In 2002 Women Who Jam! was created to recognize Female DJs. The concept was introduced at the NABFEME International Women’s Leadership Summit in Toronto, Canada. The first in the lineup were radio personalities; this later evolved into the search for women who were nightclub or event-based DJs.
The search was challenging as female club DJs were far and few. To minimize the challenge while developing the concept… the decision was made to add recording artists to the movement. It was soon discovered that independent or indie artists also needed a platform of this magnitude; plus, many female artists that were signed to labels who had little momentum could benefit as well. The concept began to ignite and the tagline “the heartbeat of women in music” was added to all marketing.
The first Women Who Jam Showcase was held at Ashford and Simpson’s Sugar Bar in New York City. A chance meeting with singer/songwriter Valerie Simpson led to a thumbs up from the celebrated superstar who donated Wednesday nights at The Sugar Bar to Women Who Jam! This generous support was the springboard for the Women Who Jam Showcase!
ln 2006 the concept was taken to its next level; Women Who Jam! would go on the road! The inaugural 12-city tour that featured an all-female indie artist cast was planned and executed! Compilation CDs of the tour’s featured artists were created, marketed and shared with the fans. Ron Hammon, drummer for R&B superstars WAR joined the team as sound man, stage manager and chauffeur! Berklee College of Music Professor Tonya Butler came aboard as General Counsel, and promoter Shelia Jenkins handled hotel arrangements and venue bookings. The tour embarked during Black Music Month and was given to Urban radio as a promotion in exchange for venue collaborations and on-air interviews.
The next elevation for the Women Who Jam! concept was a radio program. A one-hour “all-female” show. The program that started out in a friend’s basement on an internet radio station has evolved into 20 terrestrial and internet stations today, some of which are on HBCU campuses.
The “LIVE” showcase continues, and over the years many celebrated artists have graced the Women Who Jam! stage… from Mary Mary to Floetry, Tony Terry, Jaguar Wright, Donald Lawrence, Yolanda Adams, Teena Marie, Brenda Vaughn, Kanye West, Usher, Amarie and many more. The “new reality” forced upon us by COVID-19 canceled many shows in 2020 and caused performances to be presented virtually. However, we look forward to the triumphant return of Women Who Jam to the live stage!