Detroit DJ and techno legend Kelli Hand, known as K-Hand and the First Lady of Detroit Techno, has died at age 56, according to the Detroit Metro Times. Her Tuesday, Aug. 3 death was mourned by friends and fellow artists on social media. A spokesperson for Hand had not returned a request for additional information at press time.
Hand was one of the first Black female DJs on the Detroit scene and her impact was outsized thanks to her deep catalog of albums and singles of progressive house and techno, as well as her production in the 1990s following the 1988 launch of her Acacia Records imprint.
In a 2015 interview with the Metro Times, Hand recalled logging endless hours at the iconic Paradise Garage nightclub in New York in the 1980s, as well as clubs in Chicago, where she acquired her fever for spinning for sweaty crowds. "After frequenting Paradise Garage so many times I wanted to buy the records because I loved the music," she said. "So the next step was, I got to play these records in order to hear them! That led to purchasing a couple turntables which also led me to DJing in my own bedroom and to do a residence at [Detroit's] Zipper's Nightclub."