As Kenny Dope of Masters At Work calls the Detroit techno originators “my brothers”, a question – why DOES the DJ world cowardly refuse to speak out against Derrick May?

To say that the world of dance music DJs is a weird one is a massive understatement. Most of them know the gossip about one another – they know what’s being said about them by dance music journalists. They know what’s being written on blogs like this one. Yet they exist in a state of amnesia when it comes to discussing anything mentioned online about them.

Hence the silence from a huge number of DJs when it comes to the awkward topic of Derrick May, which pesky bloggers like myself and journalists like Michael James keep bringing up. Seeing this particular post on Derrick May’s Instagram page over the weekend gives me yet another reason to come back to the subject.

As you can see the comments make for interesting reading. Kenny Dope, one half of Masters At Work, claims that these five men are “my brothers”. King Britt simply expresses himself with emojis – whilst Carl Craig gives a particularly telling comment, saying “4 men who continue to be a crucial influence to my existence”. Mr Craig continues to be familiar with the practice of not biting the hands that feeds him, then…

So what’s behind the refusal of DJs to acknowledge what’s been surrounding Derrick May over the past year or so? Why do the likes of Derrick Carter and Kenny Dope feel that appearing anywhere near his Instagram page is a good idea?

I spoke to a journalist who’s written for most of the dance music magazines, and he said “There’s three things behind this. The first is the bro-code. Dance music is basically a big bro-fest, and you don’t talk s*** about your brothers. The second is some of them think what’s happened to Derrick May is very unfair. They’ve spoken to me, strictly off the record, about it and they think this is trial by social media. Without a conviction by a court, they find it extremely difficult to say anything.”

“As for the third, there’s no easy way to say this. But some of them have done things in the past. Things which at the time were seen as innocent, but in the cold hard light of a different era could be seen very differently. One DJ openly told me a couple of years ago that if he behaved now the way he did back in the nineties, he’d probably have been in court accused of rape more than once. Some of them are going through their pasts and are s*** scared because of it.”.

Chickens coming home to roost? You’d wonder…


Update – an earlier version of this post erroneously suggested the journalist quoted had previously written about Derrick May. To the best of my knowledge, they have not. Apologise for the error.