(Please note this is a foreword from 2017, when the Alt List launched for the first time)
It is with great honor that I write these words today. The Alternative Power 100 Music List was not my original idea but I felt an immense sense of responsibility to justify its existence, symbolic meaning and distinct flaws within the shesaid.so community framework.
In the 2+ years since it was conceived (2018 update: 3+ years), the shesaid.so community has provided an engaging platform for women involved in the music industry to voice their opinions, network, find and offer work, meet like-minded individuals, mentors and ideas they never knew they share with so many others. More importantly, the online/offline community served a key objective of empowering these women. While we carry the necessary research on the substantial impact the platform has made so far, the greater amount of conversations and initiatives in aid of our mission is testimony to its prowess.
The Alternative Power 100 Music List is yet another vehicle with which we continue to raise awareness (yes, we are still at that stage), spark debate and ultimately create change. Like many other projects under our wing, the Alt List came at the suggestion of one of our members in response to the ever so depressing findings of its original counterpart developed by Billboard. Embarking on this journey seemed like the natural next step and it was almost a moral duty for us to assume it.
Our humble community comprises of merely 1700 members worldwide (2018 update: 2500 members), yet we pride ourselves with having curated a most active and professional network of female executives. Therefore, it was our job to highlight the collective voice of all these women, with all its beautiful flaws, diverse perspectives and lack of further representation beyond gender.
The Alternative Power 100 Music List is a symbolic gesture. It is by no means an accurate reflection of professional achievements, nor is it a hierarchical index supported by scholastic research and/or a substantial amount of nominations. It is, nevertheless, our attempt at highlighting the work of our members and their extended networks which often gets overlooked due to market saturation. It is our opportunity to showcase non-traditional companies, career paths and levels of success that reject unilateral thinking. It is our privilege to express what diversity and representation mean to us, inclusive of mainstream selections and unconventional subcultures alike. It is also a chance to reflect and learn about our own shortcomings in an effort to devise solutions that further our objectives beyond gender.
It’s fascinating, yet not surprising, to learn that the majority of (2017) nominations targeted white women. It’s safe to say that out of all underprivileged communities in the music business, white women are the most privileged. We certainly do not think this is okay and, in this case, it’s an obvious representation of the industry ecosystem (and perhaps society as a whole). I personally ensured that within this demographic we covered as many industry verticals as possible (some of which are more “female-friendly” than others) and that, outside of it, there was as much representation as possible. I’m aware this list is not 100% inclusive, surely far from it, and I apologize in advance to those who have been left out. While unacceptable, I choose to look these shortfalls as an opportunity to learn and take action. It’s easier to win a battle when you know who your enemy is.
Following the publication of this shortlist we pledge to take measures that will result in a much more inclusive and widely represented classification, focusing on intersectionality and getting us closer to that 100% target. I look forward to learning about companies, projects and initiatives set up by, involving or hiring more POC, LGBTQ, disabled and/or communities from lower economic backgrounds and so on. And then perhaps we can all acknowledge how beautiful work is when surrounded by diversity, not adversity.