Topic: Electronic music and black identity
a friend of mine shared this article and it got me thinking a lot in the light of the current political climate. Curious what you think?
I'm a bit divided on the article. On some notes I agree with the authors about bunch a white folks trying to play african like those twats radio noet noet, who'd been playing at commercial festivals by putting on african outfits and playing music from the continent.
More critical I am when it comes to their view on independent labels like awesome tapes from africa. Of course this whole world-music hype with labels operating outta europe like habibi funk, sonic vibes? (? or whatever is called that had lotsa stuff from Thailand) and the latter has a slightly neo-colonial touch to it. Then again with labels like ATFA, the african artists get 50% of the revenue and they would probably be unheard of here without that label. And yes there is a lot exoticism happening about it's origins, but that pretty much happens with all music coming from abroad and rarely there is a good original depiction. And a locally run label might not have the same reach towards Europe.
Also the part about the white-washing of techno. Of course it's lame that people these days don't seem to know where the music came from. and that it was black folks who invented it in the first place. Then again, specifically when it comes to techno we all know that the influence and direct contribution from "white" european electronic music is so huge that it may not have developed without. Jeff Mills also started making music imitating drum patterns from Klein & MBO. Also on early hiphop the influence is hard to deny, with kraftwerk being sampled so often that you can fill hours of youtube-videos with it.
In the end I think the reason techno became "white-washed" is because it never found truly popular appeal in the US. In Europe it became hugely popular where there is just less of a black audience and follow-up musicians to be gained (in the EU including uk around 3% are afro-europeans). So with the majority of the crowd + dj's being it until today the thought that techno is more popular among whites easily became the image.
Last but not least what this article shows to have been 100% completed is the superiority of images and packaging over music. I'm wondering if the writers are aware that when electronic music became big the image of the dj was an anonymous one. You would most likely not even know how he even looks due to being tucked away behind some desk at a party. Many artists chose deliberately not to have images of them anywhere like our beloved Drexciya (which are now seen as prolific black artists, but back in the day you might as well have thought they're two Inuit in a hut near the chinese wall so little was known about them..).
Now, in this instagram picture-obsessed age images seem to have become everything. Skin-color of the dj, name he has, probly his latest tweet. Maybe also whom he last had sex with it, just like in the f*ckin tabloid press.