Renowned DJ Paulette, with a career spanning three decades and marked by a lifetime achievement award, discloses ongoing discrimination and significant pay disparities in her new book, “Welcome To The Club: The Life and Lessons of a Black Woman DJ.” Despite achieving remarkable success with a monthly residency at The Hacienda, performances in Ibiza and Paris, and recognition in top venues, the 57-year-old DJ highlights the challenges faced by women in a male-dominated industry.
DJ Paulette acknowledges her debt to Manchester’s gay community for supporting her early career, emphasizing the lack of opportunities for black female DJs in the straight scene during the ’90s. In her journey, she vividly recalls the magic of DJing on the gay scene, where acceptance and openness to diversity were prevalent. However, she notes that female DJs struggled for visibility, often excluded from promotional materials like posters and flyers.
Despite her significant contributions to the industry, DJ Paulette reveals that she still hasn’t achieved financial parity with male DJs at a similar level. In recounting a recent job offer, she shares that her quoted price and terms were rejected outright, with the declaration that she would never work again. She emphasizes that her financial expectations were reasonable, yet male DJs continue to command double the pay without hesitation.
While acknowledging some positive changes with prominent female DJs like Blessed Madonna and Honey Dijon gaining recognition, DJ Paulette emphasizes that only a handful of women have achieved widespread success. She underscores the need for more inclusivity, especially as she reflects on her autobiography, which she started writing after losing nearly a year’s worth of bookings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the challenges, DJ Paulette remains committed to her craft, highlighting the importance of music and community, especially during challenging times. Livestreaming DJ sets, such as through the United We Stream GM website, served as a lifeline during the pandemic. Inspired by the enduring career of Annie Nightingale, DJ Paulette expresses her determination to continue DJing, envisioning a future where she remains a vital force in the music scene.
Repurposed article originally published in BBC News