Quantcast

Women In The Mix: 4 Must Know WOC DJs Who Are Killing It!

Human Interest

After dancing my butt off at Everyday People's notoriously fun day party this past weekend, I was so proud to see so many great female DJs spinning on the ones and twos! As the divine feminine and gender revolution takes over our society, women are stepping into roles previously held exclusively by men.


I think it's important that women, and specifically women of color and QPOC get opportunities to succeed in industries that have been dominated by people with societal privilege. The world of DJing and music production make up two of these industries.

The DJ and music production industry has more diversity than it ever has before, yet awareness of this fact is still quite muted, and women DJ's are underrated. This read will spotlight four journeys and give more insights on why representation of WOC is important as told by four DJ phenoms.

DJ Demi Lobo @demilobo

DJ Demi Lobo is an LA-based DJ. She chose her stage name as her real name because she is an entrepreneur with multiple entrepreneurial ventures. So instead of choosing an artist name, radio name, author name, etc, she decided to go with DJ Demi Lobo, and it works for everything!

Her Style:

"When you hear me spin, you are going to hear your jams, and not just the current jams, I can play a hip-hop set, weddings, top 40, reggae etc...but my favorites are the sets where I can open up my catalogue and mix Cardi B with Busta Rhymes, Nicki Minaj with Mase, Biggie with Drake... If I close my eyes and envision those mixes, I'm ready to dance in my front room right now! Imagine the latest Future Song blended with 'Poison,' now that sounds like a challenge I want to try!"

Why Representation of Women in the DJ World is Important:

"Before I was a DJ, I was the youngest Radio Personality to ever be on 107.5 WGCI in Chicago, and before I was a Radio Personality, I was a Black pop recording artist. Going against the grain is in my blood. I feel like my purpose in life has always been to show those who look up to me, or even those who feel like their dream may be impossible, that it's not cliche, and you CAN truly do everything you put your mind to."

"Going against the grain is in my blood."

"If you look on any flyer for a club or an event, the majority of the time, the DJ is a male. In recent years, female DJs have been completely dominating the market (go us!). It is so important for my fellow ladies of color, to grab your fear by the horns, and chase after your dreams. There are clients now who seek out female DJs and producers, who will give the job to you JUST because they want to see other WOC win. Where there once was not, now there is a market for women to thrive in this industry. You just have the take the first step. I left my job on one of the biggest radio stations in the world to chase my dream of being a DJ in Los Angeles, so at this point, there is no roadblock that can come my way, that I will look at as an obstacle."

Her Greatest Accomplishment:

"I'd have to say playing at the grand opening of Ava Duvernay's new production studio in LA, Matt Barnes' "Athletes VS Cancer" event, and the grand opening of Ciroc Studios, just to name a few."

The Real on Song Requests:

"If we are at a wedding, I gotcha! Anywhere else, if I think it will be a good fit, I will mix it in. But if it is a random song you only hear in your shower, and you just want to hear it on loud speakers, then it will likely have to wait until next time (laughs)."

Kumi aka BAE BAE, @baexploitation

BAE BAE is another LA-based DJ. Her stage name used to be spelled "Bebe" like Bebe's kids, a classic cartoon show--but she tweaked the spelling a couple years ago. She's an Aries, which is the first astrological sign, so "BAE" (before anyone else) felt right.

Her Style:

"I'm an open format DJ and I like to play music by Black femme and women artists of many genres like R&B, Hip Hop, Dancehall, Afrobeat, Jersey Club, Vogue, and experimental club music. I like to focus on music that feels empowering to me, focusing on women of color and femme artists who are claiming their power. I really love to play 90s and 2000s throwbacks and mix them with newer music. I feel like I have an appeal to both older and younger audiences."

