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The DJ List Accused of Racism By Techno Legend Juan Atkins

Published On 27/01/2016 | News

With the #Oscarssowhite controversy raging on, the issue of equal racial recognition have now permeated into the world of electronic music.

Detroit techno legend Juan Atkins took to his Facebook page to voice an observation on how ‘The DJ List’, not to be confused with DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs (itself a frequent offender for lacking diversity, albeit mostly targeted toward a lack of female representation), features only 2 Black artists, occupying the 99 and 100 spots, respectively.

Atkins mentions how ‘The DJ List’ top 100 does not include such seminal Black electronic artists as Derrick May or Jeff Mills or Kevin Saunderson, Mike Huckaby, Omar S, Moodymann, or Delano Smith (in this regard, the list really does go on and on) in its algorithmic construction. Atkins’ full statement reads:

“What’s heavy on my mind right now is that I recently discovered “The DJ List”. And to my dismay, their top 100 DJ’s list from #1 to #98 are all white. The only 2 black DJ’s on the list are #99 and #100. WTF, are they trying to be funny? That’s a slap in the face of the entire black race basically. No Derrick May, No Jeff Mils, etc. etc. are nowhere on their list. C’mon man, it’s 2016 now and there’s no place in DJ culture, or anywhere for that matter for racism. And I’m not going to stand idly by and watch this shit go down right before my eyes. So I hearby announce that I will lead the crusade for “The DJ List” to be Destroyed, Dismantled, Deleted, and Replaced. And what they probably don’t realize, is that they’re doing it to themselves by publishing a racist top 100 dj list. Because everyone knows that Black DJ’s are amongst the best out there and are largely responsible for the development of this dance music & DJ culture. So they instantly lost credibility upon publication of this racist list. I couldn’t even sleep thinking about this bullshit. So a big F.U. and goodbye to “The DJ List”. See ya wouldn’t wanna be ya.”

To their credit, ‘The DJ List’ seems to have gotten the message ofthe 2,000+ FB-liked post quite quickly, with its Managing Director David DeMember telling Thump, “As someone from Detroit, who went to the DEMF (before it was Movement), The Works, Motor, Necto, Effigy Studios and illegal warehouses to hear Juan, Derrick, Kevin, Jeff and on and on, it stung to read this today…But we’re taking it to heart and we’re on a mission now more than ever to help bring the world good music, by truly talented DJs”. DeMember even went as far as to reach out to Atkins on his original post so they can work together towards finding a solution.

Derrick May also offered his persepctive on the post, commenting: “The actions or disregard of actions, plus the oversight from your contemporaries from other publications has given rise and fueled a creative pandora’s box, it has inspired countless others as well us keep up the good fight and remain as enthusiastic as ever”.

So, what do you think? Does Juan Atkins have a valid complaint here? Is diversity an issue in dance music across the board? How can this be fixed? Give us your thoughts.

Source: Magnetic Mag

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About The Author

Steve comes to Amsterdam by way of Brooklyn, Connecticut, Mumbai, and Tokyo. He researches media culture at UvA, while already holding degrees from UCONN (CT) and The New School (NYC). Aside from DHA, Steve is the Senior Editor for cinema platform IndieNYC.com, and writes on issues relating to film, culture, politics & electronic music. Every so often he also dabbles in photography and filmmaking.