Flora Nyirimbabazi, also known as DJ Princess Flor, is a Rwandan DJ in Belgium where she’s lived since 2002. She has been in the profession for six years now. Nyirimbabazi was in Kigali as a guest DJ at the Kigali Countdown on December 31, 2016, at the Kigali Convention Centre. She spoke to Women Today’s Sharon Kantengwa about what it takes to be a woman in a male dominated field.
When and how did you realise your passion for spinning discs?
I can’t say that I always dreamt of becoming a DJ, it happened by luck. I had a job in a club as a student and being friends with the resident DJ, I was always behind him as he was spinning. He jokingly asked me to become a DJ. One lesson led to another, and here I am.
How has the experience been like over the years?
As a woman it has not been easy as people will always judge you. Besides that, it has been and still is an amazing job. I think it is the best choice I’ve made in life so far.
Have you received any awards?
I have received four awards. The first one I received was by Belgian African Diaspora and it was the first ever African DJ award in Belgium. The second one I got was from Amsterdam by European African Diaspora and it was for Best Mixer of the Year , the third one was by an association known as “ Black Girls Achievement “ who each year reward 10 women who are “exemplary “ or have a big positive influence in Belgium. The fourth one was by the Rwandan Diaspora as the Best DJ of the Year.
How can you describe your style of music as a DJ?
Every time I go to play, I never have a playlist; I just look at the crowd and try to guess what they want. It’s a little bit psychological.
What do you love about your profession?
I love that by simply playing music, I make people happy. I sometimes receive compliments from people at the end of the show who thank me for making them happy. Also, since 2014, I have been traveling to different African countries which include, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, South Africa, Burundi, Guinea, Tanzania and Kenya just to spin, which is fun because I get to meet new people.
Why do you think many females shy away from this profession?
I think because it is new to them. Back then, there were no female DJs, but with time, it has changed. Also, many women tend to shy away from night time jobs, because of the mindset that women should be in the home and let men do the work.
What are some of the challenges that you have encountered in this profession?
For me, the challenge is that every time, before I start my work, there is always a person who is surprised to see that it’s going to be a female DJ. They tend to be afraid that I may not deliver what the male DJs can. I always have to prove that I can be as good, or even better, than a man.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
I see myself producing my own music and working directly with music artistes.
And advice to girls who might want to follow in your footsteps?
To the young girls, being a DJ is a profession like any other, and so, if you have the passion, you shouldn’t shy away from it. You, however, have to be mentally strong because it’s not just a lifestyle, it’s a profession. Education is also key, and should endeavor to achieve that.