Over To You: Have You Faced Discrimination At A Gig?

Lauren Andio
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 10 April, 2018

Music snobs who look down on your taste is one form of discrimination, but bigotry and racism have absolutely no place in DJing or music.

Digital DJ Tips member DJ Reddy Fox writes, “I’m a resident at a club and had an unfortunate experience that really bothers me. In the past, I’ve noticed reggae usually gets the crowd dancing, though on this particular night it angered the manager, even though I played under ten minutes of the genre.

“After the gig, he accused me of ‘playing too much reggae and hip hop’ rationalising it ‘brings a bad element’. The only difference between this night and other gigs where reggae played was that those nights have a noticeable increase of black people in attendance. It made me feel like race was the real issue. Is ‘no reggae’ code speak for ‘no black people’? I’d love to hear opinions from other DJs on this subject.”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Despite the world making strides toward equality, we all know that discrimination of all types still runs rampant. For DJs, few females get booked unless someone throws a themed all-girl night. Owners frown upon controller DJs bringing their own gear (“we have club gear already…”). Upscale venues don’t want a “hip hop” crowd (“doesn’t fit our aesthetic”). I can only speculate: perhaps his motivations stemmed from racism, in which case either continue getting blamed for the “inappropriate” clientele or take your talents elsewhere.

Maybe the guy has zero tact, excels at vagueness and poor timing, and has specific visions for the night that escaped conversation until now. What if he just doesn’t like reggae? Do you want to work somewhere that overrules your musical judgment based on personal tastes? You have to maintain your values while respecting the venue atmosphere, but when they clash it forces you to make a decision. Worst case, move on and prove to the next place how well you can rock a crowd.

Have you faced discrimination while DJing? How do you feel about certain genres attracting a specific clientele? Let us know your thoughts!

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