Crateism is a Black woman-owned eCommerce site that sells a wide range of vinyl records. Digital shop owner Fatima Chantel curated this space for vinyl lovers and found a strong community based in Los Angeles.
The L.A. Sentinel had an exclusive interview with Chantel where she explained her deep connection to music and how it shaped her journey.
“I just love music—elders raised me; I was raised with good old music and they had records. I was exposed to a lot of old-school music and a lot of records at an early age, and I was addicted,” said Chantel. Her life began to take form as Chantel began working in record stores.
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Chantel migrated to L.A. from Northern California and has been in the city for six years. She pondered on the memories where she would DJ and how she would have to read the room to align the music to the audience. Chantel has been spinning records for over 10 years.
As a woman of color in a male-dominated profession, Chantel shared her experience maneuvering through the industry, stating, “I think things are a little different now—you definitely see more women deejaying, but when I first started out, it was kind of just me, the only woman. And God bless all the guys that were actually in my corner, and gave me gigs and stuff like that.”
She continued, “I wouldn’t say it was horrible, but there definitely have been moments where people have tried to tell me what to play, tried to take over, and as a Black woman—tried to copy. I’ve seen DJs kind of look at what I’m spinning, then be like, ‘ok I’m going to play those songs because I saw that it got the people going.’”
In full transparency, Chantel shared that there were a lot of people who would be drinking heavily at the bars she would be performing at, and they would say inappropriate things.
Chantel gravitated towards a safe haven with a familiar love for vinyl; syncing to the unity of Forever a Music Store (FAMS) Coalition. FAMS is a network of 28 individually Black-owned record stores scattered across the country. FAMS was founded to draw awareness to Black-owned boutique music stores and to commemorate their contributions to the music industry—while simultaneously serving diverse communities.
Chantel loves all kinds of genres of music; she credits her musical diversity to being around all walks of life. “I’m still an open format DJ, but I would be like, ‘ok I’m going to play Björk and then I’m going to play Nas — because I love all music, it took me a while to realize that everyone doesn’t always love the open format, you kind of have to cater to where you’re at,” Chantel said.
Chantel has an ongoing pop-up shop inside a record store called Twelves Wax in Sacramento, California. Chantel stated one of the biggest albums on vinyl that is in heavy rotation is Beyonce’s “Renaissance.”
Support a Black woman-owned record store by visiting https://www.shopcrateism.com/ and follow Chantel on Instagram at @crateism