It’s Black History Month, you know. Well, it is in the UK and Ireland, anyway. Which is eight months later than the USA and Canada – where all this started, by the way – but I digress. Over the next few weeks, expect companies all over the place to try and tag onto Black History Month to emphasise their “not a racist” cards.
Now, a disclaimer. This blog does not care one jot what colour your skin is. Nor do I have any interest in your your height, weight, gender, sexuality, skin colour, disability, job or anything else. If you like seeing the dance music world covered in an irreverent manner, you are a friend of this blog. It really is that straightforward.
But many companies have cottoned onto the fact getting behind campaigns such as this one makes them look good. And they almost never do it for selfless reasons – such as in the case of UK dance music download shop Juno Download. On Friday, I received this email…
I personally can’t understand why Juno Download – and yes, I’m looking at the other dance music stores here too – can’t just integrate coverage of black artists and black-owned labels into what they do the rest of the year. This special coverage in October smacks to me of virtue signalling.
The optics are they’re doing it purely to get some more sales. Which is a shame, because I don’t believe for one second that’s their sole motivation. Yet batting away this criticism is much easier than anyone seems to realise.
The number one indicator of what stores should get behind is talent. There’s plenty of talent in all colours – but history shows there’s probably more within the black community. Showcase that talent by promoting it on your front pages.
Lead from the front. Craft your own path and show how it can be done. And yes, you’ll probably sell a lot more music too…