There's a new music event on the rise: Women in Music Festival. It's a hub where education, culture, music, and networking are rolled into one. In short, WIM provides an opportunity for women to share industry knowledge while celebrating achievements. Hosted in Oakland, this was the second year for the fest's initiative — the non-profit's foundation extending beyond just the topic of music, offering workshops on everything from yoga/meditation to brunching with industry experts.
Jené Etheridge, Portland DJ and Creative Licensing Coordinator at Marmoset decided to check out the festival for herself this year, mixing and mingling with boss ladies from all over the country. “Just to see other women of color working in music was very inspiring," says Jené. "In Portland there aren’t that many women of color who work in music. I know a lot of performers, but there's not that many people who are doing it full-time."
Coming from a diverse background of working in non-profits before transitioning to Marmoset, Jené engulfs herself into the music scene daily — always looking for bands and musicians outside larger scenes while aiming to make room for lesser represented genres. It's something that we can easily forget to do as creatures of habit: to look beyond what we're accustomed to, hardly straying from what we know.
Co-hosting "Everyday Mixtapes” on XRAY.FM every Saturday night (5-6PM PDT), Jené is constantly putting the wheels in motion, playing everything from hip-hop, soul, funk, afro-beat, to jazz for listeners. It's a movement in inclusivity that Portland is slowly seeing but needs more of desperately.
With this in mind, there's proof in the kind of impact artists like Jené and WIM are making. Even just visiting the fest's site, visitors can see there are areas of discussion for every kind of participant — benefiting artists, producers, advertising creatives alike. At the 'Women in Hip-Hop' event, Jené recalls the panel offering advice on navigating scenes that are predominately male while knowing the value of one's work.
"Know your pay, know how much you're worth, and don't ever go below that," says Jené. "Set a standard for yourself and have other people surrounding you who are also setting that standard. You can't settle. If you accept the lowest pay, then that makes it harder for other women too."
You can catch Jené mixing it up around Portland under her alias, DJ Black Daria, or follow her on Instagram: @jenetorade.
Check out some of the artists Jené's listening to post-WIM Fest: