DJs of Color Reclaim Electronic Dance Music
Melissa Elian of NBC News interviews Manchild Black, a DJ and club promoter based in Brooklyn. Rather than simply lament about the lack of color and diversity in dance music, Manchild Black decided to do something. To celebrate 10 years in the industry as well as the origins of disco and house music, he created a lineup of 11 DJs of all colors, genders and diversities which became the Hype Life music festival. The response was overwhelming and the message was heard. Learn more about Manchild Black and the 11 DJs on Hype Life in Elian's article below.This article originally appeared on NBC News
With one hashtag—#OscarsSoWhite—industries across America were forced to put aside their proclaimed colorblindness and reconcile with their monochromatic tendencies. As a result, a constant stream of op-eds on journalism, architecture, art, publishing and philanthropic organizations have clamored about issues of diversity within their "overwhelmingly white" institutions.
Manchild Black, a DJ and concert promoter living in Brooklyn, watched these conversations from a distance. When he realized 2016 marked his tenth anniversary in the business, Manchild knew he would celebrate, but wanted to do so with a purpose. When he came across a few articles about the Dance Music industry he discovered a way to spark change.
In February, Thump, a channel on Vice's website dedicated to Electronic Dance Music, ran a story titled "Why is Every Single Dance Music Festival Line Up Exactly the Same?" The piece lamented the tendency of promoters to book the same celebrity DJs to maximize profits. Other articles pointed out gender imbalances. Though the stories brought up valid points, for Manchild, it didn't go deep enough.
"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," Manchild told NBCBLK in a telephone interview.