Raving While Melanin

Hello hello everyone and welcome back to another installment of MKQ blogs! This interview I am featuring today is the finished product of a brain child that has consumed me for a while now lol. I have admired the in depth work and pure grace that Melanin Ravers has provided for some many ravers including myself. The safe space they have made for new and old ravers alike is so beautiful. When I started raving I remember being so nervous about being the only Black raver in the taboo world of EDM. And so it brings me great joy to know that there is an outlet for others to turn to. As we conclude this amazing Black History Month today, I thought it would be the perfect time to share this collaboration with you all. Today I have the honor of featuring the beautiful Ms. Serena Harris aka Gaea the founder of Melanin Ravers.  Tell me a bit about yourself: Where are you from? What’s your background?  First off, thank you for having me! My name is Serena Harris, I go by Gaea in the EDM community but to the Melanin Ravers family I go by Mama Melanin. I’m born and raised in Tampa Bay Florida and I’m currently 31 years old. I feel as though it’s important to note I’m a Libra cause I feel as though someone might wanna know that. Haha. My job outside of the EDM community is a chiropractor assistant which I’ve done for almost 2 years now. How did you get into and how long have you been in the edm scene?  I got into the scene by watching my ex post about EDC Vegas on Snapchat in 2016 and I thought it was the coolest thing ever and I just HAD to go one day. I last minute sent it to EDC in 2017 and been raving ever since! What was the influence that encouraged you to create Melanin Ravers?  It was actually my friend Ana who encouraged me to create Melanin Ravers. We were on our way to EDC Vegas in 2018 and she mentioned about a news article covering a festival and how a black raver said to show us cause we are out here too. And I went back and forth about it on the way there and I turned to her and said “Well if I do make this it’ll be called Melanin Ravers cause when you first think of melanin you think about us.” It took me being in line for security and standing next to a black raver I didn’t know, and looking around and at first glance, and realizing it was just us as the only black people in line and decided yup I’m doing this. What does the phrase “Raving whil Melanin” mean to you?  Raving while Melanin means to me being Unapologetically Black in a space that was originally created by people who look like you for people who came before you and with you, and creating a space for those in the future who want to step foot into the rave scene. Representation means so much to me so seeing someone who looks like you doing something that you didn’t think was possible or safe is needed. We’re making space for our people who can be themselves without feeling like you’re a “sell out”. What is your favorite genre of edm?  Favorite Ahhhh this is hard! Lol. I love all sub genres of EDM but my absolute favorite is Hardstyle. I’m known more for loving hardstyle more than any other one. It’s just something about it that just hype me up. But my favorite artists is Saymyname, Excision, DJ issac, Kyle Kinch, Alesso, Green Velvet, Slander, Seven Lions, MK, Lady Faith, Angerfist, Chris Lake…. We can literally be here all day. So many great DJs and producers. Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Arbery, George Floyd are a few of the countless lives lost to police brutality. Do you think there is more that those of us with a platform in edm specifically can do to push the conversation on police reform and gun safety?  I feel as though the best way to tackle it is to never stay silent on the issues we face when it comes to police reform because when you stay silent people start to think this way of life is acceptable when it’s clearly not.  There is so much to undo in our judicial system to make it better for everyone to be truly equal. What is one misconception you think that is made about ravers today?  The one question I get asked from non ravers all the time is “So you just go out and do a bunch of drugs?” It’s kind of annoying that this is how they think of us. It is a small part of the community but not it’s entirety. There is so much more beautiful things to our community that I try to highlight when I talk about raving. There’s a stigma that states to be an ideal rave girl you must look at certain way.. what advice would you give to new women interested in rave culture on how to remain confident and comfortable in their own skin regardless of the stigma? I’ve learned that you have to be your own inspiration. If it’s not there then create that space on your own because you never know who you will inspire. The best thing in the rave girl community is we will hype you up regardless of what you’re wearing. So even when you think you look basic there is someone telling you how amazing you look. My best advice is dress for yourself and own it! Out of all the festivals you’ve attended what is your favorite one to attend?  EDC Vegas is always home for me. It gives a totally different vibe each year as well as catering to all sub genres listeners and those who want to go for the first time. Here at Rave Talks we stress the importance of Rave Safety. I wanted to know what you think can be done to ensure attendees safety from the perspective of those who have a platform in EDM?  I always advocate “if you see something say something” if a fellow raver is in need of help or feel unsafe then be that person to step in to help. It can easily be you.  Promoting safe raving like testing your drugs, creating meet up spots just in case you lose your friends, staying hydrated, etc helps a lot because there’s people who wouldn’t think of that. Where do you see the rave scene going in 20 years from now?  I see it being more diverse for sure and probably hear more EDM than any other genre of music. Who knows we might just be raving in space in 20 years. That sounds like a good time if you ask me. Haha. I too hope we get to rave in space soon!! What an amazing interview that was with Serena. Thank you so very much for partnering with Ravetalks on this interview. It was an honor to get to know you better. You can find Serena and Melanin Ravers through their awesome instagram pages @Gaeaxnelle and @MelaninRavers and on Facebook – Melanin Ravers. As always follow us here at Ravetalks on our Instagram and Twitter @ravetalks_ and Subscribe to our Newsletter. Tune in to our latest podcast seasons both 1 & 2 which you can find anywhere you get your podcasts. We will be archiving season 1 very soon! And get ready for Season 3 what we have in store for you guys is beyond amazing!! I love you all… MKQ out ☺️

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