Only 17 percent of dance music bookings in the world go to females. Whatever part of that percentage belongs to trans or non-binary gender folk is more than likely slim to none.
Smirnoff, The Black Madonna, and many other cool people think this is a load of bull feces. Smirnoff wants to help double the amount of women on festival lineups, and its Smirnoff Sound Collective – dedicated to diversifying the dance floor – hooked up with The Black Madonna and a Ugandan DJ and producer named DJ Rachael to build a bridge between two seemingly disparate scenes that really aren’t all that different.
“Feminism and gender equality has to be global or it’s not feminism,” The Black Madonna says in an exclusive interview with Billboard Dance founder Matt Medved at Mixmag Lab NYC, following an International Women’s Day screening of the documentary Smirnoff made about her journey.
“I jumped at the chance to do this, because I think more than having anything to contribute to Rachael’s world, I think she had a lot to tell me,” she continues. “I was very touched by not only Rachael, but her extended family and all of the women that were involved in her collective. The way they taught each other, it didn’t feel like a lesson as much as it felt like a group of people coming together to solve a problem.”
In the interview, The Black Madonna opened up about her own insecurities and struggles growing up as a woman in the dance music scene who attempted to transition into the industry, as well as recounted the beautiful night she and Rachael spent burning the house down in Chicago. She also opened up about the limitations of documentaries, such as this one.
“I love to talk about the ideas in feminism, I really do, and I will talk about these things with you all day long,” she says, “but none of it matters unless women are getting paid.”
Watch the full interview with The Black Madonna below.