“Hey, Mr. DJ, put a record on,” Madonna sings in her 2000 smash hit “Music.” However, if you talk to Brittany Sky, Kitty Cash or Angel + Dren, you better switch that to “Ms. DJ.” Yes, they’re female DJs–and damn proud of it.
Female DJs have been in the scene for ages, but they don’t get nearly as much shine as their male counterparts. This is just one example of the sexism Sky, Kitty Cash and Angel + Dren experience regularly in their field.
“Someone may think I don’t know how to set up my equipment [because I’m a woman],” Kitty Cash said in VH1’s new digital short Leaders of the New Sound. “They just didn’t think I was an actual talent.”
But the ladies have hope things will change for them (and all female DJs). “Now, it’s more accepted,” Sky said. “There’s all these female DJs. We should have control over what people ’wanna hear or what people move to.”
Especially when they’re so good at what they do. Kitty Cash, Sky and Angel + Dren are music aficionados and know exactly what buttons to push–literally–for their audiences to go wild.
“I play everything from reggae and soca, because I’m a Trini girl–I play hip-hop and rap,” Kitty Cash said.
All young and rooted in the New York music scene, these DJs work tirelessly to fine-tune their craft. That involves, yes, keeping up with music, but also knowing the mechanics behind it.
“You need to know how to use a controller,” Kitty Cash said. “You need to know how to use your turntables. You need to know how to use every mixer.” Our brains hurt just thinking about that!
So, where do these ladies find their inspiration? Our honorees at VH1 Hip Hop Honors: All Hail the Queens—Lil’ Kim, Salt-N-Pepa featuring Dj Spinderella, Missy Elliott and Queen Latifah–have been instrumental in building these DJs’ confidence. Angel + Dren cite playing after Salt-N-Pepa and Dj Spinderella as their most memorable professional moment.
Kitty Cash even did a tribute to Elliott at the ESSENCE Festival earlier this month–while Misdemeanor herself danced in the audience. “It was one of my favorite moments ever,” she said. We can imagine!
Watch the full interview with all the DJs in the video above, and tune into VH1 Hip Hop Honors: All Hail the Queens July 11 at 9 p.m. on VH1!