How has disability impacted the music industry? – Feed Magazine
words Alexa Wang
Several disability activism movements of the 20th and 21st centuries have preserved the history of disability involvement in music and the arts. It is interesting to see how various models of disability interact with arts and culture and how the public’s conception of disability has changed as a result of creative efforts. Here we provide a survey of the scene of disability activism in the arts, with a focus on the music sector.
Dom Smith’s ideas were used to create this article. Born in East Yorkshire, he earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from the University of Central Lancashire and now works as a digital journalist for Soundsphere M and a Chartered Adviser. Previously named one of the happiest people in the country by the Independent on Sunday, he won the National Diversity Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence in 2012. He was also a Paralympic Torchbearer for York.
Dom asserts that ever since there have been social movements, music has been an integral part of American popular culture. The oral transmission of knowledge and stories from one generation to the next is also reflected in the music. The concept of ‘belonging’ is deeply rooted in the historic roots of disability rights movements, which sought to ensure that people with disabilities were recognized and treated as full members of society. ‘Disabled people’ became ‘disabled people’ as the ‘language of the person’ spread.
The issue of ableism always arises whenever a director chooses to cast a non-disabled actor in the role of a disabled character. A disabled artist’s job is to challenge the norms of what it means to be an artist and suggest new ways to include everyone. Some television shows, such as Vestiaires in France, CripTales in the UK and Deaf U in the US, feature actors and creators with disabilities. 18,19,20 Theatrical productions developed in a comparable way. After being turned down by mainstream theaters, performers with disabilities have had to develop their own methods of representation and companies through which to showcase their talents. Funding for such ventures has been initiated in England, among other places.
In the United States, Sins Invalid is not only a company of dancers and actors with disabilities, but also a major disability justice-based performance project that provides political and social justice education on issues disability, race, gender and sexuality. Their mission is “to incubate and celebrate artists with disabilities, artists of color, and LGBTQ/gender variant artists as historically marginalized communities.” Their website not only features their shows, but also a podcast, documentaries, and a blog dedicated to disability justice.
Disability’s quieter rise in the music industry has been marked by a more low-key presence. Any musician, whether or not they have a visible disability, will need to modify their methods of study and performance to be successful. Musicians from the disabled community have formed their own orchestras and ensembles in much the same way that professional actors have formed companies within the community to showcase their talents. England was one of the first countries to think about making the arts accessible to people with disabilities, and it is still moving in this direction.
To put these figures into context, it is important to remember that England hosted the Paralympic Games in London in 2012, a global event that caused the country to review its approach to disability inclusion. Athletes and artists with disabilities felt like they were treated “like everyone else” at the event for the first time in disability history. It served as an excellent illustration of the importance of including and advocating for people with disabilities. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies were just as extravagant as the Olympics a few weeks earlier and featured performances by many artists with disabilities. The entire contest was televised across the country and around the world. The stadiums were filled with as many spectators as during the Olympic Games. Athletes and performers were honored for their achievements. 27 Although things changed dramatically for the Olympics, this was not the case afterwards. Media and communications specialists Daniel Jackson, Caroline EM Hodges, Mike Molesworth and Richard Scullion published a book in 2015 which included contributions from sport and disability experts.
Culturally, there was an undeniable positive outcome for many musicians with disabilities who performed at the opening and closing ceremonies, although it is not yet clear whether social change has occurred. in a sustainable way.
Increasing the visibility of artists with disabilities in the music industry requires awareness of disability issues. However, progress has been slow in welcoming people with disabilities, whether as spectators or performers.