Better known by his stage name, DJ Chris Styles, Sirius XM Radio personality and one of Washington D.C.’s hottest DJs, alumnus Chris Banks, SOC/BA ’02, was introduced to American University as a high school student while growing up in Takoma Park, Md.
Attending Dematha Catholic High School basketball games in Bender Arena and participating in a campus tour was enough to convince Banks that AU was the place for him. “I wanted to go some place that was small, but not where everyone from my high school or neighborhood would go, because I had started my deejay business,” he says. Inspired to deejay by a friend’s older brother, this young entertainment alumnus started his music career selling go-go tapes to high school classmates and turned his passion into a profession.
“When I was a student, Karen Gerlach (now AU director of student activities) booked me for a ton of events, allowed me to deejay on campus, and [helped me] get recognized.” Banks took advantage of many opportunities to announce for several AU basketball and soccer games, and interned at Hot 99.5, a top 40 radio station in Washington, all while successfully completing his final year on the AU dean’s list. As a member of the AU Hip Hop Zone on ATV, Banks remembers interviewing music artist Alisha Keys and rappers Eminem, OutKast, and Fabolous.
“I’ve always been an outgoing person, but being at AU really magnified that,” says Banks, who splits his time with his nightly radio show and live weekend deejaying at District Nightclub in Adams Morgan and Ibiza Night Club in northeast D.C. Banks recognizes his AU professors for teaching him business and communications skills he now uses to manage his successful deejaying company, Chris Styles DJs.
A proud husband and father, Banks offers the following advice to students desiring to walk in his footsteps: “Everything matters, and everyone matters. You never know what relationships other people have, and somehow you will cross paths with that person again.”