Hutchinson said the problem isn’t just erasure — historical neglect has had a material impact on black artists in the industry. (In 2019, Forbes published a listing of the highest paid DJs in electronic music – were only black) In many of his professional roles -. as the founder of Discwoman, a former booker at the Bushwick techno playground Bossa Nova Civic Club and a curator for many other projects – she invited festivals and performance venues to book more black artists and women, and fair wage rates.
“We have to beg just a little of the same thing a white DJ gets,” she said. When it comes to trying to get places to book black women, “it’s always like, ‘Well, OK, we’ll have them open,’ or ‘Oh, we’ve got plenty left,'” a she explained. “It’s like the crumbs, and it’s disgusting.”
Although Hutchinson said she understood why appealing to white institutions might be helpful or necessary, she made a personal decision to turn her attention in another direction: “Let’s think about what we Can create. You know, let’s reframe the question and imagine what we want.”
Dweller demonstrates a curatorial commitment to the broad spectrum of black aesthetics within electronic music, refusing a singular view of race, sound or identity. For example, there’s a queer black rave party scheduled right next to a DJ set by experimenter Keiyaa. And while the festival features lectures and educational panels, Hutchinson said the team, which also includes blog editor Clarke and Ghana-based co-curator Enyo Amexo, is working to center the celebration.
“It’s kind of an expectation for us, to always talk about our issues,” she said. “I feel like the emphasis should also be on us having a good time.”
This year, the theme of the festival is intergenerational bonding. The lineup includes ancestors like RP Boo, a creator of the Chicago footwork movement; Stacey “Hotwaxx” Hale, the house godmother; and members of Underground Resistance, the formative Detroit techno collective known for its politically conscious politics and do-it-yourself philosophy.