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Dr. DJ Kuttin Kandi they/them (she)

Co-Founder & Executive Director


Candice Custodio-Tan also known as Dr. DJ Kuttin Kandi, is internationally known as a legendary "People's Hip Hop DJ Scholar" who was born and raised in Queens, NY.  Kandi is a disabled queer gender-fluid femme Filipinx-Pin[a/x]y-American Writer, Poet, Theater Performer, Educator, Hip Hop Feminist, and Community Organizer for over 25 years. DJ Kuttin Kandi is a Global Hip Hop and Cultural Ambassador by Next Level's Meridian International Center, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs where Kandi served as a Site Manager for the diplomacy program Next Level.  Kandi is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of Asian Solidarity Collective (ASC) and its newly launched center, The Asian Advocacy, Community & Action Center (The Action Center).  Likewise, Kandi has co-founded several other local grassroots organizations such as Families for Justice in Education San Diego, the Dede McClure Community Bail Fund, We All We Got San Diego and so much more.  Further, Kandi is the Co-Founder of national organizations People’s Collective for Justice and Liberation and the University for Justice and Liberation (UJL). In 2021, Kandi served on both the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Committee for Persons with Disabilities and as a Human Relations Commissioner of Chula Vista. In 2020, DJ Kuttin Kandi received an Honorary Doctorate in Pinayism from six professors in the discipline who hail from five universities for their endless dedication to radical sisterhood, critical praxis, and transformative solidarity.  In April 2024, Dr. DJ Kuttin Kandi will be inducted into San Diego Women's Hall of Fame with the Spirit of the Hall of Fame Award.


Kandi first gained global reverence by competing in over 30 DJ competitions which eventually led them to being the first femme DJ to compete in the 1998 DMC USA Finals and winning the 1998 Source Magazine DJ Championships. Moreover, Kandi is the Co-Editor of the books "Empire of Funk: Hip Hop & Representation in Filipino/a America" and newly released anthology, "Closer to Liberation: Pin[a/x]y Activism on Theory and Practice." When Kandi is not performing, they are community organizing, speaking, writing or lecturing.  Kandi worked at UC San Diego Women’s Center for seven years and at Diablo Valley College in Student Life specializing in social justice & diversity programming for two years. Kandi is involved with the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance - San Diego, the Intersectional Feminist Collective, the F.I.E.R.C.E Coalition, Filipino American Educators Association of California, and organizes with various other organizations and coalitions throughout San Diego and across the United States.  In addition, Kandi is a strong Disability Justice and Special Education advocate with a Dis/Crit practice.  Today, DJ Kuttin Kandi continues to do community organizing work and provides various lectures on diversity, gender & sexuality, race, disability justice, organizational leadership & development, coaching for liberation and Hip Hop Feminism.  Kandi has been a founding core member of ASC since its inception in October 2016. Kandi's pronouns are they/them (and she).

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