"I don't hear any white DJs talk about where dance music comes from or its appropriation." OK Williams talks about the origins of dance music and archiving Black culture live from New York's dweller festival.
Since the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd, there have been renewed efforts to shine a light on dance music's roots in Black communities. Still, there's a critical need for more Black-forefronted collectives and programmers—as well as more thoughtfully curated and balanced rosters of talent in clubs and festivals—to keep the origins of electronic music alive.
This isn't as easy as it seems, OK Williams reflects in this week's RA Exchange. Deep-rooted inequities, including a lack of time and resources, continues to bar Black artists from contributing to the contemporary dance music landscape to the same extent as white artists. "I don't even know where to begin or how to articulate this properly because it's actually just so deep, and it goes so much deeper than dance music, and it goes so much deeper than the club. Because until we fix structural issues that Black people face, nothing is going to change," she says.
Today's episode, recorded live from dweller festival in New York, examines the UK artist's thoughts on archiving Black dance music culture and building communities of colour, as well as her own ascendance from NTS morning show host to internationally touring DJ. Speaking to RA music critic Kiana Mickles live from an event created to highlight exclusively Black talent from across the globe (Discwoman's Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson started the festival in 2019), the Nigerian-British selector reflects on the state of the scene as well as her first forays into production and falling into DJing. This is a lively discussion that includes questions from the audience. Listen to the episode in full.