Women in jazz are standing up against sexual harassment and pushing for change in the industry.
14 women and non-binary jazz artists make up the We Have Voice collective. They say performance artists are especially susceptible to sexism and sexual violence in an industry led by mentor-mentee relationships and were work spaces are fluid and unconventional.
“We might have a rehearsal in the basement of a club or even in someone’s bedroom if we’re in a studio apartment,” one of the artists, Imani Uzuri sated to NPR. “so, it’s all about understanding what consent is in our particular workplaces.”
The collective formed after multiple artists wrote about #MeToo moments. Since there are no HR departments for solo musicians, artists made their own code of conduct, encouraging clear policies, reporting mechanisms, and peer accountability to prevent harassment in the entire field of performing arts, which is considered to be lagging even behind Hollywood in terms of gender equality.
They’re encouraging venues, festivals, and summer camps to adopt their code and post it for people to see or announce its guidelines before performances. The code also includes a promise to foster diversity and join the intersectional fight for empowerment within the community.