Throughout history, there has been a complicated relationship between race and the global electronic music scene. Analysts point out that the music industry has had problems addressing cultural sensitivity and acknowledgement. This is especially true when discussing techno music.
The Emergence of Techno
The term techno was created during the 1980s. Techno was a way for developed countries to express themselves. Techno also became a symbol during the time period when many people were being hired to data influenced positions. The music relied on beat patterns.
Techno was also influenced by technocracy. Technocracy is a system of elite technical workers who create platforms designed to assist lesser workers. Technocracy had the potential to damage social communities by favoring those in power and neglecting the views of lower class citizens. Some analysts believed that technocracy was similar to the system that oppressed African Americans for centuries.
The early sound of techno music can be traced back to Detroit during the aftermath of the race riots. The music was considered a sign of Detroit’s decline. Many of Detroit’s wealthiest citizens left the city. Those who remained in Detroit did not want to be defined by technology. Early critics point out that techno music during the time period had a heavy European influence.
Over the next year, Techno music started to receive airplay. The music was marketed to a predominantly black fan base. The compilation album; Techno! The New Dance Sound of Detroit helped the genre reach the mainstream. However, tensions started to rise.
Many Detroit residents started to complain about a lack of respect being shown towards the city’s techno artists, who were considered pioneers of the genre. At several parties, the DJs didn’t play any Detroit influenced techno records at all. Many white artists were criticized for wearing styles that are primarily part of the African American community.
Analysts saw these controversial events as cultural theft, re-urbanization, and a form capitalism. Technocracy relies on the standards set by elitists. However, many people are stepping forward to tell their stories and change the narrative of European colonial ideology. The next generation of African techno music stars hope to decolonize the genre.
Frankie Hutchinson believes that it’s her duty to promote the black history of techno music. Hutchinson is currently a booker at Bossa Nova Civic Club, where she has the opportunity to work with several black artists. Hutchinson would like to see more African Americans in booking positions at clubs. While Hutchinson has noticed more diversity, she says that many black artists are still suffering from having limited opportunities.
MoMA Ready is inspired by the perseverance of DJs in Brooklyn’s POC communities. MoMA Ready is trying to create new opportunities in global dance music. He wants full autonomy over his art. He wants to release his music directly to his fans. MoMA Ready wants to see changes for people of color in dance music around the World. MoMA Ready is excited to be a part of the next generation of black DJs embracing techno roots throughout North America.
This is an important time for the black techno community. Akua believes that black contributions to the genre have been ignored. Black contributions to the techno scene have highlighted the underground style in its purest form. Akua says that black women in the industry are often invisible. That’s why she is committed to promoting change on a domestic and global stage. Having the opportunity to travel around the World was beneficial. Akua says that touring allowed her to strengthen her relationship with techno music.
Akua views herself as a healer and educator. Through her music, She had the opportunity to ease some of the tension between Berlin, Germany and the United States. Akua wants to raise awareness for the artists that laid the foundation for her to be successful. Akua enjoys paying tribute to the past. She strives to educate people so that their idea of techno music will evolve.