It’s rare for nightlife to recognize a door personality who isn’t some sort of drag character but everybody loves Rockbar’s Dijoun (who also has a sort of drag character, but more on that later). From the a dancer in House of LaBeija to a 2017 GLAM award nominee , get into Mr. Thompson!
Thotyssey: Hey Dijoun, thank you for talking to us today! There are many congratulations in order… so first off, congrats on winning the karaoke competition at Stonewall recently. What was your winning song?
Dijoun Thompson: “On the Wings of Love,” by Jeffrey Osbourne. He’s my comfort song.
Yes, I’ve heard you do that one in Karaokes Past! It never fails to bring the house down. I love your voice, were you always a singer?
I’m a professional dancer by trade. I did two years of Alvin Ailey while going to FIT for my design and marketing degree.Singing is a hobby for me. I literally had no vocal training at all. I have a good ear for music, and picked it up from my parents, who are singers in a Pentecostal church. My father is Puerto Rican. I usually went to his church, but my faith is Roman Catholic. I’m religious to a degree, if you wanted to know!
Have you always lived in New York?
No. I moved from Key West, Florida just after I graduated from high school. I was part of the gifted school district. I moved to NYC around ‘91, then stayed in Connecticut for about a year. That’s when I met my almost-husband, while going back and forth to college and promoting the nightlife circuit, like Champs, Twilo, Limelight, Kings, and Sound Factory…and the list goes on. Nightlife paid most of my college tuition, strangely!
How did you discover nightlife?
I literally stumbled upon it. Most of my then-friends in college were going to these hotspots. I loved to dance, so to not be so engulfed in school and Ailey, I decided to give it a go. That’s when I first experienced the Voguing “Ballroom” scene, which strangely landed me in the legendary Paris is Burning documentary.
I didn’t know that! Were you n a House?
I was in the House of LaBeija. My uncle Gerald was one of the founders of that House. There’s a small clip of me walking the “runway” in the unedited version of that documentary. I didn’t even know that I was a part of something so legendary at the time.
The legend continues! And yay, you’re a first time GLAM nominee for your Door God reign at Rockbar! That must feel good.
It’s great to be known for what I do at Rockbar. Most bouncers get a bad rap for being A**holes… but I’m trying my best to change that dynamic. I want people to know that I’m just as much a part of the community as they are. I’ve been called many titles working the door at Rockbar:. Mother Door, Mother Fan, etc.!
When did you start doing doors? Was it at Rockbar?
About four and a half years ago, with Rockbar. Chi-Chiz was another bar where I occasionally was the bouncer, but mainly a happy hour bartender.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen during your tenure as a door person?
I think I’ve seen it all. There’s not a day in the weekend I’m at Rockbar that isn’t crazy. But I’m able to handle whatever comes my way.
And you are such a friendly presence! That’s a rarity these days when it comes to door personalities, who in fairness have to deal with a lot of assholes. How do you keep so congenial?
I believe everyone has a story: some good, some bad. I’ve met some people who just hate the world in general. I usually sense what type of vibe a person evokes before greeting them. But in essence, I throw in some silly charm before checking their I.D’s, which seems to work in my favor. Truthfully, some people just need a really good hug to know that everything will be okay. The assholes, I give a warning to first before they enter the bar. Some have tested the waters.. But later are very apologetic about their initial approach to me.
I’m probably one of the few bouncers that actually cares about my customers. Instead of being unresponsive and unapproachable, I try to change the dynamic to let everyone know that “I’m here, and I’m genuinely here to protect you.” A friend who’s every bit a part of the community.
That is such a rare quality! Rockbar has so many great shows and parties, and this year the bar itself was GLAM-nominated for Best Bar! Being slightly off the beaten track (right off the pier on Christopher Street in the West Village) has meant that it has had to rely on word-of-mouth to grow. Do you think everybody’s finally figuring out what a great spot the bar is?
With social media becoming a big part in promoting and marketing, I think people have finally noticed that the lower West Village isn’t completely dead. We still have a lot of work to do, to be fully recognized… but we’re almost there.
On top of all the great queens that work there, you’ve been known to turn a number or two as a lady on your birthday and special occasions. What’s your drag name again, and when did she first turn up?
Dee-Dee Ninja (Ebony) has been around for over 10 years. I’ve always been the special guest for many charitable organizations structured mainly around the LGBTQ community. I absolutely enjoy dancing. I’m still an active advocate for the homeless LGBTQ youth groups.
Next stop, the GLAMs. Was your nomination a surprise? Door people who aren’t kooky characters tend to get slighted by nightlife, let alone GLAM voters.
I was really surprised to be nominated for a GLAM Award. It is truly an amazing Honor. I really do appreciate the recognition.
Yes… in the near future. Maybe even my own event (hint hint)…
Exciting! Okay last question… what’s the most annoying thing a person can say/do at the door with a doorman?
First one is: “You really want to check my I.D.? I’m old!” (I.D.’s year says”1995″). Number two: an underage guy calls me the “N” word, but wants me to let him and five friends into the bar with no identification.
Children, do better! You’re the best Dijoun, congrats and good luck!