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Jacinda Sweet, also known as DJ Jiji Sweet, didn't always have her eyes set on becoming a professional DJ. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Sweet and her family relocated to the West Coast, where she grew up. At 48 years old, she can still remember what it was like growing up in Los Angeles at the peak of gang violence and community unrest.
Films depicting gang-culture in South LA like Boyz n the Hood were debuting just as Sweet lived that reality. So she decided to get away from her environment for her college years. She attended the University of Arizona, intending to play basketball and earn her degree in media arts, emphasizing journalism.
"For me, I had my own backstory, and being an All-American athlete was my way out," Sweet said. "[In] Arizona, I felt like I could get out of LA and just breathe."
In college, Sweet stuck to a tight routine of working out, practicing, and going to class, but despite this, her love of music always shined through the hectic schedule.
Growing up, Sweet saw classmates donning the stereotypical DJ-look of oversized headphones and always found the practice enjoyable. However, she didn't know many women who partook in it and was content watching from the sidelines.
But in college, this onlooking became more hands-on as she began to attend clubs. Instead of spending her time on the dance floor, she would be near the DJ booth looking on as they spun their records, creating new sounds out of preexisting songs.
"I always say, you can always tell who wants to be a DJ or if they're a DJ—if you just walk in the club right now," Sweet said. "[They're] always kind of standing next to the DJ booth or trying to figure out what they're doing."
Sweet saved enough money to purchase her DJing equipment and began to mix for fun in between internships and finishing her college career. She found musical inspiration in artists including the Wu-Tang Clan, Lost Boyz, and A Tribe Called Quest, much of her music taste coming from the East Coast.

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