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Carving out Space: Women of Colour in Music

ur music scene is often presented as a white man’s playground with women and people of colour sitting in as background characters. While underground music scenes still tend to lean white, cis and male, people from all intersections have been pushing the boundaries and making room for themselves. Lexis Afifi from Ultrasound Bookings started her femme-centric music promotion venture in Amsterdam two and a half years ago. To date, all of the lineups for her bookings have included women, except for one. “Some of the most positive experiences have been feedback from people picking up on the fact that I try to showcase female talent and create a space for women in the music industry,” she said. “Meeting inspiring people, having people get enthusiastic and wanting to help, support and get involved, receiving kind messages…”

© Lexis Afifi

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Linsey McFadden

It’s not uncommon to go months without seeing female representation at an underground music show, let alone representation from women of colour, making Lexis’ presence as a woman of Egyptian descent in the predominantly white Netherlands a bit of a statement. “I guess you could call me pretty political, after all, being a woman of colour makes you a political instrument,” Lexis said.

Like many others in her shoes, Lexis often feels like she’s not being political enough and that she should be doing more. The reality is simple – the ability to not feel the need to take on extra Ultrasound is primarily a one-woman show. Lexis does all of labour in any setting is a privilege. the work on her own and often ends up doing much more free “It’s so hard not to, because I feel like if I don’t… Who will?” Lexis work than paid work. said. “I started doing a radio show with a friend of mine and If she feels like she needs help with any of her events she wanted to mention the Women’s March, and she is a white Dutch prioritises reaching out to other women. That includes the woman, and said she would rather not get political. It baffled me fliers for her gigs, which she sometimes uses as a means to as I thought ‘you can AFFORD not to be political’.” showcase female artists’ work. Misconceptions about what it does and doesn’t mean to be a “I think it’s about time people start understanding that feminism feminist and the weaponisation of the term against women and helps everyone and should be intersectional,” she said. allies can often make people hesitant to align themselves with more radical thinking bands, artists and organisers, as well, but The promotion company got its start in the DIY punk scene, Lexis does feel that things are changing a bit for the better. but has shifted to be punk, post-punk and new wave over time. However Lexis is up for booking other kinds of bands as “I am happy to see a shift in music, I think the Weinstein long as she enjoys them, of course, and has even recently case definitely allowed some women in music to speak up,” booked a doom metal band. she said. “I also feel that a lot of people are put off by feminism because they assume a lot of women are ‘too radical.’ What “Hopefully it will inspire more women to carve out that space does that even mean?” for themselves,” she said. 25

Heatwave Magazine - Issue # 6 - Spring/ Summer 2018  

Issue 6 of Heatwave Magazine Featuring Bad Sports, The Mummies, Metz, Mujeres, Radioactivity, The Number Ones, Miscalculations and many many...

Heatwave Magazine - Issue # 6 - Spring/ Summer 2018  

Issue 6 of Heatwave Magazine Featuring Bad Sports, The Mummies, Metz, Mujeres, Radioactivity, The Number Ones, Miscalculations and many many...

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