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How do we make our music choices for PCD when we are considering a song that might take us out of the 'norm'?
We might pause or wonder about whether to play a song if:
the lyrics are offensive or potentially offensive (even if some but not all lyrics are offensive, e.g. sexist, racist, oppressive, misogynistic, hetero-or-other-type-of-normative, monoculture, swearing, strong language)
the lyrics have potential trigger content (rape, drug/alcohol abuse, religious)
the artist or musical group is known to be oppressive, abusive, controversial, etc.
the context for playing the song (at PCD, Sunday dance, and with our community makeup in mind) doesn’t match the origin or intention of the song (e.g., slave songs, Native American prayer, etc.).
THIS DOESN'T NECESSARILY MEAN WE DON'T PLAY THE SONG. These are just situations where it's good to become as conscious as we can about our choices. Some DJs use this rule of thumb: if I have to ask myself whether I can play this or not, I don’t play it. Other DJs appreciate being in the ambivalence of whether to play a song. They might make a conscious choice to play it, and are aware that dancers might have strong reactions.
We appreciate culture. We appreciate that art can be evocative. We acknowledge and know that our song choices can evoke strong responses. While we hope not to trigger, we also know we can’t prevent triggers and we can’t be responsible for other people’s triggers. We do our best to be conscious about our music choices. We might choose to play something that could offend. That’s okay.
As a group we do not make rules about what not to play (we dislike censorship!). We trust our DJs to be thoughtful. Sometimes we might fuck up.
If a PCD dancer has feedback and is offended, it is our individual intent not to be defensive and instead hear out someone’s upset. We are willing to listen. We know and accept that it is possible we will receive feedback anonymously. Although we can't respond directly to that person, we can still listen/read, be curious, and in some cases, learn, change, and evolve as DJs.
And finally, we do our best to ensure that our songs are gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free. ; )
We have collectively played well over 350 sets. That's more than 10,000 songs. That's impressive! We are bound to offend, fuck up, excite, delight, incite...GOOD job to all.