Dance divas: 1978-1988

The Documentary Podcast

By BBC World Service

Dance divas: 1978-1988

Saturday, 17 April

Meet the pioneering women DJs, producers, vocalists and remixers who were part of the New York underground dance scene from disco onwards. Presented by the Queen of Clubland herself, Martha Wash, whose vocals feature on 12 number one Billboard Dance chart hits to date. All the women are linked by one nightclub, the Paradise Garage, which alongside underground clubs in Chicago and Detroit would help lay the foundation for modern dance music. Underground DJ's, clubs, and producers were not only important in breaking mainstream hits, they were also a safe haven for LGBTQ+ People of Colour. We meet Yvonne Turner, Rebecca Mackenzie, Carol Cooper, Gail Sky King and Sharon White, who were all Paradise Garage regulars from its opening in the late 70s. We follow their first steps in the music business, after the death of disco. In a cut-throat music industry, many women, including Martha, had to fight to get proper credit for their work, and recognition for their achievements is long overdue. Now in their 60s, we follow their remarkable stories over several decades, as underground dance music evolved from disco into house, striving for success in an environment which was often hostile to women. At the same time, the NYC underground scene was hit by the Aids crisis, gentrification, and the rise of hip-hop. Presenter: Martha Wash Producer: Victoria Ferran
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