Electronic music is rooted in black culture. We’re not doing enough to acknowledge that.

June 5, 2020Peter Merritt

As an outlet run by white men that highlights music and art that is deeply rooted in black culture, we would like to recognize that we have failed. We feature music that draws influence from dancehall, jungle, dub and reggae, hip hop, rap, grime, dubstep, drum and bass, techno, and countless other styles of music created and popularized by black artists, and we haven’t done our part to acknowledge and respect that.

We haven’t used our platform nearly enough to highlight black artists that create the culture we benefit from daily. We have largely featured white DJs and producers, either playing music that was literally made by black artists or deeply influenced by the sounds and culture of black artists. The opportunities afforded to these white DJs and producers are opportunities that could, and often should be afforded to people of color. We need to do better in using the following we’ve developed and the perceived status we’ve achieved by profiting from black culture to lift artists and labels of color up. We need to be conscious of how we consume and reappropriate black culture without showing up for and supporting black people with our platform.

We are outraged by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and every other black and brown person ruthlessly murdered by an agent of the state, and while we’re very vocal about that personally, we haven’t used our platform here to speak out against systemic racism and the need for justice for people of color. We haven’t used our platform to call for an end to qualified immunity, to call attention to the inherently racist outcomes of our police state, or for the need to retrain, defund, and eventually abolish police departments in every city, county, and state across the country. We need to do better in recognizing that our privilege has allowed us to be apolitical as an outlet, and that’s unacceptable. White silence is violence. 

We promise to do better. We promise to be more conscious of the artists and culture we feature here and the privilege we experience as a platform run by white people. We promise to do our part to lift up the art of people of color. We promise to NOT be apolitical. We promise to use our platform to spread the messages we so strongly believe in personally. We promise to not shirk away from acknowledging and respecting where this culture we benefit from originated. We promise to not stay silent while we watch racist dynamics play out in our own communities and scenes, or in the music industry at large. 

In the meantime, we’ve made some donations to some organizations that we think are doing phenomenal work, bought some music from black artists and black-owned labels we support, and done some personal learning about the origins of dance music in black culture. We’ve shared links to all of those below, consider joining us in this anti-racism work, especially if you’re white.

Great Organizations to Donate to:

Black Art Futures Fund
https://www.blackartfutures.org/

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund:
https://www.naacpldf.org/

Don’t Shoot PDX:
https://www.dontshootpdx.org/

Black Lives Matter Global Network:
https://secure.actblue.com/donate/2005_email_blacklivesmatter-up

Campaign Zero:
https://www.joincampaignzero.org/#vision

Learn more about the roots of dance music’s black origins here:

All of the electronic music you hear on this outlet was either created by or influenced by black artists and culture.

Inna de Yard: The Soul of Jamaica (Documentary)
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7621830/

Pump Up the Volume: A History of House Music (Documentary)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_Hz6FQyVJ8

The VICE Oral History of Dubstep (Article)
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9bgm5e/an-oral-history-of-dubstep-vice-lauren-martin-610

“I’M TRYNA TELL YA” (Chicago Footwork Documentary) 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AlJ88YZ3U8

The Police vs Grime Music (Documentary) 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW_iujPQpys&feature=youtu.be

The Sky’s the Limit: An Oral History of Jersey Club (Article)
https://www.thefader.com/2014/06/12/the-skys-the-limit-an-oral-history-of-jersey-club#:~:text=DJ%20Tameil%20Jersey%20Club%20was,weren’t%20all%20from%20Newark.

An Oral History of Baltimore Club (Article)
https://www.waxpoetics.com/blog/features/articles/an-oral-history-of-baltimore-club/


All Black: Jungle Fever (1994, Documentary)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pboSETUoSko


Underground Resistance (Detroit Techno Documentary)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JI4cBPgETnU&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3ZwzIu7gj70cSy7fng0wQriFdOisOvIba3jQRAQ9SLKjnUo4xxytEOZVY

Roots and Future: A History of UK Dance (Podcast/Radio Show)
https://soundcloud.com/afropop-worldwide/roots-and-future-a-history-of-uk-dance

Bass, Mids, Tops: An Oral History of Sound System Culture (Book)
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bass-mids-tops-joe-muggs/1129661439

Black artists and black-owned labels to support:


Finally, this is a list of some black artists and black-owned labels that you often find featured in our content, usually being played by white DJs. Here’s where you can buy their music:


Sinistarr
https://sinistarr.bandcamp.com/

TT The Artist
http://tttheartist.com/

Teklife
https://teklife.bandcamp.com/

Xzavier Stone
https://xzavierstone.bandcamp.com/

Fox
https://mcfoxmcr.bandcamp.com/

Epic B
https://epicb.bandcamp.com/

Gourmet Beats
https://gourmetbeats.bandcamp.com/

Mr. Mitch
https://mrmitch.bandcamp.com/

Rider Shafique
https://soundcloud.com/rider-shafique

Equiknoxx Music
https://equiknoxxmusic.bandcamp.com/

DJ Swisha
https://djswisha.bandcamp.com/

Worst Behavior Records
https://worstbehaviorrecs.bandcamp.com/

Cadenza
https://soundcloud.com/cadenzacadenza

Gobstopper Records
https://gobstopper.bandcamp.com/

GRRL
https://ganglabel.bandcamp.com/

Donae’o
https://soundcloud.com/donaeo

Exit Records
https://exitrecordsuk.bandcamp.com/

Gafacci
https://gafacci.bandcamp.com/

Uniiqu3
https://uniiqu3.bandcamp.com/

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