Representation is a big deal. For many kids growing up as an ethnic or racial minority, whether African American, Latino American, Asian American (like me), etc., it is difficult to find role models who look like you. Where those role models do exist, there are often outsized expectations placed on them because of their scarcity. And if they let you down, it’s seen as a hit to the entire community (looking at you, Tiger Woods).
The best way to combat this lack of representation in highly visible roles is to take leaps to enfranchise as many people as possible. The writers room of the hit show Atlanta was entirely minority, and most of them were in their first writing jobs. Donald Glover, the creator of Atlanta, took a chance on a lot of these writers. Going forward, there’s now a big batch of new minority writers who will be more likely to be hired on other shows because they have experience, and someone took a chance on them.
The same representation issue exists in dance music. Besides Steve Aoki, who are the most prominent Asian DJs?
Allen Huang is a Seattle promoter who’s trying to change that. He’s going out there and trying to book all-Asian DJ lineups. Often times, he’s giving a particular DJ his first shot at a prominent show, to get them in the door and get them the experience they need to get their second booking, and third, and so on.
Seattle is a great place to be doing this. It’s one of the closest major American metropolitan areas to Asia and has a high proportion of Asians relative to the rest of the country. Seattle has also been the launching point for Asians and Asian Americans in other highly visible industries. For example, Ichiro Suzuki, probably the most successful Japanese American baseball player, played most of his career with the Seattle Mariners.
Allen Huang is trying to do his part to launch the careers of Asian DJs through his organization Customs. If you’re in the Seattle area, you can find out more about the shows on their Facebook page. You can also read a full interview with Allen Huang on Thump.
Now that we’ve discussed minority representation in electronic music, maybe we can also talk about female representation. Or maybe that’s a whole other article…
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