DJ EQUE has been making her mark in the industry for more than 10 years, but it was never something that came easy for her. The Houston-bred beauty had a lot to prove before she was taken seriously as a female DJ.
It all started in college, when EQUE attended Texas Southern University on a basketball scholarship. "In the early '90s, I partied with a lot of creative people that I shared interests with and I realized that DJing was something that I really wanted to do," she says.
Just by hanging out with a friend who was a DJ, EQUE learned the ropes of spinning records for parties. She received lessons almost daily and practiced frequently.
"In order to become successful as a DJ, you must have passion and the willingness to study the craft," says EQUE. "Some of the best DJs learn to be great by studying other DJs heavily."
EQUE was also mentored by the late DJ Screw, shadowing him to parties he did on Houston's Southside. In her sophomore year of college, EQUE decided that she wanted to pursue her dreams of DJing and moved to L.A.
"At the time I felt like LA was the best move for me to make," she says. "Houston has grown a lot musically since then and I'm very proud of artists like Slim Thug, Paul Wall and Bun-B for putting us on the map the way they did around 2005."
When EQUE moved to California, she was still in her "tomboy" stage. "When I started going out to clubs and dressing up girly to do gigs, that's when people thought I was a go-go dancer when I showed up with my bag." EQUE explains.
In 1996, Uncle Luke even told EQUE she was "too pretty to be a DJ" when she showed up to his video shoot for his song "Scarred." She had seen this reaction many times before - especially from men - but proved herself when she DJed and impressed everyone on the set.
Six months later Luke's camp contacted EQUE to DJ on his "2 Live Crew" tour, her first tour with a major artist. She's also toured with artists like Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé and Usher.
While in L.A., EQUE became a radio personality with rapper Lady of Rage and Poetess for 100.3 FM's hip-hop show, "The G-Spot." (The station has since flipped to pop and Top 40.)
"I'm very proud of 'G-spot' and it gave an opportunity for ladies to have a voice in hip-hop music," says EQUE. This past spring, Alize sponsored "The Mix Squad," an all-female DJ team made up of six lady DJs from across the country, including EQUE, Chicago's Niena Drake and Miami's Jessica Who, that hosts events nationwide.
"I love that the Mix Squad was formed because it's very rare that you find a collective group of strong female DJs that are really good at what they do," EQUE says.
EQUE also went on to be featured as a DJ in more music videos, including 50 Cent's debut single "Wanksta" and Ray-J's "Wait a Minute." She has also appeared on televison shows like BET's Comic View and recently on Aubrey O'Day's reality show The Aubrey O'Day Project.
She also does music production as well for artists like Faith Evans and her husband Talib Kweli, who she married in 2009. "Talib and I dated for five years before we got married," she says.
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Catch EQUE doing what she does best on her Friday-night mixes from 9 p.m. to midnihgt on Houston's 97.9 The Box.
Follow DJ EQUE on Twitter at @DJEQUE.