Readers Aggressive Over 'Girls to Men'

I have been a loyal Village Voice reader since moving to New York, and as much of an honor as it is to be on the cover of the paper it has been bittersweet. Makkada Selah's 'Miami Vices' [April 4–10] is negligent at best and an outright untruth at worst. Selah's retelling of the incident at the James Brown tribute during the World Music Conference is a cheap and clichéd portrayal of me in a situation that she did not witness. I am not sure that Selah was at the James Brown event at all. The fabricated description of me "with one hand on my hip and the other on a record bag" while telling the emcee that I would not cut my DJ'ing set short was relayed to Selah as an example of the fact that as women in a field where we are underrepresented, we constantly have to advocate for ourselves. It was instead diminished by an irresponsible recounting of a scenario that the writer only knew about because I told her in our extensive phone interview was one of the many things that were a part of a magical and historical evening at WMC. Selah also reported that I am from Brooklyn. I am from Chicago and I spoke about that fact with her at length. Another outright lie that was reported about my handling of that incident was that I began my set with "Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)" ostensibly as a response/statement to the emcee who attempted to slight me and the other female DJ there. This kind of "real-world-ising" of me as a character—dramatic, undiplomatic, sassy black woman, and not as the accomplished, technically skilled and well-respected DJ that I have been for over a decade—is outrageous and offensive. Instead of giving light and voice to the history and accomplishments of female DJs, this piece had a tone that was gossipy and trite. It is pieces like this that do a great disservice to women in male-dominated fields across the board, and is particularly damaging to women of color. I am shocked that a paper that purports to be a progressive, journalistically savvy source of information would stoop to such shallow and sensationalistic reporting.
DJ Reborn (Ubiquita NYC)

Editor's response: Makkada Selah did attend the show that Ubiquita played. Later, she interviewed the three members of Ubiquita and their management for their versions of what happened. DJ Reborn, her manager, and her publicist all brought up the issue of Ubiquita DJs not getting the respect they deserve. As an example of this, Reborn specifically mentioned the incident we featured about the emcee asking her to cut her set short, which Selah described based on Reborn's telling. Reborn said she got a big response to playing "Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)." Selah's story makes no comment about why she chose this song.

'Thanks for putting the women trying to be men to get more women on the cover this week. Amazing. Why not a picture of Coney Island?'
photo: David Yellen
'Thanks for putting the women trying to be men to get more women on the cover this week. Amazing. Why not a picture of Coney Island?'

Thanks for Neil deMause's article detailing the motives and methods of Thor Equities CEO Joseph Sitt [ 'Coney Island's Last Ride? The Bulldozer!,' April 11–17]. Sitt's attempts to obliterate the legacy of Coney Island's amusements in order to build high-rise condos will surely earn him a place next to Walter O'Malley as a man whose name will be forever cursed by generations of Brooklynites. Like O'Malley's theft of the Brooklyn Dodgers, the destruction of the "working- class Riviera" represents the loss of a fundamental piece of New York's collective soul. And as for Joseph Sitt's soul, it appears destined for permanent residence in one of the Coney Island amusement rides that he plans to demolish: Dante's Inferno.
Jeff Prant

Thanks for putting the women trying to be men to get more women on the cover this week. Amazing. Why not a picture of Coney Island? Oh, I guess the other story is so much more important than the destruction of one of the most historic and loved landmarks in New York City history and home to the Voice's Siren Festival. Thanks also for waiting until they were actually tearing it down to write a story about it. My friends at Ruby's on the Boardwalk told me about this impending ridiculous disaster two years ago. I am glad you finally wrote about it, but what took you so long? Cheers to some serious cutting-edge journalism.

'Girls to Men' [April 11–17] was an unfortunate title for Chloé A. Hilliard's article on aggressive and femme lesbians. The title completely misses the reality of the lives of these young women, who are just that: women. Women who love other women. They are not girls, and despite their appropriation of masculine language and visual cues, they are not men. I am a femme who loves what my generation and culture refer to as butch women. Like many other femme lesbians, I love butches precisely because they are not men but rather women who have masculine energy. There are many ways to be a woman, and we should celebrate all of them.
Leah McElrath

I'm feeling the whole article thing on aggressive females. It's about time we get recognition, regardless of the topic. I am really happy to see an aggressive female on the cover of the Voice. Topics like this should be talked about much more. I would love to be interviewed. I am a very attractive aggressive female who went through a lot of similar things.
Harlem's Realist

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