There’s no question about it: women are pretty much leveraging themselves in the music industry, especially as disc jockeys. Wanting to join a community amongst other DJ’s is a bit intimidating. Why? Because I am a girl and most people expect me to ‘make the booty bounce,’ even though I don’t even know how to twerk. Of course, there are several other reasons why I would ever get nervous once I hop on the decks, but the main reason is that of the preconceived notions of my sexuality.
Whether it’s practicing or djing a small event, I always feel like I’m being judged. There are times where I get this feeling that someone is standing over my shoulders and watching my every move. They can be chiding my transitions or personal choice of filtering out a song before dropping out the lows. It doesn’t help when I surround myself around a lot of male DJs who I personally idolize. It’s sort of nerve-wracking, and half of the time, I feel like someone is judging my movements, but in actuality, it’s just me. I tend to overthink the next song I want to drop and beat up on myself for nudging a song too much it’s offbeat, all because I want everything to be perfect. If I don’t make any mistakes, that gives them one less reason to think that I suck!
My taste in music will never reflect the way I dress. I’m saying this now because I believe that when people see me, they automatically assume that I’m going to play Beyonce or Trey Songz. When a man hears a banger or a song with a hard kicking bass, I know he’s scratching his head. “Where did she find this song?” “What does she know about this type of music?” “Does she only ever play club music?” In my opinion, I try to play as many genres as possible to touch all bases for every ethnicity, race, age group, etc. If people like something that I’m playing, I’m bound to continue going until they want to hear something different. I may dress in overalls, flannels, combat boots, and wear extremely dark lipstick, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to hear Ciara — but you might hear Future. I’m just sayin’!
Finally, preening and catcalling is not okay when I’m walking down the street, and it’s, sure enough, intolerable when I’m djing. I get it, I do! Men and women are going stare at something they want; especially if they find something to be attractive or if certain features stand out more than the rest. Does it mean I like being gawked at? Hell no! Is it something that I will have to get used to? I don’t even know.
I aspire to create music that makes people express themselves through dance. Djing is something that I don’t think I will ever stop. It’s fun, joyous and I love the way it makes people feel when a song comes on and they can’t help but dance. These small phobias will only prevent me from pursuing to be a great DJ. The more I think about it, will only stop me from doing what used to be inevitable for women. It’s not surprising that I have female DJ’s that I look up to, and I’m sure there are women they look up to. To some, djing was seen as a sport for the big boys, well the girls’ are getting big too — so make room!
Ebony Anderson-Brown, Editor in Chief & Publisher
Cover Image from: killingthecabinet.com