Panel discussion: The representation of Black voices in alternative music and how the scene is changing

Last month, Kerrang! hosted a panel discussion at the Royal Society of Arts in London titled Represent: Black Voices In Alternative Music. Hosted by Kerrang! Radio’s Sophie K, we welcomed musician Kid Bookie, Alex Ekong from Decolonise Fest and journalist Laviea Thomas to discuss their experiences, how the scene is changing, and what still needs to happen.

From the MOBOs now having a Best Alternative category to bands like Nova Twins getting a main stage slot at Download this year, Black alt. musicians are being championed and supported more than ever before across the media, festivals and beyond, but as you will see below, there is still more work to be done. Throughout our hour-long discussion, we hear valuable insight of what it’s like to grow up as a Black fan of heavy music and the ostracisation that can occur, what it’s like to try and break as a Black rock artist, and explore why millions of Black alt. music fans on TikTok are being underserved and underrepresented.

This is a vital conversation and not something we’re going to suddenly solve over the course of 60 minutes in a London event space, but it is about having that conversation, and learning how we can all do more to support non-white artists in our world – whether you’re a fan, you work at a label, or any other facet of the industry. We all want the scene we love to be more inclusive and more diverse, and it’s up to everyone to make that happen.