I'm so glad to be doing another piece with M Magazine. It’s been a crazy two years and that can’t be ignored. So much has happened — positive and negative — but I want to give love to everyone who has made it through in some way shape or form. To all the people who have left their former lives behind and made positive changes, to those who have had lockdown babies we see you. To those who have been keeping us ticking over, my peeps in the NHS, we salute you.
I have so much love for people who have been through this, because we have all gone through something no matter how big or small, you can be proud of you and to all the friends and friends I have not met yet, bless up and hold your head high.
As I have always said, during Black History Month in particular, I feel blessed to be given a platform to say what is on my mind. I am getting to my many points, so thanks for sticking with me.
Now that we’re gigging and socialising again, it feels all too easy to go back to what we thought was the status quo. But nothing could be further from the truth. Being a Black electronic artist and co-owner of a record label, I have found I have hidden these things on occasion. Firstly, as a minority, you’re always asking yourself: ‘Do I belong?’ or ‘Am I good enough?’ and the lack of opportunity until recently was definitely crippling to my mental health, and I’m not the only one.
'There are more and more people of Black heritage shifting into positions that can create change and this has to be a cause for celebration.'
People would often switch off when they discovered that the music I make was outside of a genre which they thought I should fit into. People would be confused by the fact that the label I run was not made up of [insert generic historical minority genre] and has a different sound to what their biases deem acceptable for someone like me. At times I almost found myself apologising.
Until the last couple of years, I felt quite alone in this. But how wrong I was. There have been some fantastic people who have helped me on my journey to self-empowerment — in particular Sherelle — who not only smashes it as a DJ and music producer, but through these exploits has set up a label called Hooversound Recordings, which acts as a platform and beacon for those who have the talent but lack the opportunities. This is something which is clearly needed and we the people have been crying out for. The same can be said for Jamz Supernova with her label Future Bounce, which not only delivers great music, but focuses on sounds which exist outside of the mainstream.
Seeing this has shown me — and countless others — that if you have passion for something, you can attain it, regardless of how you look. Seeing that individuals like this are pushing against the norm and excelling in their fields has given me a new sense of pride in my Blackness.
There are more and more people of Black heritage shifting into positions that can create change and this has to be a cause for celebration.
'We finally have more allies. All people in my position have ever wanted is a fair crack at things.'
Little Simz and Oneda are fiercely unapologetic in their messaging, meanwhile Nova Twins and English Teacher are taking the alternative scene by storm and revelling in their genre.
As I look towards not just Black History Month but the years to come, the future looks bright. More and more people are beginning to step up and organisations are getting behind this movement of inclusivity. We finally have more allies. All people in my position have ever wanted is a fair crack at things.
This is why it is important to grab opportunities with both hands and shout about it: you do not know who you will inspire. There will be someone unsure of doing something and seeing someone who looks like them — in a parallel universe could be them — needing that push to be brave enough to move towards their dreams.
These are all things to be proud of and this is why now I can hold my head up and recognise progress. It’s slow progress but progress all the same. There are those, as a result of this, who dare to dream and do not apologise because they do not fit into a socially constructed stereotype.
'We cannot throw away this opportunity to continue to be great and be seen as equals.'
It can be hard to think of it in that way — being an example for people to look up to. I have had it with my own daughter being the only child of ethnicity in the room and seeing her battle through her own anxiety and looking at me for moral support. That spurs me on. I cannot and will not let her down and I am so proud of how she wants to be more and try everything. Those who have fought for us for so long have made this possible.
We cannot throw away this opportunity to continue to be great and be seen as equals. Of course, things are not perfect, but I take pride in the way things are shaping up and this is not just a cause for celebration. This is a chance to be a part of progress.
So to everyone doing their thing out there: we see you and love what you do, please never stop. As a collective, people need you to keep going, even when it feels you cannot go any more. We need you and love you.
Read Dirty Freud’s 2020 Black History Month feature for M Magazine.
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