Intro: I found this article released by The Guardian in 2012. You should read it. It gives a good quick and dirty background of EDM’s rise and all craze. By reading the article, I have come across some very interesting insights. Those of which I can learn from and in turn, formulate my own opinions about the EDM world.
As previously mentioned in one of my other post, I had several preexisting ideas about what a Rave was. Well, according to the article they no longer call them raves to avoid stigmas associated with the word RAVE, such as the ones I held. To run away from those negative connotations promoters now call most events festivals or when held inside a venue they are referred to as performances, shows or parties. But officially on paper, NEVER a RAVE…
I only had negative views about EDM culture. The stigmas I had attached to EDM was mostly based on the news, my parents and my black friends. See, growing up black, life was and still is a series a comparisons. I will delve deeper into that concept later. To understand how I could concoct negative perceptions of a culture that I was never involved with, I first must go back to my beginnings. Let’s start with early life lessons that I feel have lead too these biases. I’m going to preference, don’t be offended because this was my real life so fuck you if you don’t like it. Plus I already wrote the laws of FeFeland and I’m pretty sure not being sensitive was in the rules.
My Black Life Lessons
Black Life Lesson #1: Be better than the light brights of the world.
I was always taught to be my existence was a beautiful thing. “Baby girl,” my biological father would say, “Black is beautiful.” That was the only thing my sperm donor thing right, well that and buy me a Tiffany’s necklace as an apology gift. I love that necklace. It came 23 years too late, but I love it non the less. Now imagine having a parent who feels he must instill the lesson that your black skin is beautiful, in an era where it was believed that it was not. It plays tricks on the psych and at baseline makes you feel you are less than the fairer skin folks. This not only includes white people but light skinned blacks
Black Life Lesson #2: Perform better than your average white counterparts.
You have to perform 10 times greater to even be considered qualified. be just as equal as an average ass white person. This is why I work so much harder than some of my peers and still feel like I haven’t done enough. I found it to be true especially as a woman. When I first started working in Baltimore, I went from a prodominately black hospital to a practically all white employed hospital. During my orientation some of those bitches tried question my gangsta, I checked their ass and my knowledge has never been questioned again
Black Life Lesson #3: Fuck being better than light skinned blacks, and whites in general, Be better that white men with power
Fuck the man, never trust a white person with power. My step daddy even as a light skin black guy faced a lot of bullshit from white men. As hot as the topic of police abuse is, I can contest to a moment when the police pulled my dad out of the front seat and hand cuffed him on the side of the road while his 3 kids sat in the back seat crying, because he “fit the profile” of a robbery suspect. Bitch, what was the mf profile… being black and a man?? We sat there for hours while they “sorted things out.” So to me and to other black people, it’s self explanatory, but not so apparent to many white people… Trust, I’ve had open conversations with people of all races and opinions vary. I really don’t feel like going too deep, but sometimes you gotta put shit out there how it is. And in case you’re still confused, black men are not treated fairly.
Ultimately you’re probably asking yourself what the fuck does this have to do with EDM. I’m almost there, stop being impatient. To my last black life lesson, well actually their were plenty more but Imma stop at 4, the most relevant of them all.
Black Life Lesson #4: If you can’t be better then you at least need to behave better than those white kids
Those white kids are fucking crazy. I grew up in Howard County, the melting pot. That’s what they called my little Hippiesh town. I saw so many weird interracial couple combinations in HoCo compared to any other city in Maryland. I say weird to be facetious, but Columbia has always been more inclusive than most places. People who lived in Columbia traditionally came off as, for lack of a better word, Hippies. So having a Momma from Baltimore city, she would always look over at the “other” race children in the grocery store who would be screaming, running around, and cussing at their mother “I hate you mommy.” No literally, I remember an instance where a this white teenage girl yelled those exact words to her mother. That wasn’t the worse part, her Mother did nothing but fuss back at the girl in frustration. Shit, my mom eyeballed the shit out of me and my sisters at that moment, as if to say “Bitch I wish you would say some dumb shit like that to me.” I then proceeded to look back at her like “dang momma I ain’t even say anything,” and she continued to look at me like “I know girl, and you will never in life even imagine saying some dumb shit like that.”
So why am I giving y’all my black life lessons within an EDM story. Because, those lessons shaped the way I eventually thought of the Rave.. oops I mean the EDM scene. Ultimately I viewed it as “some white people shit.” You know, white shit like bungee jumping, scuba diving, mountain climbing, wake boarding, sky diving, and tea bagging. I had to throw that last one in. Although on the surface not life threatening, it can be if done to a black guy. Have you ever seen a ninja place they balls on another ninja’s forehead and live to tell about it?? #JustSaying.
