As we step into June 2021 there is plenty for us to reflect upon and think about. Worldwide we’ve had to deal with political, environmental, health-related, gender related AND racially related issues among other things. It feels non-stop, but it’s clearly been time to face what is wrong and work harder at making it right. Making it right by coming together and finding solutions to create lasting change. Our world is cyclical in its nature, and a new cycle is clearly dawning upon us.
Part of that new cycle includes righting the wrong of systemic racism around the world. With the uprising of the BLM movement due to the unjust deaths of George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown and a slew of other individuals over the years, there are still many discussions that need to be had and hard truths that need to be addressed. Inperspective Records founder Chris ‘Inperspective’ Walton made it very apparent that issues of racism are not just what’s depicted through news stations, but also within our own creative scenes–In our case: jungle/ drum and bass. He posted a video on Facebook about his experience working for Hospital Records as a black man that went viral back in 2020.
From that post spawned something very special that is thriving to this day. Black Junglist Alliance is a black creative hub and registered organization designed to help black artists, creatives and professionals within the jungle/ drum and bass scene grow and thrive. Chris teamed up with Caldey Muffet [Creative Designer], Neil Stevens [Master of Information] and Charlotte Toney [Director & Facilitator], creating a private Facebook group that grew into what it is today; a year since its official start in June of 2020. BJA formed from a need and desire to address the issues of diversity and representation as well as inform the community about the importance of ownership, understanding economic value and securing the legacy of black contributors to the jungle/drum and bass scene. It’s all about music, community and education!
Since its inception Black Junglist Alliance has posted most of their content on YouTube: through their media platform called BJATV. The content shared not only spotlights and elevates black talent, but it also encourages collaboration and shares the history of the scene through interviewing many legends that have been and are still involved in creating and performing within jungle/drum and bass. #Throwbackthursday posts educated the masses on the black history of jungle/drum and bass including backstories on legendary labels and artists alike. They currently run and post a number of Alliance Sessions that are mixes curated and recorded by older and new black talent within the scene. About 6 weeks ago D-Lo brought BJA an hour of pure jungle vibes hosted by Major Ranks recorded live at Disc World in Deptford, London. Make sure to follow BJA on all your socials to keep up to par with upcoming Alliance Sessions…Word on the street is that there might be something special lined up where we all get schooled on some incredible female talent!
Encapsulating the ethos of inclusivity across the board, BJA has also released a new clothing range for men, women and children as of April 2021.
“BJA Clothing is a conscious line that caters to the many differing ways in which we present ourselves…As a not-for-profit organization this part of the BJA offering will form part of our drive for sustainability and independence, as well as providing platforms for Black Design & Print creatives to showcase their talents.”
The clothing line will be consistently rolled out in stages throughout the year with new additions and seasonal changes being applied. The Collection includes an exclusive range: B&Everything – This is a statement that encourages thought and self-expansion on what it means to be Black. More than just a word & more than just a colour, being black is so much more than you see. Check out all their designs and keep an eye out for the next drop, which includes a range of colours to get you sorted for summer!
As the world starts to open back up, events have begun to roll back out. We all know how much we are looking forward to that! October brings us the Boiler Room Festival at ‘The Cause’ London for 4 days of 4 different scenes and styles of music. BJA will be curating one of 5 rooms for Friday October 15th from 5pm-1am GMT. Friday will be ‘System Sound’ night—a heavy club night of dub, jungle and soundsystem clashes aired live for the world to see and jam out to. Mark your calendars and sign up to join us for a night of epic music and good vibes. Who knows, I just might join you all in the event and hop on that mic for the BJA room! ::Winkwink::
Words by: Sofi Mari