Animal Collective have sent a newsletter to fans addressing racist connotations of some of their older work.
The experimental Brooklyn group promised to change the album artwork of their 2006 ‘People’ EP, labelling it a “racist stereotype”, and the title of their 2003 album ‘Here Comes The Indian’. The artwork for the ‘People’ EP is a cartoon depiction of a black nanny with two white children, identified as an offensive “mammy” US stereotype, rooted in slavery.
“There is no way to excuse using a “mammy” on our artwork, and so we have decided to remove it,” Animal Collective wrote.
“We understand now that using a racist stereotype at all causes more damage than an explanation can repair, and we apologize. Moving forward, we will be donating a portion of our royalties from this record to the Equal Justice Initiative.”
The band then committed to donate a portion of the royalties to their 2017 ‘Meeting of the Waters’ EP to Cultural Survival. The EP included samples of the Tatuyo tribe in Brazil playing music for the Viceland program Earthworks.
Finally, Animal Collective said they would change the title of ‘Here Comes The Indian’ to its working title, ‘Ark’.
“With utmost respect to Indigenous people we feel that having the word Indian in our record title sends the wrong message by objectifying the American Indian people which is not what we were intending with the music,” they said.
“Because we have drawn countless inspiration from Indigenous people in America and around the world, moving forward, we will be donating a portion of our royalties from this record to Seeding Sovereignty, and changing the title to its original working title, Ark.”
All of the changes to titling and artwork will take effect on streaming platforms in the coming days. Read their full statement below.
The band also used the newsletter to announce the release of a new EP, entitled ‘Bridge to Quiet’, and that they would be uploading their back catalogue to Bandcamp for its revenue waiver day on July 3.
In addition to all of the Bandcamp fees earned during the 24 hour period, they will also make a separate split $10,000 donation to Cultural Survival Equal Justice Initiative, Seeding Sovereignty, Southerners on New Ground (SONG) and The Okra Project.