By Makula Dunbar
In the business world, there are countless avenues that inquiring minds can travel down to both create establishments/hustles within and capitalize on. A plethora of industries including: public relations, marketing, advertising, retail and entertainment have proven to boast racial and gender diversity — many featured here on Madame Noire.
However, an industry that is in the least traveled by African-American businesswomen just happens to be one that the black community frequents most; nightlife. Though the owners, party throwers, managers and DJs in the 23 billion dollar industry are scattered, there are a few here and there making headway. Meet three African-American women working to narrow the gap; making it in the nightlife business.
The Life of the Party: Branding, building and overall business
It’s 1:00 p.m. in Los Angeles. DJ Asha is just waking up. On a pleasant Friday afternoon, it’s not easy to gather that she’s an unconventional early bird. Though for anyone whose job keeps them up until 7:00 a.m., it’s difficult to call if even 4:00 p.m. is a decent waking hour.
“I was DJing last night so I got in pretty late,” she said sounding far from drowsy. It’s kind of expected as she’s had her fair share of practice hyping up crowds.
“When you’re DJing you have the music in your headphones and the monitor speakers right next to you. There’s all this loud music in your face, people coming up to you taking pictures, conversations and stuff,” Asha explained. “You get home and your head is still going over the great mix that you played. By 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 in the morning you’re fairly hungry, so I may end up getting some food after the club or watching a movie. My brain is still buzzing so it takes a minute to unwind.”
Three years ago Asha packed up to pursue party-throwing full-time on the West coast leaving two radio gigs in her home country London. What started out as moral support for a nervous roommate learning to DJ evolved into a non-stop party once Asha decided to learn the turntable ropes as well. After graduating with a degree in biotechnology she began playing at clubs in locales like Dubai Bulgaria, Russia, Greece, Lithuania and Italy. It was in Ibiza, Spain that she ran into hip-hop’s self-proclaimed party king P. Diddy. Through party promoters in London, Asha earned an opportunity to play at one of Diddy’s parties. After hearing a set in Spain, he sent out a personal request.
“In Ibiza all they do is party. They go from one big club to the next from 6 p.m. to sometimes lunchtime. It’s pretty expensive and people save up all year; it’s a big deal. If you’re a DJ playing in Ibiza, it’s like playing at the World Cup,” she said.
For the most part, Asha says club owners love international DJs — especially ones from London who have an eclectic knowledge and taste in various music genres.