October 20, 2020
Your Faves Are Being Exposed. This Is What We Can Do About It.
It’s a time of reckoning in the electronic music community. Just this year, we’ve seen exposés on huge artists like Bassnectar, Billy Kenny, and most recently, Ekali. Some of the most popular Twitter personalities have been outed for—to put it lightly—poor behavior. Black Lives Matter has taken the forefront of this era’s civil rights movement, and we’re learning some of our closest friends just don’t care. All of this is happening, and because we’re in the time of the pandemic, festival-goers aren’t able to indulge in escapism. We all have to confront the harsh realities that it’s not all PLUR in this community, and it’s our responsibility to stop allowing the actions of others to be harmful.
While I can name this artist, that manager, or this Twitter person for what they’ve done, if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that nobody is safe from being exposed. Some people might really hate that. They’ll blame “cancel culture” for letting someone’s mistakes ruin their lives. But there comes a time where we have to differentiate between a mistake and a personal choice. And I’m going to be bold here and say the abuse of power isn’t a mistake. When someone knowingly uses a power dynamic—be it race, status, gender, etc.—to their advantage, they’re doing it because they can. And they think they can get away with it because of who they are.
We can’t let them anymore.
It’s not unusual that we become fans of people. Whether they’re a musician, someone we look up to, or even the friends we’ve made online (because Twitter has become such an integral part of our community), we start to admire them. We put people on a pedestal because we love their art or what they say they stand for. We love the memories they’ve given us. And with social media, we feel like we really know them. But we don’t. So we don’t need to defend them when it turns out they did bad things.
“The abuse of power isn’t a mistake. It’s a choice.”
That’s why tweets saying, “This person is over! Time to redirect my energy onto someone else,” aren’t productive at all. Obsessing over people you don’t know and being heartbroken when you find out they’re trash fucking hurts… Why would you want to do it all over again? If there’s one thing you should take away from your fave being exposed, it’s that people aren’t who we think they are. So stop treating them like they’re your best friend. But even if your best friend did the same things, learn to drop them, too.
This is all easier said than done. So here’s a list of things we all can do to make the community a better place, myself included.
#1: Plain and simple: Stop worshipping people because of a high follower count.
Electronic music lovers aren’t the only ones who do this, but it’s not uncommon to see someone be a ride or die for a particular artist, brand, or even someone who just has a lot of followers. Social media bios are filled with hashtags of who they stan, and they’ll attack with a cult-like mentality when someone speaks out against their fave.
Listen. Just because someone is widely loved, it doesn’t absolve them from being outed for doing horrific things. Clout is a disease. Don’t get sick.
“Clout is a disease. Don’t get sick.”
#2: Create healthy boundaries based on your values.
What’s important to you? There are a lot of things going on in the world… Where do you stand? Find people whose views align with yours and keep them close, because they’re hard to find. And when you see people exhibiting problematic behavior, don’t be afraid to call them out, or even stop associating with them if needed.
#3: Learn to listen and take accountability.
This time has been a learning experience for everyone, and with more and more people speaking about their life experiences, we need to learn to listen to people who are different from us. Nobody expects us to know it all, but being able to listen and learn from people can help us recognize when we’re wrong and need to unlearn problematic beliefs and behaviors. Being able to admit you’re wrong and commit to meaningful change will make all the difference.
#4: Inspire and encourage a diverse community.
I know earlier I said to find people whose values align with yours, but that doesn’t mean create an echo chamber of your own thoughts. After all, if you aren’t open to people who are different than you, you might never be able to do step #3! Having people of different races, genders, and sexual orientations in your circle will create a more inclusive environment. Whether you’re an artist, a label, or even just a listener, commit to creating a space that is representative of all people. To put it bluntly, this means we need more people of color, more women, and more LGTBQ+ representation and inclusivity. The community could really benefit if they made everyone feel welcome which, as a minority woman, I can strongly say, we still have a long way to go.
Change isn’t out of our reach. We just need to be open to being open. We need to be open to the fact that people can be exposed for bad behavior, and we need to make sure they don’t hold positions of power again. We need to be open to listening and learning from others because we’re not always right. And we need to be open to a more inclusive, diverse community because that’s what our community was always supposed to stand for.
“Change isn’t out of our reach. We just need to be open to being open. We need to be open to the fact that people can be exposed for bad behavior, and we need to make sure they don’t hold positions of power again.”
Arielle Lana is on the PR + Marketing team at Nightenjin. Heavily involved in the music industry, she is also an editorial writer at This Song Is Sick and FUXWITHIT as well as the Head of PR at Bonsai Collective and Denali Records.