artists, Sunday Dinner: DMV. Released on Aug. 3, the seven-minute documentary features Rico Nasty, Anwan “Big G” Glover, Pusha T, and Lennox in a conversation with DJ and Spotify Black Music Editor Domo Wells on the “ripple effect of DMV music.” Directed by dayday, a Brooklyn-based, Black, queer multidisciplinary artist, the film poetically jumps from warm, colorful shots of the intimate Sunday dinner party to black and white scenes of D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, interspersing snippets of the insightful conversation with tracks by local artists. It plays like a multi-person love letter to the region, spanning “the 757”—eastern Virginia a la Virginia Beach—“to Baltimore.” But, like any good love story, it’s not without adversity. The artists share stories of coming up in a region known for its tough love. A singer from a young age, Lennox talks about her fight for a solo with her church choir as a child. “That’s literally DMV—it’s not easy, but you need that shit,” she says. Rico agrees; later in the film, the self-described rapper, mom, and “sometimes” fashionista bemoans D.C.’s lack of support for the city’s talent, asking where are the recording studios and high school musical engineering programs? “This is a musical city,” says Rico. “We should embrace that. We should feed that and put that in our children.” The creators also shout out the region’s various up-and-comers, including 15-year-old Leeto from Woodbridge, Virginia, and Baltimore’s YTK. Baltimore, Pusha T and Wells insist, is “so hot right now.” In addition to the doc, Spotify has also curated a two-and-a-half-hour playlist of established and emerging DMV artists, titled “Ripple Effect: DMV.” The Ripple Effect campaign seeks to showcase “under-the-radar artists and underserved genres exploding across cultural hubs within DMV, California, and Texas regions,” according to Spotify’s PR team. As Big G concludes at the film’s end, “We just trying to bring those lights right to our city. We have everything here, we just have to push, and it starts right here at this table.” The film can be streamed via Spotify’s Ripple Effect: DMV playlist or YouTube. Free with membership.