For my Lang Opportunity Award, I was able to receive funding to continue work on a writing/music media project I began in Fall 2019. I am a lover of electronic music, I have been since I was young — in the past three years I’ve started professionally djing and producing music with some free software that I could access. As I grew more into making music, I spent time also studying the history of electronic music, and I learned that its origins lied in Black queer communities in the Northeast, specifically in Detroit, Chicago, New Jersey, and New York.
After gaining this knowledge, I decided to devote time to learning, archiving, and creating the stories of house musicians and house culture in these areas. A part of that, besides writing, was to be able to make my own music that fit into the house ethic: one of liberation, of transformation, and re-contextualization. House was a method for Black queer people to feel free of the oppressive structures of the societies they resided in, through raving and dancing together, and through visualizing their freedom through music. I studied the anatomy of house music intensely, listening to hours upon hours of music and noting elements used: a 4/4 beat, kicks and snares, synths, and samples. With my funding, I invested in full musical software, and some instruments to use that had also been used back then — a bass-line synthesizer, drum machine, and a microphone for taking vocal samples.
The thing about house and techno is, it is extremely connected to emotion. I had to realize that in order to make my own work. The innovation of house came from the emotions of a people who felt a need for love, a need for freedom, and a need for a new future. I decided to hone in on a lot of what I’ve been feeling since the pandemic started: anger, sadness, loneliness. I held anger at America for its continued abuse and oppression of Black people through state sanctioned violence. I held anger at people who felt more concerned about their “personal rights” than keeping our general community safe from a deadly disease. I felt anger about the upcoming election, about our quote-on-quote democracy, about climate crises, about everything. Yet anger wasn’t helping me start to make music. So I dug deeper, and I realized my anger was coming from a source of immense love. I love my people, I love this earth, and I love music. And that is where I began.