Earlier this week a man named Justin James posted a set of requirements for female DJs that he wanted to book. The requirements included specifications for age, height and weight with the kicker being that he even said, "I only work with attractive female DJs." It wasn't long before word broke out regarding these sexist requirements and the story began to take off.
The public backlash that ensued labeled him a "misogynist" and the hate poured in from many who felt hurt by what he posted. High profile figures in the music industry like Kaskade, The Black Madonna, Legowelt and Derrick Carter chimed in to express their distaste. Now that the dust has settled, we reached out to Justin to get his side of the story.
Do you stand by your requirements for female DJs? If so, why?
The list of requirements that I posted were not mine, but very specifically what I was asked to seek out by a set of employers… I personally (as a DJ) could care less about who a DJ is or what they look like… Only how they play. I respect ANY DJ in this industry that has paid their dues and put their time in. Unfortunately this did not translate well via my initial post…
What was going through your mind when you made the initial female DJ requirements?
Well, the goal with my career has never been to be controversial, but unfortunately some people get offended by honestly. Unfortunately there is too much bullshitting in the entertainment industry, so rather than waste people’s valuable time I decided to be honest and up-front about what was requested of me... Fuck me right?!
Do you think female DJs have an equal opportunity when it comes to getting gigs?
Yes, of course. Statistically there are less female DJs working in the industry because there are just way less female DJs in general. This is a predominantly male-driven industry that we are working in. Whether it be male or female; being “attractive” in any industry is usually a beneficial thing. The entertainment industry is certainly no different. Sex sells. Period. Please don’t act like this is something that we were not aware of, and please do not shoot the messenger for relaying the message. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. As I stated before; Be whoever you want… But, in certain markets around the world you need to fit a specific criteria. Just be good at what you do and people will start paying attention. Let’s not turn this into a man vs woman thing.
If you were a female DJ, what would you want booking agents to be the most concerned about?
My talent of course. But unfortunately your “wants” do not always equate to jobs. I am a realist. As a producer you have the opportunity to be so good that no one can deny you… I have seen many come up out of my hometown of Orlando, FL - Henry Fong, Dallas K, Nymz, Killagram, Meaux Green, and most recently Big Makk. But just as a DJ (non-producer), that is much more difficult. There are PLENTY of DJs out with amazing talent that have unfortunately fallen by the wayside due to their non-compliance of these new set of rules. Appearance matters. Social media following matter. And obviously talent matters. But the DJs that find a balance between these things will have the most success.
If you could say anything to those who claim you are a misogynist, what would you say?
I am not. Anyone that knows whats up in this industry has not had anything to say to me publicly… Besides Kaskade. Dick. I digress… It’s the small-minded people in (and out) of this industry that are up-in-arms - The same people that took my Paris Hilton comment seriously. People need something to talk about. Right now I am that person… Ok, I can deal with that.
Your female DJ requirements offended many in the music industry, is there a way for you to make amends?
Yes. I understand that I am already guilty by some in the court of public opinion, but the overwhelming majority of those people are not the people that I care to concern myself with. In my heart, I know that I am a good person. My intentions were not malicious. The people in the industry that know me know that.
Now that Justin James has given his side to the story, we will let you decide if you still think he is a misogynist or if you think he was acting with good intentions. It might be hard to see the latter as he pretty much stands by his initial statements and did not apologize for any confusion he might have caused. One thing we do know for sure, the music industry is a tough sphere of business and this whole situation has opened up a larger discussion regarding females in the industry that we should not ignore.