So today was to the day. At the time of posting this, it’s just after 10am in the UK – or 5am in Detroit. In a little under four hours time, the city’s Thanksgiving Day parade for 2022, as sponsored by Gardner-White Furniture, will begin at Woodward and Kirby – at 8.45am, to be precise.
Those in attendance will be treated to all kinds of sights and sounds – local stations will be starting their news coverage as early as 6am. Make no mistake, this is a big event – but it wouldn’t normally be the kind of event we’d cover here on Ears To The House. But as we’ve explained on Monday and Tuesday this week, this year’s event is slightly different.
For today is the day that the self-styled Belleville Three will be given their own float at the parade – in an attempt by the city to celebrate the genre of techno. There is, of course, nothing wrong with celebrating musical history – but when it comes to Derrick May, this is where things become quite bothersome.
On Thanksgiving Day in 2019, journalist Michael James began publishing stories alleging sexual misbehaviour and abuse by Derrick May. The allegations first hit the dance music press in September 2020 – which May has never categorically denied. Since then, his career has been a shadow of what it used to be – something which we shall actually be writing more about in the coming days.
Yes, Detroit techno is clearly a genre worth celebrating. And no, it would probably be impossible for everyone from those early days to be honoured. Indeed, in normal circumstances, our main problem with this float would be it excludes those who contributed much, if not more, for Detroit techno than Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson ever did.
But given that Derrick May refuses to engage in any meaningful way with the allegations against him, Ears To The House firmly believes that his participation in today’s event would be inappropriate. And we’re pleased to report this morning that his appearance has been cancelled.
Just a few hours ago, we were sent official confirmation that “Derrick May will not be appearing at today’s event”. The news was also confirmed by two sources from Detroit’s business community. As we explained on Tuesday, a number of people on the Parade Company board were said to have expressed “concern” at developments, although none has commented publicly.
It looks like those concerns have become overwhelming. And whilst, from our point of view, an explanation as to why this announcement came so late might have been nice, we’re very happy with the fact the authorities running the Thanksgiving Day parade have seen sense. Quite where this leaves Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins this morning is somewhat unclear.
The only question now is whether May will appear in the crowd anyway. It’s the same trick he pulled when his Detroit Historical Society appearance was cancelled last year…