Some in the tunes business ended up unsurprised when the allegations about the DJ Tim Westwood came to light past week. There experienced long been stories recounted by Black ladies of his alleged abuse of electrical power – rumours that circulated among the pals in Black nightlife and the tunes field. An investigation by the BBC and the Guardian facts the accounts of various Black girls, some teens at the time – of alleged predatory behaviour and groping on the component of the veteran DJ. Some assert to have been groped at his shows, though others maintain that they had been enticed to a flat on the promise of professional steering, only to be abused.
In 2020, a Twitter account was developed, named Surviving Tim Westwood and a hashtag of the same title commenced to craze. Then the account disappeared, perhaps due to Westwood’s lawful crew, as he has denied all the allegations. Having said that it was also probably indicative of a deep-seated truth of the matter: that Black women’s voices are typically silenced. This is just one case in point of how misogynoir, the time period applied to describe misogyny specifically directed at Black women, may perhaps have aided and abetted Westwood in preventing accountability right up until now.
Westwood was a deified figure in just Black music – beloved by get together-goers as properly as field gatekeepers. A lot of individuals, primarily Black guys, credit history him with providing hip-hop and rap tunes that would if not have been relegated to the underground a mainstream platform. What is telling about that argument is how Westwood’s negligible affect in a culture that is considerably even larger than him is handled as more important than the allegations built by Black women of all ages. So, while the potent, predominantly white, business executives who continued to employ him as individuals allegations swirled must be held accountable, there is obviously an intraracial gender concern listed here, far too – namely that Black women’s stories ended up diminished in order to justify Westwood’s standing in Black society overall.
Colourism plays a section also. Splendor standards exalt lily-white or racially ambiguous women – so it may possibly very well have appeared extremely hard to a lot of that a highly effective man these as Westwood could desire these dark-skinned women. Possibly it was the presumed undesirability of dark-skinned women that authorized him to allegedly go after them in a covert manner, without alarm bells ringing. In the meantime, the fetishisation and hypersexualisation of Black women flourished on his shows – as it does somewhere else in a tradition in which the mere expression of our sexuality is observed as an invitation. In 2016, Cardi B was a guest on his YouTube channel, TimWestoodTV. When she questioned “do you have intercourse with a large amount of Black women?” he responded “not as a lot as I’d like to … but we could rectify that”.
Though #MeToo and #Time’sUp felt like moments of actual accountability for lecherous guys, the actions felt whitewashed. In the meantime Tarana Burke’s decades-very long operate with survivors of sexual abuse, through which she originated the phrase Me Much too, went uncredited.
It is hard to convey to regardless of whether there has been substantial change inside the audio marketplace. Despite private discussions between ourselves, women of all ages are even now hesitant to discuss out about the sexual inappropriateness they’ve confronted, not only for concern of not getting believed, but for their jobs. On the rare instances that they do report their accounts, non-disclosure agreements can further more silence them. This is what makes the recorded testimonies of these Black girls so profound the hope is that they will split by means of the wall of silence that protects alleged abusers in the tunes field.
The limitations that #MeToo uncovered probably led to a far better being familiar with of the complexity of challenges that influence Black females – and it certainly feels as if there are far more light-skinned and white folks who want to be much better allies. But it is essential that ladies of all races and shades band alongside one another simply because the hypervisibility of darkish-skinned Black women of all ages, of whom there are so handful of in community daily life, leaves them specially exposed to racism and misogyny.
Black musicians are starting to discover their voice in tackling this. Just lately the singer Ari Lennox was asked “is an individual fucking you superior right now?” by a South African radio broadcaster. She visibly recoiled and asked: “Why inquire it in that way?” In the earlier, a Black lady might have felt the will need to parry this variety of issue the way Cardi B did with Westwood, but, by reacting in the way that she did, Lennox was able to set an example that our boundaries are to be highly regarded.
Malcolm X when stated: “The most disrespected female in The usa is the Black woman.” This is nonetheless applicable now, and beyond The united states. It is promising that Westwood has stepped down from his slot at Cash Xtra till further discover, but there is still a lengthy way to go. By “protect Black women”, we suggest secure us all – not just the kinds we’re taught to think are deserving.