Poking The Bear.

NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Facebook page on March 26, 2021.

Poking the bear requires either a certain level of insanity or fearlessness. Apparently, I’ve got a bit of both running through my veins.

And it all started with this record:

Growing up in the DC area in the 1980s, Go-Go music was an integral part of the soundtrack to my wonder years. So when I heard Slim’s “It’s In The Mix” (essentially a Trouble Funk record) in the closing scene in episode 6/ season 4 of Snowfall , I had to know who the music supervisor was. In my mind, it HAD to have been a Black person from DC. Long story short, it wasn’t.

While most of you are only familiar with me kicking up dust on the internets with my recent viral post (my original Facebook posts are here and here ), I’ve actually been working behind the scenes of the entertainment industry for quite a while. Allow me to reintroduce myself . I’m an artist, activist and published music journalist. I’ve written liner notes for dozens of classic funk, soul and R&B CD reissues, covered the Grammys and penned articles that forecast the future stars of Black music (Teyana Taylor, Kaytranada, Sza).

I didn’t initiate this conversation to solicit all the gaslighting, caping for whiteness I’ve experienced and the affirmations I’ve received to date. Nor did I set forth with the intention of being showered with job offers or firm invitations to expand the conversation into a more solution based space (neither of which have happened thus far). I also wasn’t interested in commiserating. What I was interested in, however, was drawing attention to the ways in which the exploitation of cultural capital and labor are often bound up in race and access.

The fact is that there needed to be an honest and open conversation about parity, inclusion and equity in the music supervision community that intersected with race and access. And not just a conversation that expires at light speed once the viral nature of this post loses steam. There is a dire need for systemic change that will require folks on both sides of the barriers to entry to be bold and brave enough to usher it. Apart from the profusion of self congratulating panel discussions, the conversations I’ve heard have largely gone nowhere unfortunately.

And I’m well aware that in addition to poking the bear, I’ve run into a minefield trying to dodge its sharp claws and gnashing teeth. I anticipate that an extra barrier to entry will be applied to my name and CV going forward for my efforts. That being said…I would be remiss not to reiterate the fact that I, like countless other Black folks (with varying degrees of qualification), have found themselves virtually shut out of an industry that continues to profit off our cultural capital. I’m personally clocking in at five years of attempts at gaining entry as a music supervisor and a TV writer. And though I’ve accrued a wealth of experience in the entertainment industry, including studying under and interning for a music attorney, I’d like to shore up that experience with a new skill set.

Being that credentials and qualifications and qualifications are always brought up as an excuse for those aforementioned barriers to entry, I’ve decided to enroll in the UCLA Extension program for music supervision . Following this, there should theoretically be no issue with me entering the realm of music supervision (although the research I’ve done on the folks in the graphic I created from my original Facebook post revealed that several of them entered the field with little to no experience/ credentials/ qualifications). I started a Go Fund Me to assist in covering costs associated with the program. Feel free to donate or share this post.

Black folks have been trained to do twice as much work to get half as much of the reward/ credit. All the while, we are often made to feel that we’ve contributed nothing of value to American history or that we’re diversity hires without merit. Understand and know this: Black folks fingerprints are ALL OVER this thing called America. There would be no American cultural currency to export without us. The party didn’t start ’til we got here.

We ARE the sauce.
We arrived dripping.
Don’t let nobody tell you different.

#HireBlackMusicSupervisors

@superbizzee

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@EBONYmag @WaxPoetics contributor, @StreetRidersNYC team lead, @debunkthemyth @Finding_Dante co-creator, music supervisor, jive talker extraordinaire.

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Rico aka Superbizzee

@EBONYmag @WaxPoetics contributor, @StreetRidersNYC team lead, @debunkthemyth @Finding_Dante co-creator, music supervisor, jive talker extraordinaire.