If you love black culture, protect black lives
Larry Levan at Paradise Garage, 1977
Born and bred in North London, I went to a school that was very multi-cultured, and was always surrounded by people from different backgrounds and ethnicities. However, I was still ignorant to my white privilege. Only recently, has it been brought to my attention just how prevalent white privilege is and now I am insistent on educating myself to become more aware of the matter at hand, and help where I can both personally and through BACKTOBACK.
Having both grown up attending raves across the UK, dance music is something that is very close to our hearts, which led us to starting BACKTOBACK. Recently, we have been faced with a very stark reality. We have been part of the problem at hand and have failed the people of colour. BACKTOBACK was built on the basis of rave culture, one that exists because of Black communities. The underground scene and club culture roots are embedded within Black history, and were founded by those as a means of escapism, who faced discrimination, and still are today. It's important for us and other ravers, as well as venues, promoters, DJs, producers, labels and events to understand and acknowledge the roots of rave culture, one that many profit from to. For too long the industry has been silent, so it is vital that we all speak up and understand its origins.
“People think house music got invented in ‘88—it’s because white people got on it. They were hearing about this music that young, Black kids were playing in the hood. There was no real, kind of white underground culture. There was really nothing there for young, white kids to kind of get their teeth into it. If you wanted to get into something, this house music was absolutely perfect.” - Anthony Stevens
Admitting ignorance is the first step for change and we must all take an active stance in the fight against global racism. Although we are a very small, two person team based in the UK, we will work to make BACKTOBACK a platform that amplifies Black culture and its roots in dance music, and continue to promote Black DJs, producers and artists. To wise up on the history of Black British rave culture, check out Rosemary Pitts' brilliant feature on material to watch, read and listen to.
There are even more ways to support BLACK LIVES MATTER. Attend protests, use your voice, donate, sign petitions, write to your local MP, support Black owned businesses, have conversations with family & friends, and continue to spread the word for change.
We have donated to various platforms such as the Minnesota Freedom Fund and George Floyd's GoFundMe, signed all petitions below and watched, When They See Us and 13TH. But this is just a start, we will continue to make our way through the content below by reading and watching more in order to educate ourselves further and ensure that BACKTOBACK is a business that supports Black lives.
THINGS TO WATCH 13TH (NETFLIX) WHEN THEY SEE US (NETFLIX) AMERICAN SON (NETFLIX) BLINDSPOTTING (HULU) DEAR WHITE PEOPLE (NETFLIX) IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (HULU) SEE YOU YESTERDAY (NETFLIX) THE HATE U GIVE (HULU)
THINGS TO READ THE NEW JIM CROW (MICHELLE ALEXANDER) HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST (BIRAM X. KENDI) THE COLOR OF LAW (RICHARD ROTHSTEIN) SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE (IJEOMA OLUO) BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME (TA-NEHISI COATES) WHEN THEY CALL YOU A TERRORIST (PATRISSE CULLORS & ASHA BANDELE) WHITE FRAGILITY (ROBIN DIANGELO)
PETITIONS TO SIGN & SUPPORT BLACK LIVES MATTER NY RECLAIM THE BLOCK THE BAIL PROJECT MB4L MINNESOTA FREEDOM FUND CAMPAIGN ZERO COLOR OF CHANGE WE CAN'T BREATHE NAACP JUSTICE FOR BREONNA TAYLOR GEORGE FLOYD BLACK TRANS TRAVEL FUND