Among the protests that erupted after the killing of George Floyd by police, this is one of the most striking images of June 2020: dressed in black and wearing a white mask, with a belt on his legs, spreading yellow flower petals. A phalanx of armored plexiglass police officers is an echo of the iconic Flower Power photograph taken 50 years ago.
With Black Techno Matters, Bernard Farley Uses Music To Fuel Revolution
Bernard Farley recalls the film's theme: "I'm not afraid of you, what are you going to do?" I think I said it. “When I saw this picture, I changed, because it seemed to me that I saw something in myself that I had never noticed before.”
In the following days, Farley led a Washington parade in which black musicians performed techno music. One track in particular, "Supreme" by Bonaventure, is reminiscent of bursts of vocals, metal synths, and a Sister Soulja-esque sample of "Inception"—buildings echoing as walkers chant "Black Lives Matter" and "Whose street. What it is? "They sing. our way."
“There was a time when I realized that [techno] is more than parties, you know? “We want to change the way society works, especially how blacks are seen and respected,” he said.
In the summer of 2020, these troubled times led to the flight of the mission. Farley, a multi-talented artist who produces and releases music under the label B_X_R_N_X_R_D, was thinking about the pandemic even before the protests. A Google search for Black Techno Matters, the organization he founded, yields little information about the artists who created the sound in the 1980s.
Black Techno Matters aims to bring back techno as a representation of the Black expression in the URL and IRL spaces. For most of its early outbreaks, the company had to forgo private parties to highlight black techno artists from around the world using its Instagram page and Spotify playlists. With the return of live events, the band has added techno to the events at Meridian Hill Park and is planning a big party for June 19, 2022.
In addition to Washington, Black Techno Matters - now eight members - have held events in San Francisco and Los Angeles, with several more cities planned for 2023. The Martin Luther King Jr. Twins Day activities are designed to continue King's work in the District of Columbia and San Francisco. New Paths: A journey into a different future through colonized communities and dance floors.
“I use this idea of black fire and this is what I see,” says Farley of promoting the Black Techno Matters movement. "I want to feel out of control."
Performances on January 15 at 10:00 in specially designated secret places when buying tickets. www.eventbrite.com . $30
A previous version of this story incorrectly listed the location of one of two Martin Luther King Day events. The story has been edited.