Featured photo: Rukes.
Electronic dance music was born from the ideals of diversity, community, and inclusion, and yet in 2019 only five of the world’s top 100 DJs were women. In fact, DJ Mag‘s annual rankings reflect the top 20 slots being filled by all white men, with the exception of Steve Aoki. While many know this hetero-white-washing does not reflect the true community of EDM, there are still too many in today’s commercialized scene who don’t even realize that dance music started in the black and gay club scenes during the 80s and 90s. We even wrote on two-part piece on the matter recently.
House, Techno, and the 80s: How black culture birthed the ‘EDM’ era [Part One] & [Part Two]
A new independent film documentary, titled Underplayed, seeks to explore this issue of gender, sexual, and ethnic inequality further—especially as it relates to the larger music industry culture on the whole. Filmed over the 2019 summer festival season, Kiwi-born director Stacey Lee examines gender disparity through the lens of the female pioneers, next-generation artists, and industry tastemakers; all of whom are championing change and inspiring mass-scale diversity in the heavily male-dominated world of DJing.
REZZ, Nervo, Alison Wonderland, TOKiMONSTA, Anna Lunoe, Louisahhh, and others are all featured in the eye-opening feature-length documentary. Lee follows the artists as they attempt to navigate (and change) an industry riddled with toxic masculinity, female exploitation, and inflated egos that run rampant. “Super excited to be part of Underplayed an amazing doc sharing my story of being a woman in music,” said REZZ recently on being one of the leading characters in the storyline.
Most importantly, this revealing music documentary questions an industry culture of exclusion that persists even in 2020. “The women who are operating in this artistic space and producing chart-topping tracks fail to receive the recognition that the men in their field are showered with,” the film’s description poignantly exclaims.
Underplayed is set to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday, September 19, with REZZ playing a set immediately following its debut. Watch the full trailer below.