We asked you what a safe and inclusive music industry looks like—this is what you said.
In June, She Shreds curated the panel “Transforming the Music Industry: A Conversation with Five Guitarists Shaping Music & Culture.” Panelists Yvette Young, Francesca Simone, Lydia Night, Yuna, Cecilia Della Peruti, and moderator and She Shreds founder, Fabi Reyna, addressed a wide range of issues, including the importance of visibility and representation in the music industry, and the future of guitar. Our hope with this panel was to bring awareness to the music industry at large about the importance of listening to all voices, and creating a more safe and inclusive space for everyone.
We don’t need to regurgitate specific examples of how women and non-binary folks have been mistreated in the music industry; however, we do love seeing artist backlash. From Ryan Adams being cancelled, to Camp Cope publicly and poignantly calling out the men who have wronged them in their song “The Opener”—ignoring the problem is no longer an option.
Following the panel, She Shreds reached out to you—our readers—to hear what a safe and inclusive music industry looks like. Below were the most common responses, and what we believe are the next steps each and every person with privilege or authority needs to implement in the music industry. In other words: if you’re not doing this work, you’re not creating an inclusive or safe space.
Listen, Accept, Trust
We can’t stress this enough—LISTEN TO WOMEN, LGBTQ, PEOPLE OF COLOR, ALL MUSICIANS WHO DON’T LOOK LIKE YOU. To listen and accept means to trust, and we need the industry at large to trust us in our craft, knowledge, experience, and stories. The current state of music is being impacted by women and non-binary folks just as much as anyone else, from new artists to guitar sales—so take us seriously, listen to what we’re saying, accept it, and trust us.
The first step in educating yourself and others is by listening to the experiences outside of your own (see above). Men need to be educating themselves and other men, as well as holding each other accountable for their actions. It absolutely can not only be women calling out bad behavior. We need men in the industry—and the men in our lives who love and support us—to talk to other men. Support is more than making a declaration to women; it’s backing up those words, taking the time to speak with other men about their behaviors, teaching each other, learning from each other, and doing the hard work that women have been doing for years. We’ve been saying this since, well, forever, but it’s always worth repeating.
And of course, more women educating women! More women posting YouTube tutorials! More skill-shares!
The support needed to create a safe and inclusive music industry can be broken down into many parts, but the most noted in your responses were the following:
- Women-to-women support
- Cishet women-to-LGBTQ support
- White women-to-BIPOC, QTPOC, POC support
- Label-to-artist support
- Men supporting all women and non-binary musicians and industry workers in our music, craft, and the injustices we speak of.
Support can be many different things, from labels supporting artist’s mental health to major media outlets featuring a more diverse range of voices, to just plain taking some action.
Jobs and Opportunities
In order to truly support us, more women—and first and foremost, women of color—need to be given opportunities on top in higher positions. We need to be visible in all aspects of the industry, from management to PR, to sound engineers and festival lineups. And we need to be the ones speaking on behalf of the industry in major media outlets. A first step for those looking to support and take action is to give these opportunities to those who deserve more space.
LISTEN AND ACCEPT to gain an understanding→Spread what you’ve learned to others and EDUCATE→Begin to SUPPORT→Take action and give JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES to those who deserve more space.
See what’s happening here? All four of these responses fall into each other eventually, like a beautiful domino effect of a safer and inclusive industry.
It takes way more than just proclaiming that you support women, non-binary, LGBTQ, and BIPOC—action needs to be taken, and we believe, along with our readers, that these are some of the first steps to actualizing a music industry where all voices are heard, all experiences are listened to, all knowledge is acknowledged, and all opportunities are offered and available to everyone.