kindness put career on pause after experiencing homophobia and transphobia

In a candid lecture, the electro-funk artist also says the music industry is still dominated by 'straight white guys.'

by Nick Levine and i-D Staff
12 November 2015, 11:51pm

Electro-funk artist Kindness has spoken candidly about halting his music career following an early encounter with extreme intolerance. During a lecture for Red Bull Music Academy in Paris, the British singer-producer (whose real name is Adam Bainbridge) called out a "toxic" blogger called Donald Crunk who wrote an article referring to Bainbridge in "homophobic and transphobic terms."

Bainbridge explained that the article was published on Crunk's blog Style Slut during the nu-rave era of the mid-aughts, at a point in his life when he was questioning his sexuality and gender identity. Recalling his reaction at the time, Bainbridge told the audience: "I was just like, where did this come from? What was even more fucked up is rather than being angry with him, I was like, 'Wait, how did he know?' Do people know this? Shit, what am I going to do? I can't be a grime producer if people know I'm gay, if people know I'm queer.'"

Bainbridge then admitted that "overnight I shut down, I stopped my music and left London. I was actually scared." Bainbridge's despair was compounded by the fact that Crunk was seemingly being embraced by the music industry at the time, even being invited to vote in the BBC's annual taste-making poll, 'Sound Of'. Although Bainbridge has since returned to music, releasing a pair of acclaimed albums as Kindness, he warned the event's audience that the industry is still dominated by heterosexual white men who may struggle to relate to artists who are different to them.

"I look around this room and I see non-white faces, I see women, and I'm happy to see you here," he said. "But I'm going to tell you: it's going to be tough. It's still not a smooth ride, especially when even in the younger generation that's working in music... they're still predominantly straight white guys. They have a language or a vocabulary among themselves. They don't even know how to talk to you, or about you, or how to understand your issues."