Can Teaching Young Women to DJ and Produce Solve Gender Inequality in Electronic Music?



February 26, 2016

At the Lower Eastside Girls Club, an organization that provides educational programs to lower-income young women in New York City, class is ending. “Get ready for DJ Stacia!” someone yells. The room erupts in cheers. An endearingly awkward tween girl with a ponytail and glasses focuses on her Pioneer controller as the other girls crowd around.

The girls are midway through a seven-week DJ workshop taught by WBAI DJ Kelly Webb and DJ Reborn at the Girls Club’s sleek $20 million building, which opened in October 2013 and houses everything from a high-tech science lab to a planetarium (all of the Girls Club’s programs are free, though they ask parents to volunteer at the organization in return). The studio where class is happening would be the envy of any professional DJ: it includes Serrato units donated by Pioneer, PUSH controllers and Ableton Live, and a ProTools mixer used by their in-house radio station, WGRL.

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