When producer Phoebe Wang went on stage to collect the Best New Artist award at the Third Coast Festival over the weekend, she did two things that brought the house down. The first thing she did is give a speech rebutting claims by audio institutions that it is difficult to find producers of color to hire.
“I think that is total bullshit,” Wang said. “Because what I hear when people say we tried our best — what I really hear is: ‘We chose to spend our time and our money on something that we decided was more important than hiring a person of color.’ And what I also hear is: ‘We’re okay with alienating a massive group of listeners who don’t have any space or emotional energy to hear from another straight white dude talking at them, and we’re okay with having massive blind spots when we share stories about people of color.'”
The second thing she did is raise a specific call to action. “We are here, and we have credentials that the most trained white audio producer will never have,” Wang declared. “If you email us at POCradiohires (at) gmail (dot) com, a couple of us are managing that email address and we will you send your contact information for people. And if you are a person of color and want to get on the list, also email me.”
She closed with the following: “So if you’re committed to actually making the industry better, and you are actually hearing what I am saying, then I expect to see an email from you very soon.”
It should be noted that Wang also read out the names of 46 producers of color, and you can read the full list in her complete remarks, which was posted on Medium.
Wang sent over a formal statement, which I’ll run in full here:
If you are truly committed to making meaningful work – then you will hear our message below, and act.
We are creating a directory for people of color in the audio industry. If you want to connect with potential employers or other POC in audio, fill out this form. If you would like to access this directory for hiring purposes or otherwise, email POCradiohires@gmail.com.
We hope this directory will serve two purposes:
1) To connect POC across the industry, and to create more spaces in the audio industry for us.
2) To connect potential employers with more POC candidates. The notion that employers “can’t find” POCs to hire is a lie. We are here. We exist. And we are necessary to this industry.
To white people: Do better. The lack of racial diversity in the audio industry is not our responsibility to fix. And remember, your responsibility doesn’t end when you hire people of color.
To our POC family: We see you and we stand with you. Let’s continue to support each other.
– Adizah Eghan, Zakiya Gibbons, Aliya Pabani, Phoebe Wang, Afi Yellow-Duke
So, send them an email.