Why Representation of Women in the DJ World is Important:

"It is vital that women of color become visible in the music industry as DJs and producers because we will then have the power to shape the content of what people listen to on a daily basis. Music is a key component to our culture, so if we can influence that culture, we can change the world. As women of color in the music industry, we have the potential to create new forms of expression that represent our unique experiences and challenges. I specifically work hard to honor and represent Black femmes and women because I feel like we are some of the most degraded people on earth, as we stand at the intersection of racialized and gendered oppression."

"Music is a key component to our culture, so if we can influence that culture, we can change the world."

The Gender Biases She Deals With:

"There is often the belief that women aren't as talented as men DJs or producers. This is so far from the truth! I am tired of being a part of DJ lineups when they give women the early slots, and men the better slots. Femmes and women are my favorite DJs and producers because of their unique song selections and samples. We play music that affirms us. I also feel that we really know how to get women and femmes dancing on the dancefloor, which is the heart of any party. When I DJ, I dance; I always join the crowd and dance to at least one of the songs I play during a set. I like to see myself as a part of the audience--I do it for the community of dancers."

"We play music that affirms us."

Her Greatest Accomplishment:

"My biggest accomplishment has been creating my own parties in my community for a mostly black audience and collaborating with Black femmes and Black queer people to make them happen. I care deeply about creating safe and fun spaces in my own neighborhood. That's what got me into DJ-ing in the first place. Reclaiming space is a direct way to push against gentrification."

The Real on Song Requests:

"Typically, song requests suck the air out of DJ-ing, but if someone requests a song and it's on point, I will get on their wave. Ultimately, my goal is to help everyone have a good time, so if it's a good request, I'll take it!"

Coral aka FXWRK, @fxwrk

FXWRK is a DJ/Producer from New York. She got her stage name from a friend who made it up in college as a play on her last name.

Her Style:

"I'm an open format DJ with a preference for hip hop/rap, R&B, Motown classics, every sort of uptempo club music, and experimental, futuristic trap. What sets me apart is my transition style: I'll often mix one song into the next relatively quickly. It makes things surprising and exciting in a different way than a long, gradual mix. I also constantly hop between so many different genres to keep things unexpected."

Why Representation of Women in the DJ World is Important:

"Representation of women in the DJ world is so important to even the playing field. To make space in the industry for the overlooked, underprivileged creativity we possess. To change the public definition of what a DJ looks like, thereby creating new possibilities and templates for WOC in the future. To challenge outdated gender stereotypes about women in this male dominated field."

The Gender Biases She Deals With:

"There is definitely gender bias in this industry. Gender stereotypes, inequality, and sexism are omnipresent in the majority of male-dominated industries. Ours is no different. We face a variety of obstacles: exclusion from access to professional networks and opportunities, sexual harassment, informal social hierarchies built to protect men's positions of power, and more. It's not hard to find hateful or derogatory comment threads about women DJs online. Being underestimated or not taken seriously is another dynamic."

"Sexism is omnipresent in the majority of male-dominated industries. Ours is no different."

"For about three years, I was Global Director of a private international online community called SISTER, which eventually grew to become the world's largest group of women and nonbinary people in electronic music. It's a growing, supportive collective that has had a positive impact on many women in our field."

Her Greatest Accomplishments:

"My debut album called The Awakening, recently featured on Vice's music channel on Noisey.com! The SISTER Collective I spoke of. Doing a really good six-hour set last month, since it was my first time playing that long, and playing Boiler Room, NYC in 2016."

The Real on Song Requests:

"I honestly don't like them since I came up as an NYC underground club DJ. People who attend these kinds of parties tend not to ask for requests because they see the DJ as an artist in their own right. The set is a 'performance' and there's a level of trust.
If I'm playing the kind of event where I know to expect requests, I happily oblige."

Myah aka DJ Dimples, @djdimples

DJ Dimples is a Miami-based DJ. Her mother actually gave her the stage name Dimples! "She asked me in the kitchen, 'Do you want to be a ballerina or a musician?' Without second thought I replied, 'Musician thanks.' She gave me a look like, girl don't answer me that quick! (laughs) But I knew I was a music baby, so she responded, 'Well you have Dimples so name yourself Dj Dimples.' 'Ok, that's perfect.' I remember saying back to her."

