The Detroit music scene has quite a few hidden gems, Seraphine Collective is one of them. The members of Seraphine Collective aim to be accessible to those who may feel excluded from the male-dominated music scene, something we are still seeing here in Detroit.
Through multiple music workshops, events and discussions, these women are powering through a patriarchal area of society so their music can be heard, respected and danced to by all.
In 2013, former member Lauren Rossi began Seraphine Collective as a blog project. The blog featured interviews and individual profiles of women musicians in Detroit. She said her hope was to “highlight, inspire, and encourage current and aspiring musicians in the area.” The conversations that came from those interviews generated a rich exchange of ideas, including, but not limited to, the need for a woman-owned and operated venue, record label, recording studio, workshops and space where women could share their skills.
They started to create zines (most commonly known as magazines, or “fanzines”) and mix tapes. Then, their monthly meetings were being made open to the public. Once they received a grant from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Knight Foundation, the collective was able to put on BFF Fests and their DJ Workshop: Beat Match Brunch with Mother Cyborg.
“What started out as a predominantly rock music collective has grown drastically and now includes more hip-hop and electronic performances,” as said by a Seraphine Collective member. Because the Seraphine Collective is heavily rooted in inclusivity and the concept of being a collective, they chose to keep members anonymous.
BFF Fest (Best Fest Forever), one of the first events that really showed the community what the Seraphine Collective was, is an all-ages and inclusive summer music festival in Detroit. It was created to highlight, celebrate and promote the talents of Michigan’s diverse community of musicians and artists. BFF Fest prioritizes the participation of women, gender non-conforming, queer, transgender and people of color performers “to create visibility in a music scene dominated by patriarchal and institutionally racist cultural norms,” a seraphine collective member said.
Seraphine Collective is also putting on more events to create visibility in the Detroit music scene, such as their Open Tables monthly, where DJ’s from the Beat Match Brunch workshop get to practice beat matching vinyl records in a public space.
“Beat Match Brunch 102 is coming up this April focusing on the digital side of DJ-ing, taught by Mother Cyborg and Stacey Hottwaxx Hale (Godmother of House music!),” a Seraphine Collective member said.
The collective hopes to host another dialogue series in the spring, along with booking more shows they are passionate about, but their main focus, as of right now, is getting their own space.
Intersectional feminism plays a huge role in their movement. In their words, “Our feminism has to be intersectional or it is complete bullshit.” Seraphine collective said that they encourage open and honest expression of both feminist unity and differences. They believe that when people gather to create, perform and appreciate music, it has an unparalleled way of creating the authentic human relationships needed to collaboratively tackle all of the more “heavy” issues at hand in Detroit.
They also have hosted a series of community dialogues on rape culture in the Detroit music scene last spring.
As far as the future looks for Seraphine Collective, they aim to “keep exploring how music intersects with identity, community consciousness and various activism efforts in Detroit.” They want to continue supporting, building with, and learning from the people in Detroit who have been making music and art for generations.
Seraphine Collective hopes to keep growing and learning, especially from feminist organizations that have come before them. They are in the early planning stages of opening their own venue in partnership with Girls Rock Detroit and We Found Hip Hop.