The murder of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee and many others during a global pandemic are only recent examples of this. Electronic music is a culture invented and nurtured by black and queer Americans. Everyone who enjoys, celebrates and profits from this culture is forever in their debt. That includes us. Resident Advisor would not exist without the music formed in black communities. We must do the hard work to understand our responsibility in proliferating systems of anti-blackness and take direct action from our position of privilege within the industry.
It should be a primary focus of RA and other electronic music institutions to support black communities and rewrite the narratives of electronic music history that have been skewed in the past. Yesterday we joined others in the music industry participating in Blackout Tuesday, a day for all of us to focus our attention on these recent murders and stand in solidarity demanding justice.
We used this time to reflect on how our platform can better serve and represent black communities in the future, while also thinking critically about how our coverage has fallen short in the past, from the racist line in our review of Gottwood 2019 for which we were rightly criticized, to subtler forms of bias across the site. We want to be clear that we apologise for these failures and we will do better.
During the Blackout we began deciding collectively on the changes we would be making. Our confirmed actions so far include:
• A pledge of US$15,000 to a range of foundations supporting black communities and protests in the US. We are also matching our staff’s personal contributions to the organisations of their choice. We will update this post with the details of these donations by the end of the week.
• We will make an ongoing financial commitment to organisations benefiting black and other marginalized communities. We aim to confirm details on this by the end of June.
• We will be more transparent in our operations. We will publish our diversity and inclusion policies, as well as our editorial integrity guidelines.
• In our editorial department, we are making changes to our style guide and implementing new checks and balances at key parts of the editorial process. In our content curation, we will emphasize dance music’s black roots as often and as clearly as we can, while doing better to highlight current black artists. We will use our platform to give a voice to more black writers in our scene. Details of the next steps towards meeting this commitment will be outlined in an op-ed published this month.
• We have dedicated on-site advertising campaigns directing our readers to a number of funds supporting victims’ families, bail/bond funds and black-led community organizations. This will continue for the foreseeable future.
• This month we will publish an op-ed sharing our views on our editorial shortcomings, reflections and actions, and will provide an update on the further steps we are taking.
We acknowledge that honouring these changes will be an ongoing effort and doing that work doesn’t erase the fact we continue to benefit from the aforementioned systems of privilege. We’re committed to this work. And if you have any questions or feedback for us on how we can improve, you can reach out here: [email protected]