Going by her stage name DJ Poizon Ivy, Kenyan-born Ivy Awino has made it to one of the most lucrative sports on the planet. Debuting as the official deejay and music operations officer for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks in October 2016, her career has continued to grow.
Starting out with a passion for the game of basketball, Ivy who left Nairobi at the age of 9 with her family, migrated to the quiet town of Farmers Branch, Dallas where basketball and music became her life force. At age 12, Awino fell head first with the sport and joined the Mavericks Hoop Camp youth program. According to a feature on DMagazine, young Ivy went on to be a ball kid, “she quickly won over the franchise’s community relations director and kept the job until she left for college at 18.”
Her love affair with basketball only continued to deepen in university, where she began to deejay on campus. While attending Marquette University in the American mid-west city of Milwaukee she asked a friend to teach her how to deejay. Improving her deejaying skills, she gained a following, regularly working in Milwaukee’s hottest clubs as a deejay all the while running the university radio station.
Eventually, her hustler mentality gained her lots of respect and helped build a favorable reputation with the industry, winning her coveted position of official DJ and music operations officer. Working with Kenyan DJ Kalonje, Nigeria pop princess Yemi Alade, and rubbing shoulders with some of hip hop’s best talents including Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, and B.O.B, Ivy’s efforts have clearly paid off. Playing an integral part of creating a great atmosphere for the fans and the players in the arena, her responsibilities are a great mix of her love for the game and music. Awino told Complex Magazine, “…she has to understand the game, anticipate the plays, and select the best asset to complement the action. ”
Ivy’s skills on the decks have now led her to receive a nomination for the AFRIMMA awards in the category of Best African DJ USA along side fellow Kenyan act DJ Fully Focus. This is could only be the beginning of Awino’s rise to bigger things. Capital FM Kenya’s DJ Joe Mfalme was also nominated for the Best DJ Africa award.