I don’t always find it easy to speak out on these topics, but it’s necessary that we do. I was recently asked to join a conference panel about women in music, but it clashed with travel plans so I had to turn it down.
I’m not sure why they asked me (a white dude) to join, and the conversation never got to that point, but I think it’s important that the people who have it easier think about how they can shape environments to make everyone’s lives better. People in positions of privilege need to do better
This topic is very important to me (and if I can do better, let me know). About 10 years ago, I lived in Istanbul, Turkey for a while. As a foreigner, I stood out. Everywhere. Not everyone, but a very big minority of people thought it was ok if I was taken advantage of in some way. I saw a lot of fights happen while I lived there, and I knew if someone decides to attack me it’s always going to be MY fault in everyone else’s eyes. It was so bad that I even felt that if someone invaded my flat, it would still be considered my fault for living there as a foreigner. I never felt safe and felt like I always had to be humble and suddenly normal results from interactions felt like achievements. One night a friend and I were robbed at knifepoint, so we went to the police who blamed it on us for being in the street at night (a female friend managed to escape a kidnapping and she was blamed for taking a taxi by herself). I never felt at ease in that half year, but I lived in the knowledge that I could just leave. That’s privilege. And I never experienced that in my life before that, nor have I later, even when living in Bulgaria and Russia. That’s privilege too. For many people (more than you’d think), this is a normal part of every day life from which there is no escape. We can’t accept that. This knowledge should be unbearable to everyone.
Back to the music business, Karen Allen
wrote this great piece about how you can secure a spot as a conference speaker. It’s great reading for everyone, and I hope it helps to contribute to more a more diverse music business (there’s a lot of work to do