Saluting Our Sisters: A Celebration of Black History Month UK

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Nov 6, 2023
Vincent Morris
Revisit the fifth instalment of our live London panel series – a celebration of Black History Month UK.

The fifth edition of Beatport’s live London panel series celebrated Black History Month, inviting three black female artists to share their unique stories – NikNak, Paris Cesvette, and Toya Delazy.

Hosted by Mica Sefia of BLIM (Black Lives in Music), the discussion covered musical origins, life in the industry, and some top advice for emerging artists. With a vast array of experiences and backgrounds presented, it was an insightful and heartwarming session that reminds us of the power of music, collaboration and self-commitment.

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“I’d say just focus on what you love and be so authentic with that. Practice that, practice that, practice that, until you’re ready to take it to the world and it’s going to happen regardless.” – Paris Cesvette

As a black mother established in the industry, Cesvette offered a message of positivity and assurance. Centered around education and discipline, she emphasized that the democratization of music education in today’s world makes success a viable possibility for everyone.

She also gave some hot tips – in addition to remix competitions, she encouraged aspiring artists to learn how to use all DAWs (digital audio workstation) to enable collaborations: “Really, discography for me I feel, is everything. So if you can build your discography, you can work with as many people as possible, there’s no reason for you not to.”

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NikNak shared her stories of an eclectic upbringing, an inspiring reminder to keep exploring, keep experimenting, and keep creating. Just being open and proactive in seeking out opportunities may naturally lead to progress and results. Whilst shouting out some local Leeds-based projects, she recommended aspiring artists to approach collectives and organizations with ideas and pitches, or simply to seek advice. In what many might perceive to be a competitive industry, NikNak gave a refreshing outlook, celebrating authenticity, openness, and the abundance of opportunities out in the world.

“For making music, make whatever you want. It doesn’t have to be so prescriptive. And then from there, people will find you especially with social media being as crazy as it is.” – NikNak

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Toya Delazy shared her experiences growing up as a queer woman in South Africa, a highly oppressive country at the time that prevented her from coming out without the risk of putting her in serious danger. Enduring many life hardships, music became a powerful way for her to express herself authentically, find community, and connect with her ethnicity.

“So I wanted to find a world that allows me to be a Zulu woman, queer and all and present. And I found that in rave and music and something creative. So, that’s my inspiration. I can get up and just be me, my way every day.” – Toya Delazy

After the panel discussion NikNak stepped up to play a DJ set, perfect to see out the evening.

Listen to the full recording to hear all their stories in full and some of their key learnings from their time in the industry.

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