The Brighton electric punk trio, CTL DRP are self confessed feminists, but are you really a feminist if your feminism isn’t intersecular?
Breonna Taylor was a 26 year old black American who was murdered in her Louisville, Kentucky apartment on March 1st. The devastation of this murder was felt across society, and soon those of us who were able to took to the streets on as part of the world’s biggest civil rights movement. But as we live in such an uncertain world, ran by the rich who wage war to fill their pockets whilst the poor die, and under a new world that is also caught up in the cusp of a global pandemic, one where politicians tell us to return to work but don’t, and one where the most powerful president in the world doesn’t comdemn fascism, it can become overbearing, and thus sadly the voices that need to be heard once again fade out.
But for CTL DRP vocalist, and activist Annie Dorrett, the below essay is her open letter to our society, and how the conversation needs to continue.
This essay is dedicated to Breonna Taylor, whose murderers Jonathon Mattingly, Brett Hankisom and Myles Cosgrove have yet to be arrested for their crime.
Lately, I can’t help but feel conflicted about promoting new music and content when there are more pressing issues at hand, and I’m sure many artists and labels are feeling the same way. This isn’t necessarily about white guilt but about how we push the conversation forward together as allies in the music industry. This is a movement, not a moment and I’ve noticed as artists some of our social media platforms lack information on how to support black lives. As white artists, I think we tend to forget how much we benefit almost entirely from black culture and black music full stop. We wouldn’t have rock music without the groundbreaking work of Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Little Richard, and we certainly wouldn’t have a new wave of noisy post-punk without the non-conforming attitude of Bad Brains and Poly Styrene. These are only a couple of black artists that have paved the way for musicians like myself and many people I work with, but they are names that should not be dismissed or forgotten.
“So if we’re going to promote ourselves, whether that be music or art in any form, we can try our best to raise awareness too?”
On May 25th, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and generations all across the globe banded together to march in protest of yet another black life lost. Social media platforms were being flooded with information on how to donate directly to bailout funds, how to educate ourselves on uplifting black voices and fight back against racial inequality. It’s taken a long time for white and non-black folks to start showing accountability, but what we are seeing in 2020 is a new kind of solidarity on the streets. If you aren’t anti-racist, you are part of the problem and your silence is not welcome in this fight. Not only has this movement highlighted the indiscretions of our government on the subject but it has also laid bare the racial inequalities that the BAME community face within our society, inside and outside of COVID-19. With high tension and anxiety surrounding the virus, there have been massive changes to our quality of life in the last few months, and there will be many more to come, but we need to keep the conversation afloat with the platforms and voices that we have.
“we need to keep the conversation afloat with the platforms and voices that we have...”
All non-black artists and especially white artists need to be raising more awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement outside and alongside the promotion of our own music. Artists need to challenge and push each other to be better within our own community. If you’re worried about uncomfortable conversations, you are worried about the wrong thing. For example, I’ve watched white female artists in the mainstream media push to empower women around them for so long, but we are still failing to make space for intersectionality. The reality is that modern-day feminism is devoted to supporting mainly white, cis, wealthy woman in our society. As white women, we have the power to oppress but we also have the ability to empathise and we need to start using that. The conversation around mainstream feminism needs to change fast. When we exclude black and trans women in our fight for equality, we are only putting ourselves down further.
I realise that constantly trying to educate ourselves and spreading awareness can be emotionally draining, but as a white person, it’s a privilege within itself to be able to have the choice to turn it off. So if we’re going to promote ourselves, whether that be music or art in any form, we can try our best to raise awareness too.