My Preconceptions. Do to my upbringing, I believed every stereotypes that was listed in that Guardian article about a rave:
- Massive gatherings of dancing white youths
- Dressed in freakishly weird clothes
- Neon colors and dumb ass glow sticks (I added the dumb ass 🤣 y’all should know the article didn’t say that)
- DJs treated like rock stars and all they play is that Techno off beat music
- Drugged-up kids slumped on dancefloors
- Teenagers dropping dead from excessive drugs use
My Black life lessons made sure I knew not to be like those crazy white kids doing drug listening to crazy ass head banging music. In addition to that, television would show raves as wild and crazy and out of control with white boys speaking slow, and dumb as if they had a mf stroke. Television made it seem as if the drugs had fried their brains so badly they couldn’t formulate sentences. The white girls were made to look all slutty, silly and indecisive and at risk to be murdered or raped. You would think I would be able to discern the difference between television portrayal and real life since TV loves to paint blacks as gangsta drug, dealing, chain wearing thugs, right? Nope I was a brainwashed individual and now I’m woke. Woke enough to own my blackness and still venture out and discover.
If you remember in a previous blog, I mentioned the Life in Color Festival. The music fest for which I worked the medical tent. I had all these misconceptions in mind, and honestly some of those kids kinda lived up to the stereotype, but you still can’t clump the extreme end of the spectrum into the whole. When I say extreme end of the spectrum, I mean these kids were high af. We had 5 ambos (ambulances for you non medical folk) on deck at all times stationed behind the tent ready with the engine running, and we were shipping them out quickly. We had about 30 cots and they all were full of people who were dehydrated, vomiting, or unable to stand. Some would return to the party and some were sent to the hospital, but the cots were full almost the entire time.
Them damn ravers were killing me softly all day long. I’m pretty sure most of the irritation was probably attributed to the fact that the rave kids were having fun and I was in work mode. For example, I had a girl lose her shoes, come into the tent and express that her chief complaint was “I lost my shoes.” I jokenly gave her a pair of extra large nitrile gloves, as the tent was not supplied with hospital socks, because who needs hospital socks at at music festival? Well, this bish gleefuly accepted the blue nitrile gloves that I handed her, she slid them MFs on her feet and skipped out of the tent. I fucking lie to you not, she fucking skipped outta the got damn tent. I had made that bish day 😂. I was dying laughing at the scenario, but honestly she actually had made my day, because she was genuinely happy. How can you knock something that makes people genuinely happy?!
Now the music though. I went in with one expectation and was shocked to leave with a different opinion. There was this one tech working the tent that day, we’ll call him Quinton. Quinton solely signed up to work the tent so he could attend the event for free and in turn see a specific DJ. I give credit to Quinton, because he softened me a little to the culture. I didn’t leave in love with the music, but I left with a respect of the music. Since we were stationed at the main stage and the event was ending, me and Quinton decided to sneak out of the tent and join the crowd. He made me close my eyes and feel the music and at that point I could admit that it wasn’t that bad. I could at say it wasn’t techno. We danced for the last 15 minutes of this all day event and it was actually pretty fun. The party was still lit all the way to the last electronic tone and I got to steal those last 15 minutes.
As a health care provider, I am supposed to heal the world. So a rave and the drugs associated with them are supposed to make me advocate against them. I can’t do that. I am a free thinker, a Millennial, and I am very very liberal. I believe in education and awareness (hence my blog) and grown ass people making educated decisions that will impact their life and their body. With the emphasis on THEIR life. So with that said, I will inform you of the risk, the benefits, the options and if people decide to do drugs, what the fuck does that have to do with me dancing and enjoying the music. That has been my answer for the past 2 months when a dumb ass, well let me not call them dumb… when an ignorant ass person, ask me about people taking drugs at these events… “Oh you’re going to a rave, isn’t that the place where they be doing all those drugs?” I just side eye them and say, I don’t know what other people choose to do but I go to dance and be free. In my mind I’m thinking, where have you not gone where people do drugs. Shit, people will smoke Js and go to the movies ALL the time, but I don’t see you questioning my movie ventures.
So let’s see, I’ve addressed the music, the dancing, the drugs and now for the clothes. For my first rave I wanted to go all out. I didn’t want to go as a “regular” person, I wanted to go full fledge raver, or what I thought it meant to be a raver. I went to Amazon and got some fish net stockings, a bathing suit and then I found this cute cat mask.
At first I was looking for something “extravagant,” and was gonna wear a spirit hood* (as defined by Urban Dictionary) A retarded hat that hipsters and scene kids wear to try to get attention. 👈🏾 Now that’s funny, because that’s exactly the fucking look I was going for. But then something happened… the Geppetto in me faded away, and I gradually got into the idea of becoming a real life Rave girl. That’s when I came across my cat mask.
