Annie Mac speaks out on ‘tokenism’ in music industry

Annie Mac speaks out on ‘tokenism’ in music industry
‘I feel annoyed being grateful that we have a female breakfast show presenter on Radio 2 or 6 Music’

Radio DJAnnie Mac has opened up about her experience with tokenism throughout her long career in the music industry.

Mac, whose full name is Annie MacManus, spoke to the Radio Times as she prepares to leave BBC Radio 1 later this year after 17 years. She announced her departure in April and said she would focus on writing fiction and podcasting, as well as spending more time with her children.

The Irish DJ said that while she was happy that her show, Future Sounds, will be taken over by BBC broadcaster Clara Amfo in September, she was “annoyed” about feeling gratitude that she was being replaced by another woman.

She told the Radio Times magazine: “I feel annoyed being grateful that we have a female breakfast show presenter on Radio 2 or 6 Music.

“We shouldn’t be grateful. It should be a given, not an anomaly. But I’m very encouraged at Radio 1 with the commitment they have to women.

“Clara getting the show that I‘m leaving is the most sensible and inspired choice,” she added. “It’s great, but there’s still a long way to go.”

Mac said that while she has not “suffered personally” from sexism in radio, she had seen herself be used to tick a box when it came to diversity.

“[Sexism] might have happened behind my back, but I don’t remember it that way,” she said.

“However, I’ve seen over the years that tokenism idea of, ‘ Well, as long as we’ve got Annie there, the box is ticked.”

An outspoken critic of sexism in the music industry, Mac previously wrote in a 2014 article for Vice: “Believe it or not, it is possible to talk about two female artists without being tokenistic. There are countless female artists and female DJs who are quietly achieving all their dreams without using their gender as a tool.

“I have often been asked to play novelty all-girl DJ line-ups and I’ve always had problems with it because I don’t want to be asked about being a girl, I don’t want to be a ‘token’ booking.”

Mac said she wanted to leave the programme “feeling good, with nothing but goodwill on both sides”.

She added: “I love the BBC and hope at some point I can come back. It’s not walking away from radio, it’s just walking away from that slot.”

She joined Radio 1 as an assistant producer before hosting her first show in 2004.


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