(Source: Ambrosia for heads)
Since 1985 the DMC DJ Championships organization has named DJs representing a vast array of countries the winners of the competition, considered the preeminent battle in the world of turntablism. Roc Raida, Mixmaster Mike, Q-Bert, A-Trak, and Craze are just a few of the gifted disc jockeys to have walked away as champions but in its 30+ year existence, the U.S. Championships have never crowned a queen. That is, until this year.
HipHopDX reported on the historic moment. This year’s national champion goes by DJ Perly, and she represents Hip-Hop’s very birthplace. The Bronx, New York native outlasted dozens of other competitors at the competition hosted by D.I.T.C.’s Lord Finesse, besting runners up Dwells (also representing NYC) and Los Angeles’ Shmeeze. Upon winning, Perly could be seen proudly showing off a Puerto Rican flag, a symbol of her heritage. She was already the 2016 DMC NYC Regional Champ, also the first woman to hold that title.
As she explained to DX, it was a surreal moment, though she sensed that history would be on her side. “That night, I instantaneously felt the high energy of excitement. I knew it was going to be a really good battle. Not sure how the night would end, but it was going to be a good night.” She continued, “When I heard my name as the USA champ, I was surprised and just overwhelmed with joy. I was so overwhelmed I kinda lost feeling in my legs and dropped to the floor [laughs]. That moment truly felt magical and gratifying that hard work was paying off.”
Her achievement will fundamentally change the way little girls envision their futures behind the turntables. Rob Swift took to Facebook today (August 9) to post a message of encouragement, speaking to what Perly’s win means for Hip-Hop as a whole. “Many women have set out to win a world DMC title. Perly has gotten closer than all of them. I see cracks in the glass ceiling,” says the X-Excutioners member and celebrated DJ. That glass ceiling, Perly says, is nowhere near close to being shattered entirely. “From what I know and experienced in the past is that some people just don’t think that women can do what the guys can,” she says. “Some people just don’t want to see a woman kick ass and prove that women can do anything in this world. They’re just afraid.”
It’s a problem she says exists well beyond the confines of Hip-Hop, into all genres of music. “oSme men — not all — see women as weak and frail, but in fact, [we] are truly the strongest. Women go through a nine-month pregnancy, and give birth to the future and next generations of game changers. And think about it, child birth hurts like hell and we still kick ass. I applaud all those women who fight day in and day out to show and prove that this world is not a man’s world, and women can succeed in male-dominated fields. Women have the power and strength to move the world in a positive direction. We all have that power.”
Video of Perly’s winning set has yet to be made available on the organization’s official YouTube page, but Heads can see her in action as she practices her scratching technique ahead of the 2017 championships:
As for Perly’s future, she will soon be headed to London to compete in the DMC World Championships, taking place on October 1. According to the most recent rules listed on the organization’s website, the crowning event will feature solo sets from competitors, with elimination rounds lasting just two minutes and six minutes devoted for finalists’ sets.