Thank God we had signed a deal to produce Diana Ross before the “Disco Sucks” backlash in 1979 shut down our lives. People don’t realize that the life span of Chic was really just three years. We had a little big of payback during that whole “Disco Sucks” thing—that year the Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series, their song was “We Are Family.” So while one stadium was being burned and ravaged, the other was celebrating with disco. The thing is, all the rock-and-roll guys were all our best friends. John Deacon from Queen, who wrote “Another One Bites the Dust,” was in the studio with me when I wrote “Good Times.” Debbie Harry and Chris Stein turned us on to hip-hop and let us know our music was being used to spawn this whole new movement. Punk-rockers used to think of Chic as the ultimate cool band. Meanwhile, the industry was pitting rock and roll against us. So the backlash didn’t come from the musicians. White working-class Midwest fans looked at this hedonistic culture dominated by ethnics and women and gay people leading lives that were completely over the top—these guys working at the Ford factory or wherever were like, We’ve gotta work like this and you don’t have to work and go to Studio 54 and party?
The Disco Sucks movement was no different than any other white resentment at the success or happiness or gathering together of Black folk. We see it play out in curfews, in law, in police violence, in the bombing of Black Wall St., in segregation, in the willful neglect at preserving NOLA, in Stop & Frisk.
People can slap allllll the different names they want on racism. It always smells the same.