There was a time, for an all too long time, that Derrick May could apparently do no wrong. He was loved and adored by his fans, respected by the dance music press, and practically worshipped by the Detroit scene around him. It seemed that the world really was his oyster.
How things have changed. Three years ago, May was tested when details of multiple allegations of sexual abuse hit the press – and he absolutely failed the test. Curiously, he did not deny the allegations, nor did he sue the websites that published the claims in 2020. The only person he did try to sue was Michael James – only to abandon his own legal action shortly before the discovery stage.
Since then, May has been persona non grata within much of the dance music scene – except within small localised pockets such as Italy, Detroit itself, and the prisoner-boiling Uzbekistan. However, he does still manage to surprise people occasionally – and one big shock last year was finding out he was going to be appearing at Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
That appearance was subsequently cancelled after a number of the event’s sponsors expressed concerns about it – and only last week, PBS pulled a documentary featuring Derrick May off their streaming services. As a few of our regular Detroit sources have eloquently commented over the past few days, “everything that Derrick May touches turns to s*** right now”.
And speaking of things turning into the brown stuff, May might well have cost Detroit’s techno scene from another opportunity at being reflected in this year’s Thanksgiving Day parade, due to take place on November 23rd. Ears To The House has learnt that the parade’s organisers were considering another, more inclusive, float representating techno’s history in the city.
A well-placed source tells us such discussions did briefly take place over the summer – and that Derrick May was “almost certainly not going to be asked” to take part. However, the idea never went much beyond that stage – it was believed that after last year’s debacle, sponsors wanted to ensure this year’s event was free of controversy.
Ears To The House reached out to one of our regular Detroit sources for comment on this, and they simply said “When you take this and the embarrassing fact that PBS took his TV appearance down, I think it shows Derrick May is more of a liability to the Detroit techno scene than an asset. I just wonder how long it’ll take them to realise it?”.
We couldn’t possibly comment…