Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange aka Lightspeed Champion is a vocal activist for racial awareness and change. You only need to spend a couple of minutes on his Twitter to understand that he has strong opinions when it comes to the current state of African American rights in the USA. So, recently when he submitted an interview to Oyster Magazine, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that such topics might come up in conversation.
The interview was originally conducted last year for an unnamed magazine between Julian Casablancas of The Strokes and Hynes, who have worked together on a number of occasions. The conversation was supposed to be an open exploration of their work, their past and their opinions on a variety of topics. When said magazine refused to put out the interview unedited, the pair decided to take it elsewhere: enter Oyster. Despite agreeing to the terms, the magazine recently released a heavily revised version, and Hynes was understandably pissed.
Hynes has been on a long hiatus from social media, expressing feelings of hopelessness about being heard and being subject to continual criticism while in the public eye. He recently returned to his Tumblr with the following statement in response to the publication:
End of last year Julian and I had a conversation for a magazine (that I don’t need to name) in which we openly had a conversation for an hour, talking about music, racial politics and our past. This magazine in question didn’t want to put the interview out without it being edited… fair enough. So we took it elsewhere.
Oyster magazine agreed to post it un edited.
They just posted the interview, I don’t know who it was involved, magazine, publicist… so i won’t fully point blame in any true direction right now… but they fully edited and censored it without telling us. Cutting out everything to do with race and my past that I discussed, which was not easy for me to do. Why? So they can have another bullshit piece to add to the noise of the internet? Keep us talking about prince & MJ, of course… but lets take out the section about the million man march… Let’s keep the section talking about first bands we played in… but take out the part where i talk in detail about being assaulted by security and having my knee knocked out of place at Lollapalooza.
It’s very disheartening… & yet again left with the feeling of a lack of trust & hope. In fact, i’m certain that you don’t even see what the real problem is here? I’m sure most people won’t. It’ll be seen as “Dev lashes out at oyster magazine” or “why is he moaning about being featured in a magazine…” it’s not about that to me, I could care less about any of that shit, none of that matters on a day to day in the real world… but the idea of being able to speak freely about things that I think are bothersome to me & to JC, and to others, when told that I could.. was really special to me. I don’t do many articles/interviews because it’s all the same noise, not even slightly an ego thing, in fact it’s more like the opposite. So I was happy when this opportunity arose to talk openly and un-edited with a friend.
I spoke about such personal things, things that weren’t easy for me because I thought that it could be helpful maybe for someone somewhere out there, as well as myself, and you just took it out… like it was nothing… nothing but a distraction to your own world distraction.
You had a chance to really add to something, and show people that there are real conversations taking place in the world right now, but you chose otherwise. And prove yet again that the censorship of a free speaking Black man is of less value to you than retweets.
It is a passionate response from an artist who put himself out on a limb by speaking publicly, and was again disappointed by the results. Of course magazines will edit content to get the best story, but the end product is pretty vanilla focusing on chats about choreography, Rocky and Live V Smash Mouth. It could have definitely benefited from the edgier omitted content, but that’s just our opinion.
You can be the judge and check out the Oyster piece here.