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The White House’s new spinmeister: Hong Kong Hefner

The White House’s new spinmeister: Hong Kong Hefner

Ben Chang is one Obama administration official known by many names. By day, he spins news as the deputy spokesman for the National Security Council. By night — or at least before the weight of his current job responsibilities made doing so impossible — he spins records as DJ MSG, also known as Hong Kong Hefner, a disc jockey and fashion photographer extraordinaire.

Chang is an example of the new breed of Obama era up-and-comers who transcend the classical definition of the White House staffer. According to his personal Web site, he gigs in New York specializing in “Dancefloor jazz, funky breaks, old school & classic hip hop, indie pop/rock, new wave, dance punk, mutant disco…”

His fashion-shoot work has been featured on elle.com, in such magazines as Express Mada (“I’m Big in Lithuania,” he writes), and in the March 2008 issue of Blackbook magazine, where he gave readers an inside look at the U.N. delegates’ lounge. He was selected as one of Paper magazine’s “Beautiful People for 2008.”

Somewhere in all that, Chang has amassed 13-plus years in the Foreign Service, including diplomatic assignments in El Salvador, at the State Department in Washington, in Paris at the U.S. Mission to the OECD, and in New York at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, according to his Web site.

In Paris, he was known as “Slim Buddha” and his parties were said by one diplomatic source to be “off the hook.”

“I take all these pursuits very seriously,” Chang told Paper. “And there are times when one doesn’t know about the others.” But “his primary calling will always be diplomacy,” according to the magazine.

Chang declined to be interviewed for this story.