FCK YOUR BOYS CLUB
Music, like all industries, has more than its fair share of –ism issues. Underrepresentation and pay gap often rear their ugly heads, leaving marginalized artists disillusioned with their art form and industry professionals struggling to rise to the top. And those of us who consume music? We have become use to seeing familiar faces and representations in music- often allowing ourselves to remain blind to the lack of diversity both in major festival lineups and local venue bookings. Sometimes, it seems like the important conversations only get started around national events (see: last week’s Grammys) but recently, an online post began to pick up steam as it aimed to fight back against the disparity in both public perception and behind-the-scenes decision making in music.
FCK YOUR BOYS CLUB is a Google Doc that has been circulating, mostly via Facebook, that asks anyone and everyone to contribute the names of bands they want to see up on stage. The goal is to “start creating spaces on rosters for smaller bands with marginalized people (people of color, non-binary, women, femmes, queer folx”. Originally the post was being shared between friends, but a female musician saw the growing list of names and decided to organize the list in spreadsheet format. Carly Commando, who plays keyboard and provides vocals for her band Slingshot Dakota, immediately recognized the importance of the project- she herself knows the value of establishing visibility for smaller, diverse bands and building awareness in the community about these artists.
Commando created the document and put it back out on the web and- thanks to anonymous contributors- the list now boasts 972 artists listed in alphabetical order. It also includes links to the artist's city, website, and social media page. On top of that, the page is set up with easy-to-use “Add a band” link at the top, and even a “Report a band for being shitty/abusive” option.
Commando spoke to WJHU about her involvement, and what place a project like this has in the music world today:
“I only helped to organize it into a more organized shareable document. It's a communal effort. It was a reaction against the lack of diversity in current music events. The post asked folks to list bands that include LGBTQ, PoC and non-cis/hetero white males, that way promoters (and fans) could see that so many amazing bands exist. It was a response to the overwhelming amount of white-male dominated events announced this year (and in the past).
It was a way to instantly shut down the argument that "these bands purely don't exist," which is something that, sadly, many promoters/bookers say. It was an empowering, positive post and it went viral. Is it inherently backwards that a list like this needs to exist in 2017? Yes. I absolutely respect those who want to be included on the list AND those who don't want to be included on it. It's a fine line to tow, because no one wants to be asked on a show because they fit a gender/etc category; they want to be chosen because they're talented. However, most of the feedback I've seen for this list has been positive.
A lot of the time, fans don't necessarily identify with the music they love or support. Providing a list allows folks to learn about new bands that maybe they've never heard, and give them the opportunity to connect with an artist that better represents them, their experiences and feelings. This is important to me because I had recently begun calling out the lack of inclusivity in our music scene, and seeing that sentiment go viral in one day made me realize I wasn't alone. Seeing folks come together to brainstorm a solution, spread ideas and discuss the problem was, and continues to be, crucial to making our music scene a more inclusive place.
I'd like to thank those who are currently maintaining the spreadsheet and everyone who has either contributed bands or ideas to this dialogue.”
You can listen to Commando’s band, Slingshot Dakota, here. The Bethlehem, Pennsylvania based duo is a husband and wife team, both coming from a DIY punk background and continuing to make and perform music after ten years.
By Jessica Moog on Feb. 19, 2017, 6:30 p.m.