AMERICAN COMPOSERS FORUM and I CARE IF YOU LISTEN are launching a ten-month series entitled “Out of Context” to help our collective field open new channels for exploring and understanding cultural appropriation. We realize this is a complex issue. It is rooted in a long history of colonization and oppression and, for many, can feel too contentious to openly discuss. However, as leaders of organizations who both believe in advocating for equity and amplifying the stories and art of today’s music creators, we see the pain and confusion this issue continues to generate, and we feel the need to directly address it.

Our desire is to offer information and diverse perspectives to those seeking to acknowledge historical context and honor cultural traditions that are not their own, including artists who aspire to utilize instruments, sounds, techniques, and text that they find deeply inspiring yet are not directly a part of their own history. We are opening the door for this conversation recognizing that in certain circumstances, it may not be possible to use culturally-specific elements out of their original context in a non-appropriative way.

We invite your ideas and referrals for artists, authors, academics, practitioners, and other individuals who would be willing to share their perspectives and experiences in the form of an essay or an interview. Acknowledging that the most egregious examples of appropriation are historically from white individuals and entities, we especially encourage individuals speaking from non-white perspectives and/or co-authors who can offer a collaboration between cultures that value non-white perspectives. Articles will be published monthly and authors will be paid an equitable honorarium. Send referrals, recommendations, and article pitches to:

Our hope is to foster a forum of curiosity and learning so our industry can continue to not only reflect our world today but also actively lead it with love, awareness, and respect. 

Thank you for supporting this quest. We look forward to hearing from you!

Vanessa Rose                                          Amanda Cook
President & CEO Editor-in-Chief