Sleep experts say some people just need less sleep than others. DJ Rosie Hicks must be one of those — her toughest night is Thursday when she does hip-hop night at Club Hippo in Baltimore until 2 a.m., then has to be at work at 7:30 a.m. teaching special ed at one of the Kennedy Krieger schools.
For years she DJ’ed on both Thursday and Friday nights but only does one Friday night a month now.
“I don’t know, I just do it,” she says. “I’m used to it at this point. I’m fortunate I love both my jobs so I just go into it knowing I’m going to be a little more tired on Fridays.”
Hicks started spinning at Gallagher’s, a former women’s bar in Baltimore about 12 years ago. She was there one night when the manager fired the DJ and told the patrons they would have to provide their own music that night.
“I got hired that night,” Hicks says. “By the end of the night, all my friends were calling me DJ Rosie. I had never DJ’ed a day in my life.”
And she never stopped — in addition to her Hippo gig, she also has monthly nights at Cobalt (she’s spun for LURe since it started) and Phase 1 of Dupont in Washington. She also does weddings, parties and private events. Listen for her at the Her HRC event Sunday from 6-11 p.m. upstairs at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.). Her set is at 10 p.m. She’ll face off with lesbian DJs from Philadelphia, Boston and Washington. Tickets are available at the door or online. The event has its own page at hrc.org.
Hicks, who spins a mix of hip-hop, R&B, pop and more depending on the event, says she just all-around loves music.
“I love making people happy out there,” the 30-year-old Baltimore native says. “The whole point of coming out to a bar or club to hear a DJ is to let go of worries and cares and enjoy it.”
Hicks has lived in Baltimore her whole life except for a brief stint in Cincinnati in 2007. She lives in Hamilton, the same East Baltimore neighborhood in which she grew up. She and long-time partner Kris got married after five years together last fall. Together they’re raising daughters Khenna, 8, and Jaidenne, 11 (Kris’s from a previous marriage).
In her free time, Hicks enjoys coaching her daughter’s soccer team, sports, watching the Ravens and, of course, DJing.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out since I was 18 years old. I was most afraid to tell my father, because I have a much older brother who is also gay and my father almost never talked about him. About seven months into being out, I mentioned to my dad in a nonchalant way that I went out with a girl I was dating at the time. He asked me why I never told him that I was interested in women, and I replied that I was afraid. He told me that he loved me, already knew and it didn’t matter. Twelve years later, he and my mother continue to be my biggest supporters.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
I really like both Ellen and Rosie O’Donnell. Both of these women live or have lived their lives in front of cameras and are fully honest about their lives and marriages to women, yet continue to be successful individuals in the entertainment industry.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
I’ll never forget my first visit to a gay club in D.C., the Hung Jury. It was a week after my 18th birthday and I had never danced with a woman before. Although I wouldn’t vote this club to be the “best” (more like a hole in the wall), I was certainly thankful that a club existed for 18 year olds to go and party with other women, as I had never experienced that and needed it. Venues for the underage crowd no longer exist! Fast forward to modern day D.C., and I absolutely love what women’s events I’m a part of, especially any LURe event. We recently celebrated our four-year anniversary at Cobalt and I’ve got nothing but love for that venue!
Describe your dream wedding.
I already had it right here in Baltimore on Oct. 12, 2012 at Cylburn Arboretum. We were surrounded by 125 friends and family, our parents walked down the aisle with us, the weather was perfect and everything went as planned! The icing on the cake? Not wanting to wait to see if Maryland passed marriage equality, we made our marriage official in D.C. a week prior, which requires a D.C. address on your certificate. Instead of having it done at the courthouse, a good friend of mine who is an officiant in the D.C. area married us at our favorite coffee shop, Starbucks on 14th Street!
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
I am very passionate about working with individuals with special needs especially those who are in the process of exiting the school system and preparing for the transition into adulthood.
What historical outcome would you change?
I would bring back some of our most iconic figures who were lost too soon. There were too many people who were wise beyond their years and taken away from us. Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, etc.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Boy bands and the fact that I still love them. But I’m talking ‘NSYNC, 98 degrees, and the Backstreet Boys. I know all the words and I’m not even ashamed! Losing Michael Jackson was also really tough.
On what do you insist?
Honesty, loyalty, integrity, laughter and a lack of overall B.S.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
“Whyyyy do I always need the bathroom in an emergency fashion after leaving work?”
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Dear Rosie, When Do You Sleep?”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I’d probably change the channel. I like being me, and I wouldn’t be who and where I am today without the fact that I’m a woman who loves women.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I’m a non-church attending Christian, who has had plenty of personal proof that God is looking out for us. I’m far from a Bible thumper and would never try to sway even one person to believe what I do. With that said, I’m sure there is a DJ booth in the sky with my name on it whenever it’s that time.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Always remember to give back to the community that supports you and be grateful. None of us got where we are without support from someone.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My wife Kris, my kids and my parents.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That there has to be a “guy” and a “girl” or rigid gender roles in every same-sex relationship. People assume that I’m the “guy” because I despise dresses and don’t do makeup. You know what they say about assuming right?
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
I haven’t watched any LGBT movies in ages, but my coming out movie was definitely “But I’m a Cheerleader.”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Valentine’s Day! Totally a waste of money. You should show your significant other love every day of the year.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
Winning Best DJ in the 2012 Washington Blade Best of Gay D.C. was pretty amazing for me. It felt like my last 11 years of working hard to entertain the LGBT community finally paid off! I’d also say my two college degrees feel pretty good.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That 90 percent of the people I stressed about being my friend/dating me/ spending time with me at that time would only lead me to bigger and better things, and that it’s OK to lose some people along the way. The 10 percent who are still here (and you know who you are) are so very special to me and I’m always going to be thankful for that. Your social world at that time means so much to you, but as you get older and more focused, you see what’s truly important.
I love the people, the culture and diversity, the energy and the nightlife. It’s the city that loves you back! Thank you D.C. for all the years we’ve shared, and here’s to many more!