In light of the Black Lives Matter protests taking place in numerous cities, black culture’s influence on electronic music has reemerged as a topic of conversation. Some fear, however, that with the unprecedented number of white allies joining the cause comes the risk of black voices being drowned out.
Plenty of electronic musicians of color have been vocal on the matter, after all. Seminal Detroit techno producer and DJ Kevin Saunderson shared an open letter on the matter via Facebook with the full details of George Floyd‘s untimely death as well as his own reflections on the incident.
“People from around the world are standing together, risking their own safety for the future of humanity,” he wrote. “For us and for the future of our children and our beloved planet. I stand with them. I’m a peace-loving person and not one for violence, however, we the people have had enough. We’ve had enough hatred and bigotry. We’ve had enough systematic racism. We’ve had enough of killing us.”
Jeff Mills – typically one of electronic music’s more articulate intellectual figures who himself played an integral role in techno’s protest music origins – has given a different kind of input than usual. In addition to changing his Facebook page’s default image to the raised fist symbol, he has used his platform to draw attention to news articles around the protests.
Artists from overseas have also shared perspectives on the movement to end racial inequality. Considering Apartheid’s lasting effect on social injustice in South Africa, Black Coffee‘s short message of hope is especially relevant. “All of this will bring us closer together…we’re a global family now more than ever,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
The protests originating in Minneapolis quickly spread to cities in every U.S. state as well as countries like the U.K., Germany, Brazil Syria. Law enforcement has responded in much of the U.S. by deploying tear gas, pepper balls and foam bullets, adding fuel to the debate around police brutality.
Derek Chauvin, who was arrested for apparently murdering Floyd by pinning his knee on his neck after handcuffing him, has had his charge upgraded from third to second-degree manslaughter. The three other officers present have also now been arrested for aiding and abetting.