Two African Women DJs Flourish in a Male Dominated Industry
The ability to literally move a group of people is not one to be underestimated.
Equally skilled and unapologetic, DJ AQ and DJ Wemi are planting the seeds of infinite possibilities for women in the music industry. Proving they too can rise to the occasion, there is no question these women have one common denominator—they’re not afraid to “mix” it up.
“I always encourage women to take over these male dominated spaces and do what they wish. It’s 2018. Don’t let no man stop you from doing you.” –DJ AQ
“Being a female DJ in a male dominated industry is fun. I think people never really know what to expect. Because of that, I get to maintain my mysteriousness which definitely grasps more attention than the expected presence of a male DJ.” –DJ Wemi
Crossing over from a DJ to co-producer or artist takes a high level of dedication and artistry. Marking a monumental moment in each of their careers, both women recently crossed over into the co-producer realm as they debuted their first-ever singles to the world.
DJ Wemi recently premiered her first song called “BitterSweet.”
“It is a single I produced with Jaylon, a dope producer from the UK. The artist I chose to work with on this single is ADH, a talented Senegalese Afro-Hop artist. It took 4 months to get this project together, and on Aug. 3rd we released the song, which is now on all major platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, and Youtube.” –DJ Wemi
DJ AQ recently dropped an Afro-house single called “Qiniseka.”
“For my first single I partnered up with Leksai Beats, Sona Golide & Doystks on the track. It’s our first single and is available on iTunes and Spotify. My first song ever and it’s really dope. So go check it out!” –DJ AQ
DJ AQ’s humble beginnings begin in Harlem, NY where she was raised by her traditional South African mother. Like many first generation Africans, AQ felt a sense of duality growing up navigating both American and South African identities.
“For me, it was Harlem outside but South Africa inside, if that makes sense. My mother always taught me about who I was, where I came from, and she never let me forget. I loved that my parents always made sure that I knew I was African... that it should be something I was proud of.”
DJ AQ’s South African culture had a major influence on her Afro-house sound.
“I’m an African playing authentic African music. It doesn’t get any more African then that! I initially started playing Afro house because people weren’t playing it enough and people didn’t really know much of it.”
Underwhelmed by the lack of diversity in the Afrobeat scene in NYC, AQ decided to push the South African culture herself and has arguably become one of the most respected South African women DJs in the city. Inspired by Afro-house greats like Caiiro, Shimza, Culoe De Song, AQ is on a mission to create her own legacy.
DJ Wemi’s story begins in the Bronx, NY where she was raised by a single, hard-working, and loving Nigerian mother who severed as an inspirational force in her life.
“Our mother always instilled in us the idea that we have to not only work hard for what we want, but also never to give up”.
As a Nigerian-American, Wemi is excited that “afrobeats are finally in”. Wemi classifies her music style as fluild, always staying true to her contagious and uplifting intuition.
“Honestly, I listen to different genres of music based on my mood or activity I am doing or feeling at the moment. Things that have happened as a DJ, and will in the future, are definitely a result of staying true to myself.”
Diverse in her style and taste, Wemi credits sensational DJ and producer Kaytranada as her inspiration.
“The main artist that influenced me into jump-starting my career with music is Kaytranada. He is very talented and extremely creative. His musical creations from original songs have definitely influenced me to tap into my musical talent side.”
Humbled by her growing success as both a model and DJ, Wemi is not stopping there. Always pushing herself creatively and professionally, she is excited for what’s to come.
“I still have a lot of growth ahead of me, but since I started DJing and where I am now in my career, I would describe my growth as natural.”
Divine in their own right, DJ AQ and DJ Wemi ground themselves in their African culture and innate passion for music. Never compartmentalizing themselves or abilities, both women are carving a path of success. AQ and Wemi claim that they are just getting started. Be on the lookout for more collabs and projects from them in the future.