*Side Note: Excerpt from a 2012 LA Weekly article on Spirit Hoods; Not only do SpiritHoods define who you are as a person, apparently, but they define who you are as an animal. “It is an extension of yourself,” Sarah from Orange County told us. “It’s fun to have one that you think represents you.
I strongly believe that black is beautiful. Thanks sperm donor. 💁🏾 and I knew that if I was gonna do this White people shit, that I was gonna do it my own black way. So I chose my spirit animal wisely, the black cat. A historic symbol of black power, such as the Black Panthers.
Dear White People, (shout out to that powerful movie turned show on Netflix) don’t get yo’ panties in a bunch. I know some of y’all are scared of the black panthers. I know this because when Beyonce did her show y’all had a huge temper tantrum, trying to compare the Black Panthers to the KKK or a terrorist group. To all those ignorant ass people, I would say pick up a MF book and if you’re too lazy to do that watch the Malcolm X movie with Denzel Washington. The Black Panthers were not a terrorist group, however they themselves were terrorized… So I want to make it clear, I am Black, I love my Blackness, I represent my Blackness, I will protect my Blackness, and I do all those things while getting along with everyone and respecting everyone’s differences. And guess what, isn’t that what the EDM culture is supposed to be about. Being different, celebrating those differences and respecting the fuck outta other peoples’ difference.
In summary here are my renewed ideas of what a Rave consists of:
- Massive gatherings of dancing
white youthspeople, EVERYONE and ANYONE who wants to have fun
- Dressed in
freakishly weirdfucking awesome clothing or costumes that reflect your message or style
- Neon colors and
dumb assglow sticks which are fun and bright
- DJs treated like rock stars and all they play is
that Techno off beat musicawesome fucking music that I love to rock out to Drugged-up kids slumped on dance floorsPeople probably on drugs, but to each their own. Let people live their life, should they do it responsibly YES, but who am I to judge. As long as you’re not bothering me, do you boo HospitalizationsJust like any other party, don’t end up in the hospital Teenagers dropping dead from excessive drugs useRefer to the last 2 bullet points and don’t end up dead. Do as the pain PSAs say about alcohol and do it responsibly duh!
See, the EDM scene is great fun. No need to be weary. My pre-existing notions were broken down, reformulated and rewritten. Then, I could be reborn as FeFeline the black cat.
Y’all do remember that I said I was going to come back to something… Y’all forgot didn’t you. Usually, my ass forgets everything, but I remembered… At the beginning of this post, I said, “See, growing up black, life is always a comparison. I will delve in deeper into that concept.” Well lets delve deeper. You need to understand this feeling, in order to understand why it was a process for me to be reborn.
Growing up black you had to be the best. My Black life lessons only gives you a little window into this comparison concept. Yes, I understand that all adolscents fall victim to peer pressures and wanting to fit in. It becomes a little more complex when you must include the added pressures of comparing yourself to not just kids in general but specifically white kids. What I am saying is, you have to be black enough to hang with the black kids, but not too black to be accepted by the white kids.
You had to be the best dressed, have the best boyfriend, hang with the best clique, the best everything or at least just not the worse. If you weren’t great at being black enough people would slide* the shit out of you real quick. You also didn’t want to come off too black because then you couldn’t succeed in life. With that in the back of your mind you stayed on your toes. You never wanted to hear, “you talk like a white girl” or “you speak like a thug,” “you dance like a white girl” or “you dance too slutty with all that booty shaking,” “you listen to white girl music” or “you listen to all that gangsta rap.” I had to stay in line with black culture, while not offending the white people. Therefore, I was definitely too cool of a black chick to be seen at EDM show. The most extreme for me was was Hip Hop with bff Mary, so there was no room EDM and its friend Molly. That shit could kick rocks, literally and figuratively especially since that’s what the “bad white kids” were doing.
*Definition Alert: To slide someone is to clown them, make fun of them, crack jokes, pull their cards, put them out there, come for them, shine a negative light on them…
So in my mind, to listen to EDM would be to get my black card revoked real quick. If it wasn’t Hip Hop or R&B or some variation of it couldn’t do it. The comparison of “our” music to “their music” was strong especially when I was growing up. Nowadays the market has pretty much become so blended you can’t even tell that you’re listening to “their music.”
But really, if you think about Hip Hop’s start, didn’t they have the same struggles as EDM. Conservatives felt the music incited drug use and violence… hmmm sounds the same to me. So why are so many black people so resistant? This is the one reason I could come up with, the comparison thing. Black people could at least say “well at least its those crazy white kids looking bad and not us this time…” The engrained need to measure up or at least not be worse the “social norm” runs deep within our community.
This was a heavy one… I don’t have the answers nor have I done the proper research to say my opinion is valid. Its definitely just my fucking opinion. This is why I am writing this blog, to explore this EDM universe, give exposure to it for people just like me. Let us converse, tell me what you think, give some insight please.