DJ Quiana Parks entered our orbit when she reached out about a fundraising project she was launching called DJ For A Cure, a group that consists of DJs, visual artists and musicians who have the shared goal of raising awareness about and raising funds to battle blood cancer diseases.
Her second DJ For A Cure fundraiser will take place on June 26th (see flier below) at the Rec Room where guests can partake in old school games and support the fundraising events through donations (which also can be made now at the DJ For A Cure site). Once again, Puma is a sponsor with Chef Roble, DJ Kiss and Austin Mills hosting.
The first event took place at Mister H in SoHo in October 2013. Viewed as a big success with an impressive guest list, it met its fundraising goal through efforts prior to and during the event. All in all, pretty great for a first-time fundraising event in New York City.
Parks’ motivation for starting DJ For A Cure were in part inspired by her own experience with Lymphoma, which she was diagnosed with at 19. With nine years of cancer-free existence in the books, Parks was inspired to start the organization to raise money but also to provide support to those newly diagnosed or living with the disease. Additionally, she is a member of the executive leadership for Luekemia and Lymphomia Society.
We chatted with Parks about the event but also of course about her life as a DJ. Currently, you can catch her in action at her two weekly gigs: Tuesday at PhD with DJ D-Nice, and Wednesday at Mr. H with DJ Kiss & DJ Mos.
TS: You were diagnosed at 19 with Lymphoma. I’ve heard it impacts younger people but is there an age range and does it impact men more than women?
Quiana: You can get it when you are very young, there’s a baby who was diagnosed when she was three months old. She’s a year old now. Males and females are impacted equally.
TS: You were diagnosed at 19 and went through chemo. Are there lasting impacts from treatment?
Quiana: Nerve damage is a side effect chemo of and it’s one of a few things I suffer from. I only had four sessions and probably I’ll be in pain for life.
TS: So what’s the line up for your June fundraiser?
Quiana: We’re doing a game night at The Rec Room in the Number Eight space [a private lounge on the second floor of the venue, featuring an enviable collection of vinyl collection] on June 26th. A lot of DJs will be there. Chef Roble, DJ Kiss and Austin Mills will be hosting again.
TS: Switching from the event, you’re part of a movement of female DJs that are starting to come up and be noticed. Why do you think that’s happening?
Quiana: A lot of women love music and now there are doors open as opposed to before. DJ Kiss, who is my mentor, broke down a lot of doors. It’s less of a challenge now to gain entry and a lot of women are good at what they do and take it seriously. It’s just the world period. It’s a man’s world, but now we’re breaking down doors.
TS: How would you describe your style?
Quiana: I’m very eclectic. I keep a nice, sexy background. I really like people to two-step, no matter the genre, even if they’re tapping their foot, I know I got ’em.
TS: As a female DJ, do you play more music by women?
Quiana: I don’t really pay attention to whether it’s a female or male music. When I first started, I would practice with old, cool hip hop and my focus was to learn how to scratch and I knew it would be expected [that I would spin more music by women] but I wanted to be a DJ first. But now as I’ve progressed, I’m more flexible.
TS: What is some music you are loving as of late?
Quiana: I’m in love with Sam Smith and Disclosure and Chaka Khan. I’m a big fan of Blood Orange. For hearing new music, I’m really addicted to SoundCloud.
TS: Are there any new female artists you like?
Quiana: I like Banks and DJ Syd plus her work with The Internet.
TS: Beside your DJing, what else do you work on?
Quiana: I’m an artist, I paint and graphic design. My first show is in August.
TS: I have to ask, how is your little brother (pic below)? [Note: Like Quiana, her brother is a DJ, who hijacked his big sister’s Instagram one day to campaign for followers and made himself know to us, too funny! And he’s only 7! You can the morsel of cuteness that he is on his own Instagram here.]
A: He’s good. His name is is DJ LH3 or Lorenzo. He’s been getting a lot of gigs for birthday parties and boutique openings.
If you are interested in being involved with DJ For A Cure, you can contact Quiana here.