Dani Deahl is grinding harder than most people in the industry, and is doing incredibly well in every corner of the market she touches. Her ability to compete as a blogger, DJ, curator, producer, and whatever else she feels like doing is nothing short of impressive, but one of her noticeable passions is in advocating for equal opportunity for women in dance music. She’s written about the subject on various platforms (including this very site), and has been heading informative panels in an effort to raise awareness.
I sat down on the Red Bull-sponsored panel on “Women In EDM” at Detroit’s Movement Festival last month, an early morning event hosted by Deahl. It featured DJ Minx, Nightwave, ShadowBox, and Gabi as guest speakers, four artists that are at different places in their careers that are all making splashes by producing and DJing music that stands up next to their male competitors. The discussion touched upon confidence, solidarity, the importance of mentorship, and gave me a strong handle on the bigger picture, and the steps needed in order to remedy the current terrain.
The real problem isn’t the fact that women exist in music that are getting slept on. It’s that there aren’t enough women in power positions that can help shift things in a fair direction. We’re seeing amazing moves like Puja Patel being picked up as Senior Editor at Spin, and Warner Records grabbing Lindsay Herr from Earmilk, as well as Taryn Haight and Lauren Lipsay from Ultra Records being hired for a new EDM division at Warner Brothers. This momentum simply needs to continue, as one needs capacity and top-tier influence to make calculable changes themselves.
This mindset needs to be in place and be acted upon shift to every moving piece in dance music. While there are tons of women crushing with PR and as bloggers, there are very few promoters, label heads, financiers, booking agents, and promoters that are making headlines. It’s a boy’s club, and it’s going to take a world of elbowing and grinding in order to slide into place to compete. The task certainly isn’t impossible, but it’s paramount in shifting the current landscape of dance music.
We posted a list last year covering some of the most powerful people in EDM, and all of them were men. Though it was met with cold shoulders and hate, we don’t regret that list, nor would we change it. The dot that people failed to connect is that half of our staff at DO Androids Dance are some shade of brown, and there were no minorities on this list, either. The topic of women in EDM highlights the same troubles and solutions mirror to minorities in dance music. There won’t be any quantifiable change until the people in power push for diversity in the representatives in our culture.
Deahl’s panels and words on the matter of equality in dance music are paramount in raising awareness, but the real key to change is pointed action. The entertainment industry needs more diversity. Deahl is a tastemaker with every credential needed on her resume to take a power position that will help change the world for the better, and would be a great fit just about anywhere in the industry. It’s time for her to elbow her way into an office and enforce the changes that will help level the playing field for everyone.