Women in music are shifting the culture in a direction disruptive to the traditionally male-dominated industry. As a new generation of women dominates the music scene, the growing representation also extends to female DJs.

DJs emerged in the 1970s and significantly impacted hip-hop culture as a result. Manipulating a record through scratching, back spinning and beat juggling transformed the experience beyond solely listening to a song. DJs transformed music culture by introducing new artists, genres and sounds to massive audiences. 

Historically, male DJs have led this cultural art form. As the practice evolves, female DJs dismantle the gender stereotypes associated with the craft by establishing themselves as the modern-day vibe curators. Their emergence onto the music scene makes it more inclusive and is inspiring future generations of women with similar interests.

DJ Hunny Bee

DJ Hunny Bee discovered there was space for women to pursue the art form after she met a female DJ for the first time in her early years.

“I realized I had only ever seen men DJing a bar,” she told 21Ninety. “I thought it was cool when I met DJ Tina T and attended one of her sets. From there, that’s how I got started.”

The Los Angeles-based DJ started in 2020 after being gifted her first piece of equipment, a DJ controller. With the world on lockdown because of the pandemic, she saw the isolation as a chance to develop her talents. Choosing to share her humble beginnings online grew her fanbase as listeners danced along to her creative mixes from their phones. 

“The whole reason I started DJing was to experience and allow other people to experience music in a new way,” she said. “It’s really fun when it’s received well, and people feel how I feel listening to it.”

As the creator behind viral mashups like “Riiverdance” x “Make It Rain” and “Wipe Me Down” x “SkeeYee,” listeners are drawn to her unique sound. Her experimentation has accumulated a massive social media following of nearly 700K TikTok followers and 311K Instagram supporters. Djing has led her to perform on some of the biggest festival stages and partner with major brands, like Apple Music and Nike. While the recognition has elevated her presence, she understands the community aspect of DJing is what pushes the culture forward.

“The DJs are the key to community,” she said. “They’re throwing curated events with guest lists. That will give you that amazing, beautiful community experience where you can make friends and catch a real vibe.”

Social media is one aspect that has changed the music landscape and how DJs reach audiences. Before, clubs were the go-to locations to hear them play. That has since expanded, allowing listeners to access their favorite DJ remixes from their phones. In 2020, DJing became not only another activity to pass the time as people were forced to remain indoors, but also a means of survival. DJs provided joy and hope for people with their sets they uploaded and performed on Instagram Live.

DJ Gina Tollese

DJ Gina Tollese experienced firsthand how DJs adapted to the “new normal” in 2020 and the rewarding outcomes of sharing mashups on social media.

“Social media has been pivotal in my experience,” Tollese said. “Being that I’m in Birmingham and not Los Angeles or New York, I rely heavily on social media to get my sound out there.”

Tollese’s love for music led her to start DJing in 2016. Her parents’ listening to a wide range of genres, from neo-soul to hip-hop and rock music, introduced her to different sounds. Those early music influences contributed to the song selections she includes in her mashups, which have garnered the attention of thousands online. 

Merging musicians like The Internet, Raevyn Lenae, Mac Demarco and Kali Uchis into a mix and her Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do For Love” with Common’s “Come Close” mashup are two of her most popular creations that took the Internet by storm. Her success with listeners is because she’s willing to experiment with different sounds.

“I’m not afraid to experiment, which has led to fun mashups and transitions,” she said. “You just have to try stuff.” 

Freestyling and experimenting embody the DJ experience and have sustained the practice. Djing is a blend of introducing something new to listeners while also meeting people where they are and delivering what they need to hear in the moment.

“During the pandemic and after, DJs brought something to music culture that may have not been there before as more people posted online,” she said. “DJs bringing music to people without them having to physically go to places is another way we contributed to music culture.”


mini mix: alt r&b // I know The Internet is in this one twice but that’s bc I love The Internet. Tbh, these songs are a good reflection of the feel that I mostly gravitate to when I’m listening to music recreationally. It varies from week to week, buuut this is where I typically land.⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ #blkcreatives #blackgirlmagic #browngirlboss #girlboss #blackfemaledj #blackgirldjs #femaledj #girldj #djlife #djlifestyle r&b #rnb #newschool #openformatdj #serato #ddj1000srt #minimalhome #minimalaesthetic #neutralhome #neutraldecor #interiorinspiration #minimalmood #minimalmoodboard #scandihome #scandiinspo #scandinavianstyle #scandinaviandesign #minimalinterior #minimalinteriors minimal_interiors⁠

♬ original sound – gina tah-LEASE.

Mini Skkrt

As the world opened, DJs returned to showcasing their sets at parties, but with a twist. Now, they were throwing curated events. 

Freddie Ransome, who goes by Mini Skkrt, co-founded a Los Angeles-based music event called Hotel House Sessions. Ransome launched the event in April 2023 with her business partner and friend, DJ Edge Control. The event engages music lovers with a one-of-a-kind music experience. It allows people to release their troubles and focus on the joy music brings. 

“I found myself connecting with people on another level from people hearing my sets,” Ransome said. 

Ransome’s music style features hip-hop, world music and house music. However, R&B is at the center of the different remixes and mashups that make her stand out from other DJs. One example is her Beyoncé mashup of “Me, Myself and I,” Lil Wayne’s “Mrs. Officer” and Three 6 Mafia’s “Slob On My Knob.”

“I love the unexpected,” Ransome said. “I’ve had people come up and tell me my sets are cool because they never know what I’m going to play next. My goal is always to find something people haven’t heard before or are not expecting.”

Although she has been developing her skills for the past two years, her interest in music stems from childhood. Her mother loved listening to music, but her father sparked her interest. As an audio engineer, Ransome tagged along with her father at concerts and live events. Music has always had a role in her life. But her friends, who are DJs, encouraged her to enter the space in 2022.

Now, she cultivates spaces for others to connect and build communities through her curated parties.

“Fostering a strong, uplifting and supportive community is one of DJ’s biggest roles,” she said. “It’s more than music. It’s about creating an accepting atmosphere where people can be themselves.”