Her Style:

"My sound and style is smooth, I tell a story when I DJ. I could tell you how my day went with the songs I will start with, or if I'm feelin' myself, and I can tell if the crowd is too; I have music for that as well. It's not much scratching in my sets, I am a cutter and a mixer for sure. I can scratch though, it's just never been as important for me."

Why Representation of Women in the DJ World is Important:

"It's important for women, and specifically WOC, to step into these roles so we can create more space and opportunity for people like us. It's not enough of us in the correct positions, so for women to be there, we will first seek out other women to fulfill these roles. No man can outthink or be smarter than a woman!"

The Gender Biases She Deals With:

"There are many gender biases, but what I do to set the record straight, is not give up! I make sure I prove people wrong. I don't stop until I do what you say I couldn't do."

"I don't stop until I do what you say I couldn't do."

Her Greatest Accomplishment:

"One of my greatest accomplishments as a DJ is providing opportunities for other women DJs with events that I now have. When I first started DJ-ing, I had to force my way in...now I only hire other women DJs. I'm so happy to be able to give other women a platform to show their craft, and actually be good!"

The Real on Song Requests:

"I don't mind song requests as long as you do not come and ask me to play a song I just played three songs ago (laughs). Other than that, they may remind me of something I haven't played. I play off the top of my head, I don't make sets before I DJ. I come in, feel the crowd out and go from there. We end up of course having a blast!"

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

I started dreaming about moving abroad when I was about 21 years old. I remember returning from a two-week study abroad trip to Dublin, Ireland having my eyes and mind wide open to the possibility of living overseas. This new travel passion was intensified after graduating from college in 2016, and going on a group trip to Italy. I was intoxicated by my love for Italy. It's hands down my favorite place. However, my post-grad life was one twist and turn after the next. I'm sure you can relate.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

If you are a frequent reader of my articles, then you know that I am front-of-the-class here for the culture. Using all of my platforms to be vocal about Black women and all things Blackity, Black, Black, Black is how I get down, and frankly, if you aren't here for me bragging on my people, then we probably won't have much in common. The wave has been snowballing too, because so many feel the same way I do, which is something we've had to consciously build up as a community.

Keep reading... Show less

This article is in partnership with Staples.

As a Black woman slaying in business, you're more than likely focused on the bottom line: Serving your customers and making sure the bag doesn't stop coming in. Well, there's obviously more to running a business than just making boss moves, but as the CEO or founder, you might not have the time, energy, or resources to fill in the blanks.

Keep reading... Show less

Whether still dealing with the aftershocks of the pandemic, not being able to get enough time off or money being a little on the tight side is what's preventing you from going on a romantic vacation this summer, who's to say that you can't do a sexy staycation instead? If the mere thought of that feels like a poor man's — or woman's — consolation prize, I promise you that it absolutely does not have to. Opting to stay at home while possibly throwing in a couple of day trip adventures (which is a classic definition of a staycation, by the way) can be loads of fun, super romantic and also really cost effective without feeling mad cheap.

Keep reading... Show less

Growing up, my mother didn't let me wear make-up. At the time, I was pissed. Oh, but now that I'm deep into my 40s, I'm ever grateful because it's rare that a week will go by and someone won't be shocked when I tell them my age. Meanwhile, a lot of the — I'm gonna be real — white women who I went to high school with? Whenever I run into them, the combination of constant tanning and piling on cosmetics back in the day now has them looking several — and I do mean, several — years older than I.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

'Insecure' Writer Mike Gauyo Talks His Journey From Med School To The Writers' Room

"Meeting Issa Rae was a story of perseverance, following up, being persistent and all of the characteristics and attributes you need to be a successful writer."

Latest Posts