The artists involved seemed to recognize this as an issue—but only after they’d recorded their albums. Gaga’s house-and-techno-indebted Chromatica was released days after the death of George Floyd; recognizing that it wasn’t the time for her to grab the spotlight, Gaga temporarily suspended her promotional efforts. Ware also pushed her June release date back a bit. Both women, when they did return to advertising their albums, acknowledged the historical lineages and racial hierarchies they benefited from. “All music is Black music,” Gaga said in a Billboard article. Ware told Gay Times, “Everyone knew disco, but I didn’t fully understand the significance of it as a genre for the queer community and the Black community as much.” Remixes, music videos, and social-media activity by these artists did end up giving a platform to Black voices—but those efforts could not change the fact that the albums they promoted were, in the first place, not very inclusive documents.
Spencer Kornhaber reflects on the year from the perspective of disco. This includes the reference by various (white) artists, as well as the place in regards to Black Lives Matters.