The Disco Demolition at Comiskey park on July 12, 1979, will always have a strange personal significance to me. Even though it was nine years before I was born, it unintentionally altered my existence and had a reverberating impact on my childhood. My father was a Black DJ in New York City during the era of Disco, and I vividly remember him cursing the Disco Demolition throughout my younger years. Although other genres rounded out his immense and eclectic collection, Disco was the star attraction. I grew up listening to songs like Celi Bee's Superman and Indeep's Last Night, a DJ Saved My Life– which is technically post Disco, but the DNA of the genre is too prominent on that track to ignore.
Whenever my father would mention the Disco Demolition of 1979, he gave me the often-overlooked Black perspective of the event. The vicious anti-Disco sentiment that pervaded a large swath of the nation served to masked deep-seated racist attitudes. There's no question that most of the Disco artists from the genre's heyday were people of color from varying backgrounds and sexual orientations, especially compared to the other dominant genre at the time, Rock and Roll. Also, Disco thrived in urban areas with a significantly ethnic contingent. What were the odds of Disco possessing any longevity, let alone fanbase, in Montana or Utah?
Now, I'm not accusing anyone of anything. I think the rejection of Disco was a multifaceted affair, but I'm not discounting the validity of my dad's perspective either. You can even draw comparisons between the mainstream's jubilation at Disco's death with its hatred for the advent of Hip Hop a few years later. As the latter genre grew in the early 80s, the mainstream simultaneously labeled it as a fad and trash. But, to be fair, a sizeable crop of Rap's early detractors were also Disco fans, so the alleged racial divide isn't as neat as one would imagine.
Again, I'm only writing this to provide a perspective that doesn't get expressed too often. Of course, there are a few rare exceptions, but I'd like to do my part too. I tried to find a video that expounded on the racial nature of Disco's death, but the one linked above- discussing the latent homophobia that fueled the anti-Disco movement-was the closest I could get. I would love to hear everyone's perspective on the Disco Demolition in the comments.
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