It's a Questions of Power, Isn't It?

the rhythm of labor

Inspired by sonsbeek’s investigation of ‘the ways history of labour and the working class reflects and is framed by issues such as race, gender, class structure, geographical distance, and politics,’ DJ Lynnée Denise created 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑅ℎ𝑦𝑡ℎ𝑚 𝑜𝑓 𝐿𝑎𝑏𝑜𝑟. This playlist is drawn from a preexisting multi-media essay that employs recordings of interviews and performances to portray the experiences of Black artists in the music industry at large, which she identifies as an economic institution that emerges from chattel slavery and colonial capitalism. ⁠

The artist, scholar, and writer asks listeners to consider how the pervasive narratives of fame, addiction, and financial exploitation minimise the ability of Black artists to benefit from their labour and intellectual property, and she explores the notion of work that surfaces in the lyrics, song titles, and rhythmic structures of Black Atlantic music.⁠

Denise coined the term ‘DJ Scholarship’ in 2013 to explain DJ culture as a mixed-mode research practice; subversive in its ability to shape and define social experiences. She aims to shift the public perception of the DJ as a purveyor of party music to an image of the DJ as an archivist who assesses, organises and provides access to music with critical value.⁠

This curated playlist is part of 𝐼𝑡’𝑠 𝐴 𝑄𝑢𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑂𝑓 𝑃𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟, 𝐼𝑠𝑛’𝑡 𝐼𝑡?: a mixtape that looks into the various ways gendered and racialized capitalism shapes contemporary labour conditions. With thoughtful consideration created by Em’kal Eyongakpa and curator Amal Alhaag.

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