Last Night A DJ Saved My Life

Mirror mirror on the wall
Who is the top choice of them all?
There was a rumble tumble, five minutes it lasted
the mirror said….

DJ Spinderella

This October at the fourth annual BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Awards, the “Jazzy Joyce” DJ Award will be going to none other than DJ Spinderella of Salt-N-Pepa, the best-selling female rap group ever. Named after the legendary DJ Jazzy Joyce, this award goes to the often unacknowledged but incredibly talented and versatile female DJ who contributes greatly to the legacy of hip hop. Born and bred in Brooklyn, Spinderella had an affinity for music and performing at an early age. Spin, as she now prefers to go by, may not have always taken center stage in the videos or at the Salt-N-Pepa concerts, but she was definitely an integral part of the legendary trio and added flavor to the mix with her expert turntable skills. Remember the jam “Ain’t None Of Your Buisness?” Well, Spin actually co-wrote that hit-song, a feat that roused her to become more vocal in the group’s direction. When Salt-N-Pepa officially split in 2002, success continued to follow Spin in the form of multiple broadcasting opportunities, such as a syndicated Friday night show aired on HOT 97 and WPGC in D.C. and a co-hosting stint with Angie Martinez for HOT 97’s Ladies’ Night show. When she’s not rocking the crowds abroad or DJing for high profile events, you can catch this DJ-of-all-Trades on her nationally-syndicated show “The Back Spin.” Head HERE for more info and times.

DJ Cocoa Chanelle

Last year’s ‘Jazzy Joyce’ DJ Award recipient, DJ Cocoa Chanelle, actually began her music career as an MC, but quickly took to DJing at the age of 14 under her brother’s guidance. If you’re from New York, then chances are you’ve heard DJ Cocoa Chanelle on HOT 97 handling business. Or how about on television, where Chanelle became the first-ever BET resident DJ or the first female DJ to spin at MTV’s “Spring Break” special. All of the achievements that Chanelle has racked up puts her in a league of her own, so honoring ” New York’s Best Kept Secret” was a no brainer.

DJ Diamond Kuts

DJ Diamond Kuts

Both Spin and Cocoa Chanelle have ultimately helped to pave the way for the young, female DJs of today, like newcomer DJ Diamond Kuts, the 2007 ‘Jazzy Joyce’ DJ Award recipient. At the young age of 22, DJ Diamond Kuts has already done her fair share of history making by becoming the first and only female dj on the air in Philly. Kuts’ famous hip hop father, Grand Tone of the Masters of the Funk, introduced her to the art of dj’ing at an early age, however Kuts has always relied on her own talent, passion, and dedication to achieve her dreams. High School days of dropping her own highly sought after mixtapes then turned into nights of Djing at Philly clubs, which resulted in the opportunity to DJ Lil’ Mama’s 2007 tour as well as perform at the US Open, 106 & Park, MTV TRL and Rap City and on Power 99. We can’t wait to see what other accomplishments this Philly native has in store!

DJ Jazzy Joyce

DJ Jazzy Joyce

Because a DJ must know where she came from, to know where she’s going, it would be ludicrous not to discuss the first,the legendary, the ONE AND ONLY DJ Jazzy Joyce, the inaugural recipient of the award which we named in honor of her trailblazing work in the field. At the age of twelve, Joyce had decided that she would dedicate all of her time and energy to learning and honing her DJ skills. Instead of becoming discouraged by the absence of female DJs, this tenacious young woman from the Boogie Down worked even harder at crafting her skills. According to her biography on myspace, “JAZZY picked up her vinyl’s, got herself a pair of Technics (turntables) and practiced so long and hard that she practically ate and slept on them, developing her skills.She made [it] happen for herself.” [1] Joyce’s hard work soon began to pay-off as she quickly became associated with all things hip-hop. Where do we even being? Well, in 1983 Joyce won her 1st DJ award at the New Music Seminar, an achievement that set hundreds more into action, such as becoming the first lady of Funkmaster Flexx’s Big Dawg Pitbulls. To list off all of Joyce’s accomplishments would take more words and space than this post even allows, so be sure to go HERE for a more detailed resume of this inspirational woman. For now, name dropping will have to suffice (it is the music industry, after all): Globe and Whiz Kids, Sweet Trip, M.C Lyte, Africa Bambataa, Digable Planets, Rich Nice, Nenah Cherry, India.Arie, Mystic, Jaguar Wright, Tweet, Missy Elliot, Japan, Copenhagen, Amsterdam…seriously, we’d be here all day people! DJ Jazzy Joyce has proved to the world that females can mix, scratch, and cut with the best of them. So, how does she feel about being a female in a male dominated profession?

“I’ll give props to hot male DJ’s like Grand Master Flash, Red Alert, as well as Kid Kapri”, she says, “but I’ve always known that by being serious and dedicated to my craft, I could be just as good as my male predecessors, and even better”. [2]

All of the ‘Jazzy Joyce’ DJ Award recipients have shown tremendous fearlessness, dedication, and passion by going against what probably seemed like insurmountable odds. They’ve broken down barriers not only in the DJ world, but in the hip hop world as well, ushering in new generations of eager girls along with them.

bevbond 1Speaking of female DJ role models, this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning DJ Beverly Bond, the founder of, yours truly, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! INC. An ill dj in her own right, Bev was not only a winner of the Justo Mixtape Award for Best Female DJ, a monumental award honoring in hip hop DJ skills, but also is known to all as your “DJ’s favorite DJ” by males and females alike. Over the last nine years, Beverly, has brought her versatile talents to some of the most exclusive events in the world with performances at the VH1 Fashion Rocks Awards, The ESPN X-Games, The U.S. Open, The NBA All Star Game, The American Music Awards and for a myriad celebrity clients including Prince, Alicia Keys, Sarah Jessica Parker, Erykah Badu, Diddy, Derrick Jeter, Venus Williams, Jay Z, Martha Stewart, and Michael Jordan and many more. Having explored multiple creative opportunities throughout her career, Bev decided that she also wanted to provide creative options for younger girls of color, a group not often exposed to positive possibilities. End result? A pioneering non-profit organization dedicated to providing young black girls with positive images in the hip hop industry. Look out for more on our organization’s fabulous founder HERE.

With expert skills comparable to their male counterparts, unique personalities that compel us to groove, and fresh approaches to everything from hip hop to funk music, each of these women DJs are taking the world by storm, one record at a time.

-Patrice Peck

The Fourth Annual BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ Awards will be held on Saturday, October 17th, at the new and exciting Times Center located in the heart of New York City’s vibrant Times Square District. Celebrated actresses Regina King and Tracee Ellis Ross will be hosting the star-studded extravaganza!

The 2009 honorees include Grammy Award winner Mary J. Blige, trailblazer, entrepreneur, & actressRaven Symoné, legendary poet and playwright Sonia Sanchez, Wondaland Arts Society/Atlantic recording artist Janelle Monáe, supermodel and fashion Icon, Naomi Campbell, and TruthAIDS founder, activist and White House Fellow, Dr. Mehret Mandefro. Other participants include: actress Kerry Washington, philanthropist Jessica Seinfeld, Essence Magazine’s Emil Wilbekin, renowned visual artist Vic Muniz, multi-platinum producer Bryan-Michael Cox and more.

The full list of honorees for The  Fourth Annual  BLACK GIRLS ROCK!Awards will be announced on September 15th.

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