How To Be A Safe Space For BIPOC Ravers

This Black History Month, it’s important to remember the aspects of PLUR: peace, love, unity, and respect. And a big factor of being a good raver is supporting the community and uplifting ravers who have been ostracized or excluded.

Dance music was created in the fringes and underground, powered by the Black LGBTQIA+ community to create a sense of connection, rebellion, and freedom.

But as the genre became more popular and commercialized, the scene became more white, male, and privileged. Thereby, the community has become more exclusive and selective.

As festival season kicks off next month, look within to create a safe space for BIPOC ravers and try to make the community more connected and accepting.

Marco Sgalbazzini wrote on 6AM Group’s blog, “We can never assume to know what it’s like to live in the shoes of a Black person. We can never live your pain nor really understand what it is you are forced to live with simply because of the color of your skin. What I do know is that as a white man there is never an excuse for not doing more. There are no words that can justify lack of action. And there is always more we can do, both individually and as a collective in the electronic music industry.”

What we can all do as ravers is create a safe space for the BIPOC community that is so intertwined in electronic music history.

Avoid Appropriation

Keep in mind that what you wear to festivals can negatively impact the BIPOC ravers around you. Certain items of clothing or accessories are traditional or culturally special and wearing them could seem like you are turning their culture into a fashion statement.

Native American headdresses, cornrows, traditional kimonos, and more traditionally BIPOC styles could make others uncomfortable or downright offended if you are not of that background.

The placement of jewels should also be carefully observed as they could also be similar to Bindis, a religious symbol in Southeast Asia and traditionally sacred.

Listen When Someone Voices Concerns

There may be a time when someone in your rave fam looks or says they are uncomfortable. This could be because someone said or did something or they simply do not feel included at the moment.

Instead of disregarding their concerns or negating their feelings, simply listen. Ask if they want advice or someone to simply acknowledge that what they feel is valid and truly hear what they are saying.

As someone who is white, the best way I learn to be an ally is by listening to my BIPOC friends and colleagues when they point out injustice or microaggressions.

Stand Up For Safety & Comfortability

If you see something, say something. It is not only up to BIPOC ravers to make a change. Change is most effective when everyone bands together to fight racial injustice.

A sad fact is also some white people may only listen to white people. So if you see someone say or do something insensitive, unfair, or downright wrong, call them out because it may be more effective coming from multiple directions.

Also, sometimes people do not know they are wrong until they are told, so gently remind them that PLUR means to respect everyone.

Support Means Others Feel Safe & Included

There is a sad reality that while house, techno, and disco began in the black and LGBTQIA+ communities, they have since become taken over by white artists. Many lineups are headlined by a majority of white males and this could make BIPOC ravers feel unrepresented or unwelcome.

There may also be certain venues or cities that are predominantly white and exclude BIPOC ravers. Make sure the whole rave fam goes to shows where everyone feels included.

Join your BIPOC friends in supporting artists and festivals that highlight and pay homage to those black and LGBTQ roots of dance music.

They may feel uncomfortable asking you to accompany them at a festival that isn’t as large or has as big production, but assuring them that you want to experience music through their eyes validates their experience.

Artists like A Hundred Drums as well as organizers 6am Group and Boiler Room have stood up for Black rights, making powerful statements on Black Lives Matter and fighting injustice head-on.

Understand Their Stakes Are Higher

The dance music community has unfortunately become associated with drug culture and rowdy behavior, meaning police presence will be higher in these spaces.

Black adults in America are 5.9 times as likely to be incarcerated than whites and Hispanics are 3.1 times as likely. If your BIPOC friend encounters a police interaction that becomes accusatory, they are more likely to be arrested, searched, and imprisoned.

If your group is caught with contraband or doing something stupid, it is more likely that the white ravers will be let off with a warning while everyone else is persecuted.

It is especially important to respect this statistic when someone in your rave fam says they do not want to do something or go somewhere because they are worried about the consequences.

All images from Insomniac Events 

Written by
Danielle Levy

Danielle Levy is currently enrolled in University of San Diego’s MBA program with a concentration in Corporate Social Responsibility. She is the cohort representative, VP of Student Organizations for the Graduate Student Business Association, and Director of Operations for Net Impact. Danielle has several years of experience in the sustainability education world and has held various positions in human resources and intern management. She also worked at a local coffee shop for about 2 years. Danielle is passionate about the ties between sustainability and social impact. She spent 8 years in colorguard, including 3 international competitive seasons.

Related Articles

EditorialMusic Festivals

Festival Report Card: Okeechobee 2023

The 2023 edition of Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival was back at...

EDC Mexico - EDM Maniac

5 International Festival Travel Tips You Need To Know

Festival season is right around the corner, and while the USA is...


Shrek Raves Unite Humor And Music To Create Something Brilliant

On a Saturday night in the Inland Washington city of Spokane, a...


We Can’t Forget About The Black History Of EDM

In a sea of glitter, sweat, dancing, and unforgettable experiences, there is...