Being a musician can be tough. It can be brutal.
Apart from trying to create—and then build an audience for what you're creating—there's the side of the music scene that can be ugly: Intense competition. Not getting support or inspiration.
The music business has long been dominated by men—especially on the business and production sides. Which means, all too often, that women have even bigger mountains to climb.
That's why the Seraphine Collective is becoming more and more important to female-identified artists in the Detroit area. It's a Michigan non-profit group of women working to promote inclusion in Detroit's music and art scene.
Two members of the collective, Dina Bankole and Rachel Thompson, joined Stateside to discuss their work.
“Our mission is to foster camaraderie and a space for under-represented people in the music scene,” said Bankole. While the collective in large part focuses on women, it’s also working to include LGBTQ persons and people of color—people whom, as Bankole explained, “are normally—or way too often—left out of the conversation.”
The collective is taking a number of approaches to make Detroit’s music scene more inclusive: from booking women musicians at local venues, to producing a quarterly zine and mixtape that features local artists, to enforcing safe space policies at some of their shows with designated “safety teams.”
According to Thompson, Detroit seems particularly poised for this kind of inclusion: “Something that I think is extremely unique about Detroit is how tied activism is to music,” she said.
And as Bankole pointed out, “Music and art really help bring people together.”
Listen above to hear the full interview and visit the Seraphine Collective’s website to find out more.
Support for arts and culture coverage comes in part from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.