Just like many other male dominated industries, women have over the years started taking their place in Nigeria’s DJ scene. They are now performing in major parties, concerts and competing with male folks.
Three female DJs — DJ Switch, DJ Bonny, and DJ Cuppy sat with CNN to discuss their careers and what it means to be a female DJ in Nigeria.
“The DJ scene in Nigeria is obviously male-dominated. A lot of them are just scared, to be honest of what potentially a woman can do,” DJ Switch says.
“There are very few male DJs that are happy to see you. To be honest, in my experience, I’ve only met one here in Nigeria and I’ve met a lot outside Nigeria who are just happy.
They tell you, ‘Wow, what you did is great. I want to learn what you did. Can you show me that?’ They don’t look at the gender.” Switch explained, noting that she is an artist first and a female DJ second.
However, she uses the term, female DJ because she has to showcase how much she has put in her work.
“I don’t see a gender in front of that term DJ. It’s an art. I’m an artist and so I will refer to myself as a DJ. But for the purpose of making people really see, really appreciate the work that I’ve put in, I’d say female DJ.”
DJ Cuppy takes pride in pioneering African music on a global scale. Her company, Red Velvet Music which is an all-female African team is based in London to increase the influence of African music.
“I’m in a very unique position because typically when a lot of us grow up in Nigeria, if we are not told to be housewives, we’re told to be doctors and lawyers. I feel like my brand is speaking from a bit of a rebellion movement where we are saying, ‘you know what? Women can do this as well’.
Women are very, very powerful. It’s just about unlocking that power. A lot of times as a woman you are constricted as to what you can do. I had to leave Nigeria to realize my power. Because of what I have been able to achieve outside Nigeria, a lot of young Nigerians are now taking the same risks and actually, Nigeria is modernizing,” Cuppy says.
DJ Bonny thinks that with women on the DJ scene, the world is changing.
“I believe there have been too many women out there who sat behind the curtain to watch things. I feel that right now with all of them coming forward to do the things that a lot of men do, they’ve been able to see and observe things differently. So, they want to do things differently from what they have seen from a distance,” Bonny explains.