Back on Wednesday morning, I wrote a post about how Derrick May had been invited to speak at an event held by the prestigious Detroit Historical Society. Cue much horror at the revelation that this respected body was giving him any airtime at all.
I wrote an email alerting the society’s president, Elana Rugh, as to the many allegations that Derrick May is currently facing. Rugh responded by telling me I wasn’t the only person who’d been in touch over this and a response would be forthcoming soon.
Well, here it is. Derrick May will not be appearing at this event. I’ve been deluged by emails since the news broke, and I share in their joy that he has been denied this platform. However, one or two questions remain – and I’ll try to answer those here.
This is how the news was announced on Twitter by the society.
To avoid distracting from the celebration of the music, people and history of Detroit’s electronic music festivals happening on 5/30 at the Detroit Historical Museum, Derrick May has decided not to attend the planned panel discussion. The panel will feature other industry giants.— Detroit Hist Society (@DHSDetroit) May 6, 2021
A press release sent to me by the society said this…
“Derrick [May] stepped back when it appeared that his presence would distract from the spirit of the celebration. This project and our exhibit, 2000/2020: Celebrating the 20 Years of the Electronic Music Festival in Detroit has been about the history of the festivals and the vibrant community that grew around them. We all agree that this history is bigger than one person and by stepping aside, Derrick ensures that the closing celebration will reflect that history and remain as vibrant and joyful as the festivals themselves.”Tracy Irwin, Chief Exhibitions and Enrichment Officer
The real question, however, is did Derrick May jump or was he pushed?
A source from Detroit who knows both men tells me “Derrick was contacted by the Detroit Historical Society about this on Wednesday. He denied everything and spoke to Carl Craig afterwards. Carl was furious at people from outside Detroit getting involved in Detroit business.
The society didn’t explicitly tell Derrick he had to go, but in the end, he decided the only way to make this go away was to skip it. He wasn’t really given a choice. Truth is he’s saved everyone a lot of headaches – and I think Carl and Kevin will be glad not to have him there anyway”.
Draw your own conclusions…