11 times dance music broke our heart in 2016 - - Mixmag

11 times dance music broke our heart in 2016

It was a turbulent year for our culture

  • Words: Mixmag crew | Illustration: Eliot Wyatt
  • 20 December 2016
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3 Misogyny in dance music

It's been far from an easy year on the topic of women in music. In fact, a quick glance through 2016 is a heartbreaking reminder that while awareness towards misogyny and sexism has improved, it remains a rampant problem with plenty room for progress.

The year began with a scandal that rocked the music industry when Heathcliff Berru was publicly accused for sexual harassment by artist Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors, which spurred an outpouring of heart wrenching stories from a handful of other women that detailed similar sexual harassment and assault experiences. The controversy set the tone for a rocky year that continued to unveil the ugly side of what it's like being a woman in the music industry.

Elsewhere, in pop music, Kesha made headlines for coming forward against renowned producer Dr Luke for allegedly drugging and raping her, as well as emotionally abusing her for over five years. Despite widespread attention on her case, the New York Supreme Court denied a preliminary ­injunction that would have allowed her to escape her binding six-album contract under the producer.

Our latest cover star, The Black Madonna, shared her sobering story about the "cost of doing business" as a woman in the industry: "I’m a woman who has been in the industry for 25 years almost. I am a woman who learned about Underground Resistance from the first guy that ever put a bruise on me. I am a woman that has almost been sexually assaulted by a peer at an after-party. And while I’m not a counsellor, I’m a woman that has lived through a lot of the shit that other women have lived through—and that is taken for granted as ‘the cost of doing business’ in this industry."

Mixmag found it necessary to address the topic from a different perspective as well with a piece titled What To Do If You Get Sexually Harassed in a Nightclub, outlining an experience that is all too familiar to women on any dancefloor. And Madonna capped off the year perhaps most powerfully during her acceptance of Billboard's Woman of the Year Award when she shocked the audience by detailing early traumas of her youth - raped at knifepoint, held at gunpoint - before pointing to the same, age old sexism problem. "What I would like to say to all women here today is this: Women have been so oppressed for so long they believe what men have to say about them. They believe they have to back a man to get the job done. As women, we have to start appreciating our own worth and each other's worth. Seek out strong women to befriend, to align yourself with, to learn from, to collaborate with, to be inspired by, to support, and enlightened by."

May 2016 be an important reminder that while there's been positive steps towards change, that there's still plenty of work to be done. Valerie Lee, US Digital Editor

4 Deaths at US mega raves

Sadly, Summer 2016 saw a total of three deaths at one mega festival in Southern California. The three young adults, all in their early 20s, reportedly passed away of acute MDMA toxicity. There were no drug testing stations on site, it was extremely hot weather, and water wasn't as easy to come by as it should've been, so could these deaths have been preventable with increased drug education? Well, the response this year from the dance music community has been 'yes' and now giant festival promoters such as Insomniac are starting to hear us out. The first evidence of a change came with the largest of festival companies, Insomniac announcing they've teamed up with the Drug Policy Alliance to show attendees that raving can be done responsibly. We can only hope that 2017 brings more and more promoters into the spotlight and these preventable festival deaths are indeed prevented. Carré Orenstein, Partnerships Manager

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