Music

Kittens Is The Queer, Feminist DJ Who Wants To Teach Every Girl To Spin

Prishtina Gjonaj

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As a kid who grew up on the outskirts of Los Angeles, it didn’t take long for Lauren Abedini to venture out into the alluring nightlife that’s one of the city’s hallmarks. From her years as a teen sneaking into clubs with a fake ID, to getting her own pair of turntables at the tender age of 21, Abedini’s ascension to her current role as a prominent hip-hop DJ signed to Fool’s Gold records has been a heady one. This past summer she released a brief EP with the label, and has plenty more music on the way. But getting to this point in her career wasn’t an easy path.

After leaving the suburbs for the city itself, Abedini worked as a talent booker at the now-shuttered bottle service club Drai’s Hollywood while she was in college. Working at Drai’s meant she could DJ at some of their smaller events and parties, and at one such random event, a Kid Cudi affiliated happened to hear her spin and invited her to come out with him as his tour DJ. From there, she also met Usher, who became a mentor to her early on in her career.

While a co-sign from a cult favorite rapper and an R&B legend don’t necessarily blow up a DJ, but Kittens has done just fine building a legacy on her own, by staying true to her queer, intersectional feminist identity from the jump, and teaching all-female classes to young girls who are interested in learning how to spin, but often too shy to assert themselves in mixed company.

Along the way, Abedini has never lost her love for the gritty and the grimy, for hip-hop as the backbone of her own personal sound, and for music that, as she so aptly puts it, “you can feel in your lower body.” As she builds her following and explains the difference between throwing on a playlist and DJ-ing as an actual art form, Kittens is determined to never lose sight of her principles, which include a single-minded devotion to helping educate and empower other people.

“If you don’t stand for something, if you don’t have a cause, and you don’t use your voice for something, what the hell are you doing?” she asks at one point during our conversation. That’s a mic drop if I’ve ever heard one. Read a condensed, edited version of our conversation below, spanning her early beginnings, DJ-ing as an art form, and, of course, standing up for what you believe in.

How did you first started getting into DJing and performing and sort of being a part of nightlife in Los Angeles?

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