Finding Common Ground and Love in Harlem

Ms. Hunt’s transition from publicist to D.J. was a slow metamorphosis. She grew up in Chesapeake, Va., and graduated from the University ...


Ms. Hunt’s transition from publicist to D.J. was a slow metamorphosis. She grew up in Chesapeake, Va., and graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in English literature and African-American studies in 2003. Just after, she moved to Mexico City to teach. She hoped to become a D.J. there, too. “But I bought this D.J. equipment online, and I ended up getting scammed out of all my money,” she said. “I moved to New York because I was broke.”

Her sister, Kenya Hunt, was living in West Harlem. She moved in. “I got a temp job and started interning and found myself in the PR world.” The pull to play records never left her, though. Once she started playing music at the Fair Trade art parties organized by her artist friends Derrick Adams and Mickalene Thomas, she was in demand; she went on to play at benefits for the Public Art Fund and an Armory party at the Museum of Modern Art.

Ms. Berry knew nothing of the art world when they started dating. “I’m her mirage in the art desert,” she said. But Ms. Hunt liked it that way. Before they met, both were briefly on Tinder. “I can’t stress enough how unlike me it was to go on Tinder,” Ms. Hunt said. “But I said to myself, I need to expand my network. Everything was becoming artworld-centric. I needed to open up a new arena.”

She also needed to find a relationship that allowed her to fully inhabit the quality that she said best defines her: introversion. “Even though I can wear the hat of extrovert when I need to, I’m totally an introvert,” she said. Longtime friends like Raven Carter, who met Ms. Hunt in college, say her shyness is genuine. “She’s always had this way of making you feel cool by just being around her,” Ms. Carter said. “But she’s one who creates silently. Then, when she’s ready to reveal herself, it’s like, wow.”

Once Ms. Berry and Ms. Hunt finally passed the friend zone in the summer of 2017, they formalized their relationship in July at a Central Park version of Sundae Sermon, a D.J. party normally held in Harlem. Ms. Hunt overheard Ms. Berry talking with someone who mentioned she preferred the term “girlfriend” to “partner.” “I said, ‘I like girlfriend, too,” Ms. Hunt said. “And that was it.”

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