For many years, the same impediments that have prevented African-Americans from economic equality and acknowledgement in mainstream music may have kept them from enjoying the same liberties in the seemingly more inclusive Indie Music space.
According a recent article by Pitchfork, even when Black artists manage to break into the indie realm, they are often misunderstood and measured by a different standard than their white peers. The often misleading economics at play in the white-dominated, do-it-yourself narrative of independent music, as well as a segregated understanding of genre, feed into the systemic racism that has long plagued indie culture.
The article goes on to say that many of the groundbreaking music movements of the past hundred years began with traditions or innovations by people of color, only to be adopted and re-appropriated by opportunists of a white ruling class. Black Americans in particular have played a vital role in shaping their nation’s musical identity, consistently creating music as a way to openly communicate and preserve the heritage that was stripped away from them.
In a similar themed article last summer (amid a worldwide pandemic and nationwide civil unrest), The Breeze echoed what many frustrated Black music artists and executives sentiments. According to the article, white artists and bands have dominated indie music for years. Within the industry, there’s a debate about why alt-indie music lacks diversity. As part of that debate, a petition started circulating to remove Kayne West as a headliner in the 2015 Glastonbury Festival because fans thought it was catered toward rock music and didn’t see West fitting into the genre. Historically, rock music is occupied by white artists, despite iconic black rock artists such as Jimi Hendrix.
Another facet that allows non-white alternative artists to be left out of the scene is their genre or style being mislabeled because of their race. Artists like Childish Gambino or Frank Ocean, who have R&B influences, could also fall under the umbrella of “alternative.”
Tunedge believes that music is the universal language and the vehicles that convey its messages to billions of admirers around the world, should never be excluded nor remain encumbered by race, color, creed or sexual orientation.
Indie Connect (virtual music conference) lays out 12 strategies for long term success as an Indie Artist that we ALL could use to lay a solid career foundation.