Here’s an important one. One of the primary goals of The Donck and the platforms that I use in general. Sometimes this is overlooked and often times overlooking these things is not intentional, but very important that it is addressed. A positive music community isn’t just about putting a few bands on shows and getting your friends into a room. It’s about creating shows that make EVERYONE feel safe and included. It’s something I think about very often.
So, what does this mean exactly? What am I talking about? It’s pretty simple. Everyone feels differently about certain topics, but also, everyone’s feelings on things are valid. It’s very important to recognize how your show/band/actions may be portrayed by others and thinking about how it impacts people outside of your own little bubble. You may think that you’re doing the right thing, while others may see it as differently, and that is totally ok. However, listening to others and understanding what information you may be missing that could help more people feel completely comfortable is extremely important.
What actions can be taken to promote inclusivity and safety within a music community? Here’s a few!
1) Listen to others with different perspectives than yourself.
As I said before, everyone has different perspectives and looks at things a little differently. Someone may not agree with how things are being done. Listening and trying to accommodate people to the best of your ability is vital. It’s ok to have disagreements, that’s normal. But, truly trying to come to an understanding with someone who may disagree with how a show is being run, where a show is being run, what band’s are being represented, etc. is very important and should not be ignored. Again, you don’t always have to agree, but at least listen, share your own perspective, and try to understand and move forward in a proactive way.
2) Curate diverse bills that give visibility to as many groups as possible.
We live in NY, one of the most diverse areas in the entire country. There is no excuse to not promote diversity on shows and give visibility to as many groups as possible.This includes women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and more. Yes, we all know that especially in the category of rock music there are a lot of white men, but no one wants or needs to see a show with a bunch of white dudes on it. Include as many different groups of people as possible on EVERY show.
3) **DO NOT give a platform or positive reinforcement to individuals and bands that are undeserving.**
I starred this one for a reason. Let’s face it, not every one is what they may appear to be. Being in a band, playing shows, and being given a platform of any kind is NOT a right, it’s a privilege. You can’t just assume that you get to be given such reinforcement and are going to be loved and cherished by people just because your music is good. You also have to be a good person/good group of people. This has been a big topic of conversation for a bit of time in my life recently. And it all leads to this: not everyone deserves the platform, period. If you cause harm to others, treat others as less than you, shrug off the concerns of others, or downright advocate for hate (i.e. racism, homophobia, etc.), then it doesn’t matter who you are or what band you play in, you should not be welcomed. The idea of creating all inclusive shows and making sure all attendees feel safe absolutely goes hand in hand with this.
Furthermore, if you knowingly support or give a platform to anyone who fits under any of these categories, you are just as guilty as them for promoting violence/hate/discomfort/etc. People must be held accountable. It doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend, your bandmate, your family member, whoever. If someone fits under any of the categories above and you let it slide and still play in their band, play shows with their band, listen to their band, even give them “likes” on social media; you are saying that even though they have caused discomfort to others and created a less safe environment for people in the music community, you don’t actually care. It’s not a matter of “being in the middle” of a situation. It’s a matter of saying “hey, I want to be a part of a positive music community that makes everyone feel welcomed. If you choose to shrug off someone who is undeserving, I can and will not stand by you on that decision.” Lift the people up that deserve it, put the others in their place. We all make mistakes, we’re all learning how to deal with situations, and that’s ok. As long as you make an effort and recognize when you may have made a mistake, that’s what matters. Keep growing and supporting artists and just people in general that are doing the right thing, while also preparing to hold others accountable. It’s so important and affects so many people.
This post is a little more on the serious side, but I think all things that should be addressed. I will continue to do my best and do my part in promoting these ideas of inclusivity and safety. If for ANY reason, anyone ever feels uncomfortable or unsafe with anything related to The Donck, my line is always open. Never hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if anyone wants to just chat about this week’s post in general, I would love to speak with you. Let’s keep promoting positivity and safety and lifting up artists that truly deserve it. Cheers!