The Detroit techno pioneer has called out the rankings website for being overwhelmingly white.
The DJ List has been around since 1997. The website offers info on news and events, as well as profiles for over half a million DJs, according to the site's home page. It also hosts its own top 100 ranking of DJs, which is determined by user votes, search engine relevancy and the site's own custom-made algorithm. ("We feel this is our best, if not the best, ranking of DJs anywhere," claims The DJ List itself.)
Atkins, who only became aware of the website recently, had a strong reaction to the racial makeup of DJ List, pointing out the disparity of black DJs present. He took to Facebook with the first of several posts, saying "what's heavy on my mind right now is that I recently discovered The DJ List. And to my dismay, their top 100 DJs list from #1 to #98 are all white. The only 2 black DJs on the list are #99 and #100... That's a slap in the face of the entire black race." (The artists Atkins refers to at number 99 and 100 are Maceo Plex and Alvaro. The list also includes Carl Cox at 47 followed by Major Lazer, which features black producers Jillionaire and Walshy Fire alongside Diplo.)
Atkins' statements were met with general support. Sherard Ingram, who heads up Motor City group Urban Tribe, suggested creating an alternative list, while Ron Trent, Paul Johnson, Rick Wade and Charlie M. Duff (AKA Matrixxmann) also agreed with Atkins publicly. Duff said "Brothers originated this whole dance music shit and for the most part, get left out of the conversation in contemporary media. I am white but I feel outraged at this as well. How can we change this?"
Others said the list has little to do with the classic techno, electro and house style which emanate from Detroit and Chicago, being populated mainly by the type of EDM jocks who command massive fees in Vegas and at bigger, mainstream-leaning festivals. (Atkins responded with "you can say that, but you can't say fuck the money they makin'. And I believe some of it is mine.")
David Demember from The DJ List told RA: "I’d like to state that we are a very diverse team of people from all walks of life and as a team, we do not in any way, shape or form intentionally support discrimination of any kind... We’ve spent the past couple days looking at how we can change to better reflect the diversity in our industry and achieve the goals of what we’re trying to do." He went on to say the company will focus on improving DJ profile data while placing less emphasis on the top 100 list in the future.
Check out the ongoing discussion over on Atkins' fan page.