Inside NYP: Corey Craig

The nuclear pharmacist moonlights as a DJ, specializing in gay pride events around the world.

Portrait of Nuclear Pharmacist Corey Craig
Portrait of Nuclear Pharmacist Corey Craig

I am kind of like the Spider-Man of the hospital.

When I tell people I’m a pharmacist during the week and then I DJ on the weekends, they think I’m joking. They think it’s me playing off the superhero alter-ego thing.

During the week, I don my scrubs and work in the nuclear pharmacy handling radioactive drugs. As a nuclear pharmacist, I work with injections or tracers that help diagnose and find cancer and other conditions. I make sure that the dose that each patient gets is the right calibration for the imaging and diagnostic procedure. After an injection, the patient goes through a scan to track the medication that is laced with radiation.

I’ve been a pharmacist since 1995. I used to be an oncology pharmacist at the hospital, compounding and creating the injections and infusions for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy treatments. I’ve also continued to study, and I will get my pharmacy doctorate in December.

On the weekends, I DJ. I travel all over the U.S. and Canada, and every year I go to Sydney, Australia, to spin for Mardi Gras. I’ve done pride events all over the U.S., including Los Angeles, San Diego, and Atlanta. Pride is actually a season of DJ traveling gigs for me. Some people call me a Pride DJ.

At the 2018 NYC Pride parade, with NewYork-Presbyterian as a sponsor, both my careers are converging, and I’ll be wearing both hats when I DJ at the after-party that closes out the annual NYC Pride celebration with music, fireworks, and a special performance by Kylie Minogue. It is part of a weekend event called Pride Island held on Pier 97 at Hudson River Park.

I’m openly out myself. It’s not just a job for me. I am part of the community. I’m vocal when it comes to LGBT rights. I’m not afraid to say what I need to say or point out things that are wrong.

With both parts of my life, I feel like I’m helping people. Sometimes music is the medicine. And sometimes medicine is the medicine.

I got into music because of my uncle. I grew up in Oklahoma and Texas, and my mother is the oldest of eight. Music was always playing around the house, and I listened to what my grandparents, aunts, and uncles listened to. After school, I would sneak into my uncle’s room and play around with the turntables. He taught me all about musical selections.

We listened to everything. There was always this stereotype that this little black kid from Oklahoma would only listen to rap, but we listened to everything: the J. Geils Band. Journey. He taught me to never be ashamed of what you like, musically. To this day I blame him because he didn’t keep his little pesky nephew out of his room.

Portrait of Corey Craig at the DJ booth

The DJ known as Coreyography

I got my big break in DJing after I moved to New York. A talent agent friend told me there was an opening for a DJ on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I made a creative and highly polished audition video. I didn’t get the job, but a lot of people saw that video, and I started getting gigs around the city and on Fire Island. Everybody knows me these days as Coreyography.

But it was the NYC Pride parade that was the biggest springboard for me. I began in 2009 when I did the after-party closing sunset set, which was very high profile. In 2013, I struck up a Twitter conversation with Whoopi Goldberg about the Defense of Marriage Act. I made a meme of her from Ghost, saying “DOMA, you’re in danger, girl.” And she saw it. I invited her to Pride, she came and met me backstage and introduced Cher to the audience.

Medicine has been a part of my life since I was a young boy. When I was growing up, my mom would talk to the pharmacist before she’d go see a doctor. Many people really trust their pharmacist. And so I always felt like pharmacists are helpful in ways that people don’t always give them credit for.

As far as music goes, if I can bring people together and take their mind off whatever is going on in the world or their lives and make them dance and be happy for at least an hour or so, then I’ve done my job.

Corey Craig, a nuclear pharmacist in the radiology department at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, is also a DJ who performs at the Pride Island after-party following the NYC Pride parade. He also performs at other pride events across the country. 

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