Its been a curious time in the entertainment business over the past week or so with three cyclical stories gathering significant momentum in their respective circles. You’ve had the battle of what has been dubbed ‘The White People’s Choice Awards’ aka the Oscars, Kesha’s legal wrangle with Sony & Dr. Luke and DJ EZ’s marathon 24 hour DJ set, in association with Boiler Room, raising money for Cancer Research. All of which have once again highlighted the uneasy juxtaposition of conflicting behaviour and ethics that indefinitely perpetuate the entertainment industry. On the one hand you’ve get DJ EZ using his influence to positive effect raising over £50,000 for Cancer Research and on the other you’ve got, allegedly, a Producer and an Awards organisation acting as though the Woman’s & Civil Right Movement’s were nothing more than a cute notion for black’s and women to gossip about in the kitchen.
The Kesha case is particularly unsettling as it has that unmistakable whiff of people with influence either not speaking up or using their privileged position to exert influence contrary to the facts before them. Other recent examples include the BBC and Jimmy Saville, FIFA, the IAAF, Lance Armstrong and the Boston Roman Catholic child abuse cases, which were the subject of this years Best Film Oscar ‘Spotlight’. Sadly in all these examples, and there are many more like them, money, power, influence and fear have been used to beat the dissenting voices into bloody submission like a defenceless Canadian Harp seal during culling season.
Thankfully there are individuals of influence who are willing to fight for basic human rights and use their priveldged position to support those who need it. As I mentioned above DJ EZ is one of them, but perhaps more significantly, its encouraging to see global megastars such as Adele, Taylor Swift, Chris Rock and Lady Gaga publicly using their positions of influence to speak out against injustice. Both Adele and Taylor Swift have publicly voiced their support of Kesha, with Adele dedicating one of her Brits to the embattled performer, whilst Swift recently donated $250,000 towards her escalating legal costs. Chris didnt cower under a Rock either as he used his role of hosting the Oscars to tackle the issue of racial inequality within the ceremony with an incendiary and humorous 15 minute opening monologue. Whilst also at the Oscars Lady Gaga gave an emotional performance of her song ‘Till It Happens To You’. A song she recorded for ‘The Hunting Ground’, a documentary which tackles the subject of sexual assault on US college campuses. However despite these empassioned shows of solidarity, the cynics amongst you will argue that its easy for those in privileged positions to pay lip service to such issues, as their own fame and fortune affords them a natural shield of anonymity, which in some instances maybe true. However when you consider that three of them (Adele, Swift, Rock) are technically biting the hand that feeds them, (Adele and Swift are effectively signed to the same label as Kesha ‘Sony’ and Chris Rock was taking a swipe at his predominately white employers ‘Hollywood’) it makes such cynicism ill founded and in our opinion poor taste.
These are real issues that are constantly being fought by everyday people, but sometimes it takes the bravery of individuals of considerable position and influence to ignore the risks to their own careers and use their spotlight to help drive long lasting substantive action.
Lady Gaga – Till It Happens To You (Taken from Documentary ‘The Hunting Ground‘)
Chris Rock – Opening Monologue (Oscars 2016)
Other Feature Posts…
Music to Soundtrack a 155 mile Run across the Sahara
YouTube taking on Spotify & Apple Music
How The Producer created Motown, Hip-Hop, Rock & Pop
Jamie XX – Dance music is important to me, it makes me happy
Format Wars – The Future of Music
16.4 Billion Streams on Spotify – Adele 25