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Amidst nationwide protests, EDM community turns up the volume

Concert photographer DONSLENS captures peaceful protestors gathered around a burnt police vehicle. "They had only positive things to say and were super nice, and were protesting peacefully." Photo Credit: @donslens

After the murder of George Floyd, American cities broke out into vehement protests. Chants and signs reading, “I Can’t Breathe” and “Say His Name” multiplied across mixed-race crowds, referencing Floyd’s pleas for mercy as Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin suffocated him to death.

As Seattle protests got ugly, with surmounting evidence of unacceptable police violence catching national attention, the EDM community spoke up in support of BLM protests.

Police spray tear gas and throw flash bombs at protestors in Seattle, WA. Photo Credit: AP News

Floyd’s murder has been deemed premeditated as Chauvin held his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, continuing well after Floyd lost consciousness and even after he lost his pulse. Chauvin was fired and charged, but as Atlanta-based rapper/activist Killer Mike put it, “We don’t want to see one officer charged, we want to see four officers prosecuted and sentenced.”

Sparks turn into raging fires

Even during a global pandemic, this overtly racist incident reignited the Black Lives Matter movement. This time around, extreme scrutiny for white silence and complacency moved many previously apolitical public figures to speak out.

Big name artists such as Alison Wonderland and RL Grime took the lead on Twitter, sharing resources and raising money for the Minnesota Freedom Fund.

The Minnesota Freedom Fund pays criminal bail and immigration bond for those who cannot afford to as we seek to end discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing.

PNW bass favorites such as Herobust and Sullivan King answered the nationwide call to action by hitting the streets. They joined protests and encouraged fans to come say hello. While the fan response was overwhelmingly positive for such actions, all artists who speak up face some inevitable backlash online.

people unfollowing me for saying black lives matter you’re exposing YOURSELVES

– Alison Wonderland, Twitter

The global EDM community speaks up in solidarity with protestors using #blacklivesmatter and #justiceforgeorgefloyd

From fans to photographers, everyone in the EDM community has a role to play

In part thanks to public support, petitions demanding justice for George Floyd spread like wildfire, earning millions of signatures by the day. And it wasn’t just music producers spreading the word – venues, promoters, and even concert photographers joined the movement.

Festival photographer captures Las Vegas protests, demonstrating an elegant way to obscure protester faces. Photo Credit: @ginajoyphoto

Proximity dropped a thoughtful post on Instagram, reminding fans of the debts modern EDM music owes to the black community.

“Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May. These three individuals defined a genre and a sound that is actually more popular today than ever, yet nobody knows about them. They laid a foundation for the producers you see today AND they are one of MANY case studies of why EDM is black music.”

A-Trak’s statement echoed the same sentiment.

“I feel like this needs to be stated regularly: I am a hip hop and house DJ, which means I make a living playing Black music. That music and culture was made directly out of the injustices of Black people in America.”

PNW EDM community continues supporting BLM protests

Numerous local voices have contributed to the growing momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement. Seattle producer, MUST DIE!, retweeted a series of clips from protests across the country highlighting incidents of police violence and sharing resources.

please use your platform to amplify black voices, show solidarity, and don’t let up out of fear that you’ll lose progress in your career!

– MUST DIE!, Twitter

Kremwerk, a queer-centric Seattle nightclub, urged followers to take action. They shared the following quote on Instagram:

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

– Desmond Tutu

Chong the Nomad, another Seattle producer, matched a $50 donation to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. She shared the interaction on Twitter, encouraging her followers to donate. Right now, you can also use #BlackLivesMatter and #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd to share resources. Encourage your friends and family to get involved.

On June 2nd, 2020 a music industry blackout urged fans and artists to stop the marking cycles, music releases, and live streams for a day. The event aimed to recognize the critical role black voices have historically played and continue to play in the music industry – often without fair recognition or compensation.

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