by Geoff Short
"I'm a 30 year-old black woman. What do YOU think I want to hear?"
That was the question one party-goer posed to me at the event I DJ'd for last weekend. And I thought it was a great question. But let me start at the beginning.
The event was a corporate holiday party in a large ballroom at a local hotel here in Cleveland. I haven't been that challenged by a crowd recently and although I had a couple uncomfortable moments as the DJ, I don't think I've felt more invigorated by a gig in a long time. I learned some really good lessons that night.
The crowd was well over 300 people, a large number of which were African-American. Naturally, as a black DJ, I always feel comfortable with black guests. We love to dance. Black people, in fact, are very active dancers and have very specific tastes (and opinions) about what is or isn't being played. We want to be on the dance floor and we will challenge a DJ to keep us there - on our terms. The challenge this night was that I was the DJ and there was also a large number of guests who were older and not black. I knew this was a professional event with a mixed crowd and my goal was to try to appeal to everyone. We all know you can't just pay attention to who's on the dance floor, but also to who isn't. Unfortunately some guests didn't see it that way and saw fit to challenge me throughout the night. And, as frustrating as it can become, I love a good challenge!
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