For the past two summers I’ve traveled to Detroit for the Allied Media Conference, now coming up on its 15th year. This incredible happening pulls together a phenomenal array of folks from networks across the country (and a few internationally) working on technology, media, community organizing, art, music, and more. Several of my compañeras in DC have been going for much longer and established deep roots with the conference and Detroit – roots I have been happy to slip into. There are so many amazing things about the Allied Media Conference that it is hard to explain, but I’ll make an effort to do so, briefly.
(Thanu and longtime Dutty Artz collaborator, DJ Ripley (Larisa Mann) are Detroit bound)
This week, we’re in Detroit for the Allied Media Conference, a networking conference for youth organizations, organizers/activists, technologists, educators, media reform advocates, alternative economists, musicians, DJs, artists, and others who come together to develop new ideas and expand upon the relationships between media and justice, and explore community approaches to social change.
There’s been a slew of discussions bubbling up online and off that involve politics, music and nightlife. It’s funny to us that these discussions often start with the assumption that politics and nightlife are different, because we have never experienced those worlds as separate, and neither do most of the communities we care about and live with. So we decided to start here from the assumption that there are already politics on the dancefloor and the questions is – how do we deal with it?
We wanted to share and start conversations around work that is meaningful to us as deejays, event planners, and organizers by discussing the relationship between activism and music– and how to explore dancefloors as sites of and for activism. What are the possibilities of challenging dominant social orders through the creation of dance space? How are certain spaces (gay ballrooms, queer dance parties, Jamaican street dances, for example) sites of resistance and how are they simultaneously valued, idealized & misused by those inside of those subcultures?
If you’re around the AMC these next few days, stop by our session on Friday at 4pm.
Here’s a short blurb (for a more thorough descript click here):
Radical Organizing from the Dancefloor
“You’re an activist? But you party so much!” Political activism and dancefloors – the languages don’t always overlap, neither do the people – but nightlife is key to survival and sanity for many marginalized communities. We will come up with tools to discuss nightlife with activists, the impact that cultural spaces can have, and how to embody activism on the dancefloor. Come share your favorite stories of political pleasure, failure or success on the dancefloor, and we will strategize responses to them, and other scenarios we have encountered as DJs and event planners. Location: Hilberry A (Student Center)
You can check out all conference workshops in the program here.
While Carl Craig and Derrick May were preparing to headline the show at Manhattan’s very fancy District 36 night club last month – to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Planet E label, their fellow #313 legend/producer Stingray (real name Sherard Ingram) unleashed this monstrosity in the form of a new Urban Tribe mix on Fact Mag! We have been jamming to this for weeks, and it’s only getting fresher with each listen. Indeed this is one of the best in the long-running series (the King Midas Sound was my favorite last year.) In their words: this is serious, serious shit, and we recommend that you listen to it LOUD, ideally while driving round your city at night. Don’t have a car? Get one. Nuff said!