Why I don ‘t get involved with Black History Month

As Black History Month in the US is upon us and International Women’s Day in March it seemed like the best time to clear up my comparative silence during these times.

Every year I see lots of organisations playing black composers because it’s Black History Month. So many of these big organisations are so virtue signalling, they’re only playing them this one month.

It’s like Hairspray “And once a month we have our Negro Day”

I support what Black History Month should represent, the need to shout out history that is marginalised the rest of the time and showcasing all this amazing talent to encourage inclusion and engagement all year round.

Same with IWD and Pride. Lots of brilliant organisations coming out and showcasing the amazing work they’re doing all year round to champion equality.

See I’m a tri-racial British woman in London and my entire work is championing underrepresented classical composers and musicians.

However so many organisations use this as an excuse to segregate and exclude.

Every year I see all these organisations on my Twitter feed saying ‘because it’s Black History Month here’s Florence Price’ or ‘here’s William Grant Still because it’s BHM’

Or playing a concert of female composers on International Women’s Day then back to all men the next week and all the rest of the year.

I can’t get behind it.

It’s not just about this one month. These composers (and artists and scientists and innovators) should be included in all spaces all year round. This is the only way to achieve equality for all.

Every year I see these organisations ignoring all these people all year round, suddenly featuring them, then forgetting about them again until next year and it pisses me off so much.

Also, I know myself. I’ll get preachy and want to respond to every tweet and Facebook post and website article saying how many of these composers do you play the rest of the year? How many black artists do you feature on a regular basis?

How many women on your regular content? How many LGBTQIA+ composers? Are you just featuring Sister Rosetta Tharpe because it’s BHM?

I know that kind of response doesn’t work, doesn’t yield positive results.

Then, as we all know too well, the defensiveness, white fragility and male fragility will kick in and I just can’t deal with it. I don’t know how.

I haven’t figured out yet how to approach it, how to be a part of these events without becoming a lecturing bitch.

The Daffodil Perspective is gender balanced, racially equitable and inclusive, at least 50% female composers on every single show all year round.

And every single show is at least 50% non white composers (with gender parity of course).

The show features black female composers and black male composers on every single show all year round. As well as Asian composers and Latinx composers on every single show plus Indigenous composers and the whole wide variety of non white composers on a regular basis.

I play black composers on every show, I don’t do anything different on Black History Month and I don’t want it to seem like I’m doing something special for BHM. Nor do I want to make it seem like I’m supporting these organisations who are only showcasing black people on BHM or women on IWD.

I don’t want The Daffodil Perspective to be associated with people and organisations that don’t share my values and I don’t want these organisations to feel encouraged and supported in their exclusionary practices.

The Daffodil Perspective is about creating real change, a genuine belonging for everyone 365 days a year. Featuring everyone equitably all the time is what the show does anyway.

I cannot and will not support organisations who continue to segregate marginalised people and use these organisations for bland virtue signalling and clickbait without any real change or action.

So, if you are a classical organisation and would like to be involved with Black History Month or International Women’s Day or Pride WITH A VIEW TO INCLUSION ALL YEAR ROUND then please contact me.

I’ve curated dozens of racially equitable and gender balanced radio shows. My knowledge of diverse composers is extensive and I’m more than happy to assist and consult.

If you want a playlist or a concert curated, a list of composers or any other info about diverse classical composers by all means contact me. I charge reasonable fees for my services and eager to work with people keen to create equality. I truly think if we all work together we can do amazing things.

However, I will only work with organisations and people who want to play these composers after Black History Month or International Women’s Day or Pride ends. If you just want it for this one day, week or month and will never include women or black men on your content again (or not until the next time BHM, IWD or Pride rolls around) I won’t support you and encouraging these policies. Not happening.

So please do check out all these brilliant people during IWD or BHM or Pride and use it to find ways to include them all year round in your content, in your art, in your practice. Get involved with trying to make a world where some day Black History Month and International Women’s Day and Pride become obsolete, because they belong all the time anyway.

For inspiration check out The Daffodil Perspective Radio Show or contact me here

Elizabeth de Brito

Creator and Producer of The Daffodil Perspective, tri-racial woman and champion of equality.

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