by Anjali Hursh

Meet our Brown Girl of the month of June 2013!

Anjali Hursh is better known as DJ Anjali. This Portland State alum graduated with a degree in Drawing, Painting and Printmaking. Cool, right? It gets better. She is also a professional DJ, booking agent, graphic designer and Bhangra/Giddha dancer teacher. Brown Girl Magazine caught up with this enigmatic DJ as she continues to pursue her career as a DJ and change the world with her love and appreciation for all types of art. As a mixed race Indian American, she has fiercely taken control of her life.

[Photo Credit: Anjali Hursh]
“I am a shy girl that likes to get on stage. I am a bookworm that studied Bharatnatyam on the side. My mum and my paternal grandmother have both inspired my style and fierce independence. They were both pioneers in their own ways. I am a mixed race baby that identifies as Desi. I am a proud Queer Ally and a socialist. The British Asian diaspora has always been a northern star to me, defining what I do. Because I come from an American working class family, I have identified more with their struggle than the typical Engineer-from-India-family scenario. Meena Kumari, Cindy Sherman, Asha Puthli, Rekha, Zeenat Aman, Pushpamala N., Sonya from Echobelly, M.I.A., and Bishi, each in their own way inspired me to be me. I get strength from the weirdest places, like kitschy desi graphics and gorgeous vintage Bollywood scenes. In fact, unkind & tyrannical men inspire me as well. They are a dying breed.

Money is not important to me but my time spent doing what I love is of importance. I would rather work for myself than have a boss. I love the hustle of being a self-employed artist. Obviously we all need money to eat, but if you keep at what you love, it’ll all work out in the end. I’m not a capitalist, so not having a ton of money doesn’t really bother me. Leaving my aesthetic mark on the world is what drives me. If you can get over yourself, following your passion is easy. I meant well studying Bharatnatyam and Kathak, but Bhangra came so much easier to me (and I’m not even Punjabi!) Speaking in front of people was a challenge I had to get over, but getting on stage was easy. We have a saying in my household about decisions made from love versus fear. If you follow what you love versus not doing what you love because of fear, then something’s amiss.

Women in math and science are important, but if your heart’s not in it, what is the point? I have had the good fortune of parents that allowed me to be who I wanted to be. In the end, I don’t think South Asian parents will really disown their children for following their passion. You can make your parents proud, it just might take a bit longer. I think immigrant parents want what’s best for their kids. They live vicariously through us in a lot of ways, but if we’re miserable, they can feel that too. I guess it’s very Amrikan and not very Brown Girl to go against your parents but after all, it’s your life. You have to live with yourself. If something is nagging at you, listen to your voice and follow your heart…”

– DJ Anjali

Other artists that DJ Anjali has opened for include Skrillex, Digable Plantes, Balkan Beat Box, DJ Rekha, Pink Martini, Delhi 2 Dublin, Tigerstyle. and many others.

Follow BGOTM DJ Anjali on Twitter and check out her website

 Do you know a Brown Girl who is awesome at what she does? Send an email telling us why at [email protected].