Annie Mac on Women in the Music Industry: “There is still a long way to go”

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Annie Mac spoke of her experiences with symbolism during her nearly two decades in the music industry.

The Irish DJ, whose full name is Annie MacManus, announced in April that she would be leaving BBC Radio 1 after 17 years to devote herself to spending more time with her two children, writing fiction and podcasting.

In an interview with Radio Times, Mac said that one of the most welcome developments she has seen in her career was the seismic changes in the world of music and broadcasting, particularly in the number of women occupying first-rate niches.

But while she was thrilled with her replacement Future Sounds – BBC presenter Clara Amfo, who will resume the show from September – she added that the fact that she felt grateful to be replaced by another woman illustrated how much still had to be done. for women in industry.

“I feel bored to be grateful that we have a breakfast presenter on Radio 2 or 6 Music,” Mac, 42, said. “We shouldn’t be grateful. It should be a given, not an anomaly.

“But I’m very encouraged on Radio 1 with the commitment they have to women. Clara to get the show that I leave is the smartest and most inspired choice. It’s great, but there is still a long way to go.

When asked if she’s encountered a lot of sexism as she moves up through the ranks, Mac responded like she has in the past. “I have never suffered personally. It may have happened behind my back, but I don’t remember it that way.

She added, “However, I’ve seen over the years this symbolic idea of, ‘Well, as long as we have Annie there, the box is checked. ”

In 2014, Mac wrote an article for Vice titled “Stop asking me about being a woman,” referring to the heavily sexist questions she was asked in interviews about male DJs.

She said she was often asked if she was simply trying to “support women” by recommending female artists. She replied, “Believe it or not, it’s possible to talk about two female artists without being symbolic. There are countless female artists and female DJs who are quietly making all their dreams come true without using their gender as a tool.

“I’ve been asked a lot of times to play novelty at all girl DJ groups and I’ve always had problems with that because I don’t want to be asked to be a girl, I don’t want to be a “symbolic” reservation.

“Likewise, I don’t support these women artists because they are women, but because they are brilliant, compelling, inspiring and talented. And I will continue to support them, as I love and support men, regardless of their gender in the process.

Mac has long been a vocal critic of sexism and gender imbalance in the music industry, speaking on issues ranging from the lack of female artists in festival schedules to the “moral conundrum” of playing music. misogynistic rap on the air.

She is ending her tenure at Radio 1 for professional and personal reasons, wanting more time with her children, who are starting school in September, and a hiatus from the radio to explore what she wants to do next.

She has started work on a second novel after the success of her first Mother Mother, released in May, and also hosts a successful podcast series, Changes with Annie MacManus.


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