Blackbird Mixtapes: Disco/Funk Forever

Written by Haleigh Hoff February 8, 2021

This week's mixtape was created by Niko, a facility driver at Blackbird.

Introduce yourself

Hey y'all, my name is Niko! I'm a facility driver for Blackbird in Reno! My interests are art/drawing, horror themes, video games and history.

What is the name of your mixtape?

I went with Disco/Funk forever. Since childhood, these genres of music have been a constant love for me for their beefy bass riffs, full complete orchestras, an era of style, and free love. As I got older, I learned the significance and troubles that this genre and BIPOC still faced during its time, as well as its triumphs. Given that it is Black history month, I wanted to celebrate a genre of music that can be solely credited to not only BIPOC artists, but queer BIPOC artists as well. This playlist in particular is comprised creators and those influenced globally. American, as well as Brazilian, French, Japanese, MENA, and African disco/funk.

If you're interested in a short rabbit hole, check out "Disco Demolition night." I used to play disco a lot at my old job, and sometimes customers would ask me "Whatever happened to disco, this music is so fun!" We can credit disco demolition night, and in general white fragility, homophobia, and racism to the decline of disco. Disco/funk artists were topping charts in the 70's, and Dad rock enthusiasts deep in their racism couldn't accept that. Ironically, a lot of Dad rock is influenced/reappropriated/stolen from Black artists, but we'll leave that for another time. Despite those efforts, Disco will never die. I hope there are many that will continue to keep it alive and cherished for the beauty that it is.

Are you a creative person?

I'd certainly like to think so. I can admit that quarantine/isolation/the dread of Covid has put a damper on that but I hope to unlearn that creativity must always be monetized and be purchased. That alone has been a huge wet blanket for my own creativity. I wish to go back to creating for me and my own enjoyment. 

What keeps you creative?

I definitely look to others creativity that is similar to my own interests. People strive to be incredibly individual and take the credit alone for their work, but the people/etc. around them that inspires them in their daily lives deserve credit as well.

What keeps you moving?

As of late, unlearning keeps me moving. I'd like to be in a place where the weight of my past, nor unrealistic expectations of me based on what society has in mind haunts me. My friends, and especially my chosen family, too, for supporting and helping me get to a place of fully realized truth. Good people keep me moving. 

Listen to last week's mixtape, Quarantine Valentine by Jamal.