On May 27th ARTS.BLACK, Detroit Narrative Agency (DNA), and filmmmaker/director Jenn Nkiru hosted this Black to Techno post screening conversation at Norwest Gallery in Detroit. It featured Stacey Hotwaxx Hale, Imani Mixon, Tracy Washington, Lynnée Denise, and Jenn Nkiru on a panel moderated by Taylor Renee Aldridge of ARTS.BLACK. The conversation reflected on the ethics and aesthetics of the film, with a focus on the role of Black women, queer, and trans people in the lineage of Detroit Techno and global electronic music.
filmed by Kashira Dowridge
production assistant Courtney Moore
edited by Katy Dresner
Taylor Renee Aldridge is a Detroit based writer and independent curator. She is the co-founder and editor of ARTS.BLACK
Jenn Nkiru is a British-Nigerian filmmaker, born and based in Peckham, London. Video director Nkiru is an award winning artist + director from London. Director of Neneh Cherry’s art music video Kong, she was also 2nd unit director for Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s internet-breaking APESHIT. Previous work also includes visuals for Jazz musician Kamasi Washington on his latest album Heaven And Earth and Nowness film REBIRTH IS NECESSARY. An MFA film graduate of Howard University, her first film EN VOGUE shot by Bradford Young & Arthur Jafa screened internationally to critical success. Prior to making Black to Techno, Nkiru made Rebirth Is Necessary, commissioned by Nowness, is ‘a personal powerful exploration of blackness’ and is a winner of the 2018 Canal+ Award. JennNkiru.com
Imani Mixon is a Detroit-based and embraced writer who reports on neighborhood change and creative independence. She is an arts and culture contributor to Detroit MetroTimes, MorningSide 48224 podcast producer and trainer for Michigan Radio, recurring project editor for Model D Media, and forthcoming investigative reporting fellow for WDET’s Outlier Media partnership. She received a Bachelor’s of Science in Magazine Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications.
Lynnée Denise is an artist and writer who was developed as a DJ by her parent’s record collection. Her work is inspired by underground cultural movements, the 1980s, migration studies, theories of escape, and electronic music of the African Diaspora. In 2013, she coined the phrase DJ Scholarship to explain DJ culture as a mix-mode research practice, both performative and subversive in its ability to shape social experiences. Lynnée will join the UCLA Department of African American Studies as a lecturer in the fall, and in 2020, serve as a Visiting Artist at Stanford University’s Institute of Diversity in the Arts. Her current book project, Why Big Mama Thornton Matters will be published in 2020 by The University of Texas Press.
Tracy Washington leads the legendary mahoganimusic.com
Stacey Hotwaxx Hale, is the first female DJ who played house music on the radio in Detroit in the late 80s, one of the first women to mix vinyl, and continues as a DJ to play a major role in curating the soundtrack of our lives for several decades. Thriving in the city that started techno, she somehow maintains a perfect flow by tastefully blending house and techno with funk, hip hop and Motown soul, which is why she continues to have a diverse, multi aged devoted following. She plays dance floor bangers and orchestral melodies with live music fusions. Hotwaxx Hale has made a massive impact in the American music culture, whether it’s playing in famous theaters like the Apollo, or legendary underground dance music clubs like ‘Studio 54,’ and ‘The Warehouse.’ She also has an international presence, which includes past performances in London, Ibiza, Berlin, Amsterdam, Toronto, and across the USA. Hotwaxx’s passion for music spills over into education for the youth and adults as well. She teaches and designs DJ & production classes within SPIN INC. at the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME), a yearly event Girls Rock Detroit (GRD) camp, Give A Beat, Seraphine Collective & Detroit Students of the Arts (DSA).
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