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World building is about the seeds you sow. It may feel like a dangerous thing to create spaces in a time like this, but it is never cowardly people that create change in treacherous moments, it is always the bold. DJ Freedem is one of our generation’s visionaries sowing bold worlds for people to participate in .

For ten years DJ Freedem, originally hailing from Atlanta and now residing in Brooklyn, NY has created soundscapes that combine his love of experimental, hip-hop and pop that bridged a path into his unique imagination and world; a world where sci-fi, trap, and counterculture swims together freely and make sense. It is in this deliberate cultivation of an utopia that birthed the viral sensation, Trap Gardening where DJ Freedem plays a character named Freedella Dé Vil that humorously delivers plant care tips and venomous relationship advice while decorated in silk and gold grills.

It is in this world where fantasy, nature, and Black culture all sprout in a way that brings levity and joy to the viewer. And in this world, he garnered a sizable fandom for all things DJ Freedem. This resulted in press in platforms like ​DAZED​ magazine,​ Vogue,​ and ​AFROPUNK​. In a brief time, what became a viral sensation turned into a community of people across genders, race, and sexualities that had a love for irreverent humor, plants, and counterculture. DJ Freedem doesn’t just have a following or a fandom, but a community that feasts on pop culture and Freedem’s artistic productions together.

Now, this expansion has resulted in the digital community called The UPT (The Underground Plant Trade) where White people are encouraged to give free plants and resources to Black people as an ongoing way to create community and a socio-political commentary on the need for Black people to receive reparations in our lifetime. The movement reminds one of Stevie Wonder’s 1979 experimental psychedelic-soul cult classic ​Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants ​where through visuals and sounds Wonder bridged Black life and nature. In the song “Power Flower,” Wonder sings, “It's not magic. It's not madness. Just the elements I style,” it feels as though these are the words that The UPT lives by while combining mythology, lo-fi 00s aesth, and internet nostalgia in a world specifically designed to escape the more treacherous parts of the 2020s.

It is just as much community building and resource sharing as it is satirical political commentary in a way that only DJ Freedem could supply it. It’s in this fine line where the genius of the DJ Freedem brand lives and continues to evolve. It’s in this genius that makes him not another social media influence or digital artist, but a God of a new world where nature and melanin reign supreme.

— Myles E. Johnson

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