Dear Soundfly community,
So much of the music we love (and make) is the creation or legacy of Black people. In fact, so much of the music we talk about here on Soundfly is the creation or legacy of Black people. Jazz, rock, blues, hip-hop, R&B, techno, electronic music, even parts of classical music as it evolved in the twentieth century — all of it was either invented by or heavily influenced by Black musicians. The world is a profoundly better-sounding and more beautiful place because of that legacy — and we’re uniquely conscious of the unfathomable struggles so many Black artists went through to create it and pass it on.
As such, we also have a special responsibility to stand alongside those pushing for racial justice and equality.
We at Soundfly stand with the protesters demanding justice and calling for a radical upheaval of business as usual across the US (and the world). Black lives matter, and we’re sick and tired of the way the police specifically and also our society at large treat our Black friends, artists, creators, collaborators, role models, family members, colleagues, and fellow humans.
Our small team has always been dedicated to inclusion and celebrating every voice — it’s one of our core values — but we know we can do more to fight the structures that keep racism afloat, both externally and within ourselves. As a company, we’re committed to becoming anti-racist.
Right now, we’re starting from a place of learning. In the past week, we’ve been listening a lot while starting some valuable conversations internally about what long-term actions we can take, which we’re continuing this week and beyond. We’ve also been talking with our community members, mentors, and people we admire to learn more about how to dismantle structures internally and contribute most effectively externally.
If you’re interested, these are some of the resources we’ve been drawing on, learning, and supporting as a team as we attempt to grow and better understand our impact on the world:
Things We’re Learning
- Music Theory’s White Racial Frame: Confronting Racism and Sexism in American Music. Associate professor of music theory Phil Ewell starts by questioning why every music theory textbook he’s ever used cites 100% white males, and goes on to explore how to progress from there.
- Decolonizing the Curriculum. UK educator and saxophonist Nate Holder posted this lecture about the legacy of “superiority” in how we still teach music today.
- Music and the Civil Rights Movement: A Fundraiser. Dr. Stephan Pennington, gamer and musicologist, posted this amazing Twitch lecture and fundraiser on the history of music and the Civil Rights Movement.
- We’re revisiting some fantastic stories by our own authors and community, like this one by Charles Burchell on the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade and this interview with Pulitzer-prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa.
- Justice in June. An incredibly well-curated curriculum of activities and actions to become a more intentional ally.
- Our contributor and instructor Ethan Hein has published an excerpt of his dissertation entitled the Racial Politics of Music Education.
People We’re Following
- Institute for Composer Diversity
- Poet, performer, and thought-leader Joél Leon
- Nicholas Payton and Black American Music
- Grammy Educator of the Year Mickey Smith Jr
- Founder of hip-hop business publication Trapital Dan Runcie
- Associate professor at Columbia’s Teachers College Christopher Emdin
What We’re Listening To
- 1800 Black Artists on Bandcamp
- The #BlackMusicMonthChallenge organized by Naima Cochrane on Twitter
- The podcast CodeSwitch
- Black Music Month Playlist on Billboard. They’re posting a new one every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, curated by a different artist.
Who We’re Supporting
- Campaign Zero
- Black Lives Matter
- Black Visions Collective
- MN Freedom Fund
- Brooklyn Bail Fund
- Families Against Mandatory Minimums
- If you’re looking for more, you might check out this list from NYMag
Yours, with love, support, anger, and optimism,
The Soundfly Team
(Ian, Zoë, Mahea, Jeremy, Carter, John, and Martin)