Peace everybody, its five minutes in the can, for all the true heads out there. My email friendly feature interview is starting to pick up steam as I have a few more guest lined up for you. This time around, Tachelle Wilkes of Femmixx.com sits with us and does the Q&A. Make sure you visit her sites to learn more about her and her work. Be on the lookout for her brand new DVD “Lady Beat Makers Vol. 1” as well! She is an amazing talent with a lot to say. Read on to get the low down on Tachelle Shamash – The Queen Warrior!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your background, where are you from and what do you do?
I am the Founder of Femmixx.com, which is a site/venue dedicated to highlighting female music producers, djs & emcees. To me it has always been important to level the playing field for women.
How did you start your career?
I started off as a poet, journalist, teacher and have always been a writer. Having written for publications such as the Source, Vibe and One World – I have always focused on my writing being a force for change. As a poet who has opened for the likes of KRS-1 and Doug E. Fresh I talk about the state of the world and how the spiritual world connects with all things. I always knew that the Most High gave me a voice for a reason. Words are power therefore what I write must be powerful and help pin point important issues and bring forth change in mindsets whether if it’s men who only see women as sex objects or young girls who need to see more positive image of women, I help to bring about positive change by interviewing and writing about women and men who defy stereotypes..
What is your website Femmixx.com all about? How do you describe your site to people?
Femmixx.com is a movement and has been dubbed so by the people. It started off when I was in Virginia with my partner DJ Gary B. He’s a producer and dj and with me being a writer – we both sat in the office talking about the plight of women in hip hop music and urban music as a whole. The question that came out of that conversation is “where are all of the female producer?” and hence Femmixx.com was born. Myself and DJ Gary B has coined Femmixx.com as a movement to highlight women in a more technical stance as well as the accomplishments of women holistically. I also felt that it was important to have dialogue with the brothers because we coexist together and must learn to communicate, therefore at Femmixx.com we make it our business to interview brothers as well. We don’t male bash, we include our brothers when spitting the truth.
As a writer, what are some of your fondest memories, favorite interviews or funniest stories?
My fondest memory is when I had a chance to interview Jam Master Jay before he died. I remember that interview like yesterday because it was like we had known each other for years. There he as on the other side of the phone telling me hip hop history, how it started, how it started where he sees it going. I also remember I asked him about Tupac and Biggie’s death and he was like he was with Tupac not too long before he died. He kept saying that some things in life just happens and that hip hop will continue to be that brush of creativity that as in the past in the future must bring forth good things. That interview I will always remember, it was the first interview on Femmixx.com and its’ in the archives on the site for people to take a listen.
Describe the most rewarding experience of your career thus far.
The most rewarding experience is seeing that I am helping people whether young people or adults. I am here for a purpose and when someone comes up to me and say “oh that article,’ or ‘oh that interview,” or ‘that poem you sit,” touched me to make some change in my life then I know right then that my life is meaningful. I am here as a catalyst and healer.
2nd Annual She’s My DJ! Female Turntablist Competition just passed us by. Please tell us more about the competition.
Man – I could not have done this without my girl and She’s My DJ partner Danny (Dannielle Brantley of Mocha Works, Marketing). God put us together for a reason. Both of us came together as business women who knew that we needed an event to show and prove that women can hang like the guys and an all female turntablist battle was the perfect event to make that statement. This year DJ Sparkles from Philly grabbed first place again while DJ Chela was right behind her taking second and DJ Mo Love taking third. The event at SOBs in New York was phenomenal. We had Ralph McDaniels as host – he really did his thing. DJ Jazzy Joyce, the Wonder Twinz and Lady D. Wells of 98.7 were our judges and they had a good time. DJ Scratch came out, Vibe.com was there, Umi (Mos Def’s mom) came and shined her light as she always does, Dj Lazy K came and spread knowledge. The place was packed with so many people who really gave us love and supported our vision and Danny and I are so thankful for he people who came out. I have to give a big big shout out to our Platinum & Gold Sponsors – Sam Ash Music & Verizon Wireless. One Love to TheIndustrycosign.com, DaveyD.com, Scratch DJ Academy, Shejay.net, WLIU 88.1 FM, Lady D Wells of 98.7 Kiss FM, Scratch Magazine, E2k Magazine, Cisco’s Corner TV, OnFumes.com, C-Truth & Kev Lawrence of WHCR 90.3FM, FemaleHipHop.net, Netmedia Mobile Advertising, DJGaryB.com, 1.FM JAMZ NextUpRadio and B-gyrl.com!
Where are you at (location) and what are you up to?
I’m out of New York. Finally – no one has done it – we at Femmixx.com have a documentary reppin’ female music producers called “Lady Beatmakers: Volume I” coming out real soon, so stay on the lookout and hit the site.
Who is your favorite music artist(s) and why?
I have so many – I love Otis Redding for his gifts, Etta James for down home music, and I Love Mary J Blige for her heart, soul and realness, Pri the Honey Dark for standing firm against the storm, Tiye Phoenix for spitting truth, DMX for finding his way in his music, Mos Def , Common and Talib Kweli for saying things that others refuse to say and the list goes on.
What song/CD(s) are you listening to now?
Right now I am listening to Otis Redding. I keep playing “Dock of the Bay,” and “A Change Is Gonna Come,” because that’s what I see and feel in my own life.
Who is your favorite writer and why?
Zora Neale Hurston, she exemplifies me in so many ways.
What’s the most recent book you’ve read?
Right now I am reading The Slave Narratives with my College of New Rochelle students and Sula (Toni Morrison) with my high school students.
If you could pick 3 people to be in a super band with you, who would you pick?
Quest Love, Miri Ben-Ari, the hip-hop violinist, and Ang Zone – female emcee.
What’s the strangest thing that has happened to you lately?
The strangest thing is life itself – we have to take one day at a time and look for God’s guidance.
Where would you be if you could be anywhere in the world? Favorite travel spot?
I would love to be back in Cali – I had a great time over the summer. It was nice and breezy in san Fran and I enjoyed every minute.
LL couldn’t live without his radio. What gadget or pro audio piece is your must have!
My laptop – I have over ten years of work on it.
Any last words?
Be yourself, respect yourself and your talents – follow your destiny! —
That’s it. thanks to Tachelle for taking the time to do the piece. Be on the lookout for Femmixx.com Presents Lady Beatmakers Vol.1 -A Documentary Dedicated To Female Music Producers produced and directed by Tachelle “Shamash” Wilkes and co –directed by Tony Forbes.
Featuring Josie Carr, who has produced and engineered for Mary J. Blige and Mobb Deep, Latacia “T.C.” Lewis, a violinist who plays while making beats, Shakti, known as “The Indian Hip Hop Diva” who has international notoriety and has worked with the likes of Russell Simmons, Jewel Brown who started out as a DJ and transitioned into music production and then there’s Stephanie “Diverse” Whittaker, who has two beat battle championships under belt just goes to show that female producers are alive and well.
For press inquiries and if you would like to set up a screening in your area please contact Tachelle Shamash Wilkes at Tachelle@femmixx.com.