As I stepped up to the decks there was a crowd of hotsteppa’s, they stood their ground on the hockey arena floor. DJ Kwest introduced me as “DJ Kwe” (pronounced DJ Kway – meaning DJ Woman) and asked the crowd to give it up, propa! I placed my first record on the left turntable and warmed it up with a little test spin. The next record glided on the right turntable like it was an extension of my long lady DJ fingers. Cue up left, always start with the side my heart is on, snapped my middle finger back tight-roping the edge of the vinyl for grip, press on the start button, raise up the channel volume and slide my opening track forward with grace in slow motion. No turning back now. Suddenly, the speakers spoke the wise words of a Chief as we experienced the “Drumming Circle” intro together. This was the beginning track that captured the crowd, brought them to the stage and the journey had begun.
I had organized my records to be able to play exactly two minutes in order to play 27 records in a 60 minute set, leaving a few minutes to be uber-creative near the end. No matter what, I had to mix and cue precisely in order to reach that level of excellence, nothing a little math and sharp-shooting organizational standards can’t muster. Any DJ set opening should claim your attention. My first sound captured the moment like the siren on a fire engine, startling, yet grasping the levity of current situation, which led to the best set of my life. I started cueing up the right turntable, wait for it, wait for it, release! As soon as I heard the drop, I started to bring in the first mix. Mixing and mastering waves of highs, mids and lows, gently caressing the faders so that my passion for music can be heard. The message is loud and clear. Positivity took over the venue and the believers started to cheer. The first mix is over, and I’m flying high on the energy in the air, I can’t be stopped now. I’ve got to play the game and represent my name. Slam! The next record is on the table. Slam! The next record is on the table. I didn’t even have time to put my vinyl back in their proper sleeve, tsk tsk on me.
In the middle of my set, I’m bad ass now. In my groove and everyone is feeling my message of positivity. Every track had key words I was sharing with my fans, “I will keep on rising, love and happiness, we’re having big fun.” I wiped the glow from my face as the stage lights radiated dessert heat on my determined face. Those bellowing saxophone waves, uplifting tones, saturated the echoing arena with a call to all ages. “DJ Kwe, DJ Kwe, DJ Kwe,” they called out to me, all I could hear were female voices screaming from the crowd. At that moment, they figured it out, I was the only female DJ competing against two seasoned male DJ’s. The decision would be made by the crowd’s favourite of the night. It turned out to be a girl power event and we took over.
Back to back, messages sung by accapella’s. House music was the cure for our sins, the preacher. The tables were hot and absolutely technically sound. The Allen & Heath mixer, equalizing my fusion of music and mojo. Slam! Another record down. Slam! Another record down. I knew my Trackmasters wouldn’t let me down. The set was nearing the end while the crowd went off. It was my time to shine and I was damn fine. I ended with a remix of Bob Marley mixed with a BlackJazz record I had bought in New York, USA. I married those two tracks together in harmony like it was a gift from the Gods. Hit the sweet spot and stood back from the two decks to let both records play out, unified, solidified, I nailed it to the wall. Statuesque, liberated and completely stoic, I raised my hands above the crowd. I lived in that moment, a champion with a cause. It felt like my heart had opened up to the sky. The saxophone raised my good intentions through the roof and at that very moment, the crescendo dropped and the bass vibrated the entire stage. It was like the technics 1200’s turned bewitched and started dancing to the beats. Everyone let loose, my inspirational words had been heard, and this DJ competition was mine. I won the night, the crowd never lost sight, of my plight to do what’s right. That night I laid silently in my bed and thought to myself, I’m a DJ with a message. “Believe in Myself!”