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  • Brandy Collins

Groove Lounge Inspires Aspiring DJs in San Francisco

By Brandy Collins

With over a decade of experience as a DJ, Carmena Woodward better known as DJ Red Corvette has been carving out spaces for DJs of color to thrive. On March 30th Woodward hosted DJ Groove Lounge, an educational symposium to support aspiring DJs at the Bayview Opera House in San Francisco.

The day included a panel discussion moderated by brand manager and strategist Ebone Mataele in discussion with resident DJ for SF Giants DJ Umami Bay Area and Panthers official DJ Michelle Miller aka DJ Shellheart alongside Woodward.

Before the panel Shellheart, also with a decade of experience, explained a sentiment that would run as a theme of support sharing her knowledge and experience to others. “Even when we get to the DJ booth and we’re just so in our head — so nervous,” Shellheart explained. “Just relax. Get out of your head. Everybody’s here for you.”

Woodward during the panel expressed her desire to support her friends and continue supporting women in the industry. The DJ Groove Lounge is an extension of Woodard’s ability to celebrate women working in music. Part of that meant “learning how to turn Red Corvette off and just be me,” Woodard said during the panel.

Born in San Francisco, Woodward began her journey as a DJ in college. She later went on to create a DJ collective called Morevibes. In 2017 she co- founded Women Sound Off which hosted two “Women In Music Festival ‘’ alongside Evangeline Vang. Over the past decade, Woodard has DJ’d at now closed Oakland bar Liege and been attached to some heavy hitting names like hip hop culturemaker, drummer and DJ Questlove.

But creating and partnering with those big names was not easy. She also explained that in the beginning of her career she felt she was asking for education and support but people even the people she knew didn’t understand how to support her. “I started DJing full-time out of rebellion because nobody was teaching me,” said Woodard. Now that she has the opportunity she plans to reach back and help other people learn.“I want to be a vessel for others DJs to come to me and ask me questions, learn from me, and be in these spaces.”

Woodard said her plans are to expand into more “experiential work”, providing experiences that service and educate people of color but more importantly women of color. “I’ve been on the other side of that [exclusion] and I don’t want to be like that,” said Woodard. “I enjoy bringing people together and building community. I enjoyed being a mentor and I enjoy sharing.”

Following the panel, attendees were treated to a lunch of po-boy sandwiches, salads and potato salad courtesy of Vegan Hood Chefs to make sure everyone was nourished. There was a headshot station set up for attendees as well.

DJ demonstrations and lessons from Darling Cool and Bite Size gave aspiring DJ’s an invitation to take a spin on the equipment for a hands-on feeling for what it’s like to be a DJ.

Darling Cool explained during her demonstration that she was a Ladies First cohort member going through an eight-week course on the ins and outs of digital DJing. Following the event, participants were invited to show-off their skills at the LINE SF.

A portion of the proceeds raised for the event go to the Bay Area Chapter Ladies 1st an organization dedicated to increasing equity in the Bay Area’s DJ scene by educating and supporting women DJs.

Brandy Collins is a freelance journalist covering arts & culture, travel, and food. Find more of her writing at Your Auntie Brandy. You can also listen to her show I Have Questions wherever you get your podcasts.

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