Meet Lauren “DJ Kittens” Abedini, the twenty-something-year-old spin master who is working to revolutionize the DJ industry, one feminist workshop at a time.
Partnering with Jay of RUN-D.M.C’s Scratch DJ Academy and the world leading DJ software company, Serato, the Los Angeles native recently announced her first all-female DJ workshop series, PWR WITH KITTENS, a class where Kittens teaches the fundamentals of becoming a disc jockey to women in an environment where they can thrive without misogynist judgment. 100 percent of the proceeds are donated to a local women’s shelter.
After experiencing first hand how rough it can be as a female in the male dominated spinning industry, Abedini made it her mission to find a way to empower and arm women with the skills and knowledge they need to become successful women DJ’s, like herself.
“A ton of girls I know definitely want to learn, but they’re always scared,” Abedini tells Billboard. Having taught coed courses in the past, she noticed a weird dynamic: when trying to learn in front of men, the female students would often be intimidated and made to feel uncomfortable, whether on purpose or not. So she set out to create a safe and empowering learning space for women to be taught, by a woman, in a room full of women. Thus the beginnings of the PWR x Kittens workshop.
In addition to basic beginner DJ 101, Abedini also discusses the tips and tricks she’s learned over the years in growing her own career. “We will talk about how to navigate the industry as a woman, things that you are probably going to face and how to deal with it,” she says. “Like how to deal with creepy promoters, or stupid rumors that may come up and how to keep your career going without burning a bridge and lashing out. There is a way to manage all of these things in a professional manner and also a way that maintains your self-respect.”
Before performing at private parties for Usher and opening international tours for Kid Cudi, Kittens started out as a young college student working at a nightclub in LA, which is where she first experienced industry sexism first-hand.
“There were times where I would show up to headline gigs and the bouncer wouldn’t let me into the club because they thought that I was just a groupie trying to get in, or times when I wasn’t allowed on stage because it was assumed I was trying to sleep with the DJ,” Abedini says. “And I’m like, ‘No, I am the DJ and am literally about to play. Can you please move?'” Often, Abedini would hear people saying that she was only on stage because she “must have performed some sort of favor” for some guy “higher up.”
“I waited a long time to start DJ’ing because I didn’t see anyone who I could identify with who had made it,” Abedini says. “I really think it’s important for young women and girls to see someone who they can identify with in different positions so they feel empowered, so they can take that leap of faith, or at least take a few steps, to really explore confidently, instead of getting caught in self-doubt and becoming fearful, which is what a lot of us are taught,” she said. “Our culture is so male dominated. For the DJ world, I want to give back and change that.”
Reserve a seat ($20) at the next PWR workshop here.