Elian, M.B. 2016. “DJs of Color Reclaim Electronic Dance Music.”

Elian, Melissa Bunni. “DJs of Color Reclaim Electronic Dance Music.” NBC News. August 28 2016. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/djs-color-reclaim-electronic-dance-music-n638576  Accessed March 6 2017.

Notes social media and hashtag movements that critique colorblindness and predominant whiteness within “journalism, architecture, art, publishing and philanthropic orgnaizations.”

Manchildblack, a DJ of color, responds to the uniformity of festival line-ups, featuring same celebrity DJs as a measure to gain profits: “I realized there wasn’t a lot being said about the innovators of color.  I mean black and brown people are the creators and founders of disco and house music and those two [genres] are the foundations of what we hear now.  That’s not celebrated.  That’s f—ed up.”

Mentions Hype Music Festival’s lineup “of all colors, genders, and identities” that “served as a reminder of the origins of warehouse music”. Continues with review of several DJs of color.

Zuzuka (Brazilian female EDM emcee, vinyl DJ, multilingual rapper) – “Everyone is inspired by black music.  The industry is whitewashed and it is really sad.  Thank god we have Afropunk because they focus on black music and culture.  So we have one festival focused on that, but that is not even electronic music.”

Rich Medina (Board member of hip hop artifacts at Cornell University, DJ) – “There are all forms of networks.  In American you got the old boy network, which is typically old, white and male. The new network is young, white and male.  Both of these models are touted as the definition of success.  When you talk about the commercialization of music, it’s not designed for talent; it’s designed for nepotisim.  The idea that melanated skin can be an obstacle to your ease of entry to opportunity at times is not news.”

Beto Sepulveda and Thanushka “Ushka” Yakupitiyage (DJ duo, respective arts promoter and immigration rights activist – known as iBomba)

Ushka: “EDM or ‘electronic dance music’ is a term that came about in 2010. It was basically a branding tactic for mainly white male DJs from Europe and the U.S. who were playing huge stadiums and festivals. I have no interest in branding what I play as ‘EDM.’”

Beto: “People of color have a huge legacy in creating electronic dance music, but I doubt any person of color would want to take credit for what people understand to be EDM. I wish music writers that challenge EDM’s diversity problems would show as much love to covering DJs who’ve been holding down diverse, vibrant scenes for years that put people of color in the center like Soul Summit and a lot of the artists who were featured at Hype Life Festival. I’ve always thrown my own parties and got booked at gigs that had more diverse audiences and an appreciation for my sound. I’m a big believer that If you build it, folks will come.”

Ian Friday (poet, DJ, producer): “The notion of EDM is really built upon the culture that sprang up in the 80s around house music. It’s forefathers like Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles in Chicago, Kenny Saunders and the whole Detroit Techo People and Larry Larand, Tony Malcusi in New York and New Jersey… I mean these are all people of color. Like many things that have been co-opted from people of color, [EDM] doesn’t look like the people who originated it.”


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