Charlotte Rutherford

Sonos and Index on Censorship have teamed up for a new panel discussion around the freedom of artistic expression.

Titled Expression Uncensored, the discussion – amplified by Gay Times – will include British singer-songwriter MNEK, LGBTQ Russian band Sado Opera, and renowned DJ and music writer Princess Julia.

While the music industry is usually regarded as a safe space for queer artists to use music as a means of self-expression, what happens when governments, labels or managers try to restrict this?

In 2018 it’s still illegal to be gay in 72 countries, and in these nations LGBTQ musicians do not have the right to have creative freedom as it puts them at risk of imprisonment, or even death.

Here in the UK, some queer artists still have to self-censor themselves or face the risk of prejudice and being silenced.

These topics will be explored during the intimate event, which is open to the public.

Sonos and Index on Censorship are holding this panel in service of LGBTQ rights, opening up the conversation of how we can eventually achieve true equality.

Index on Censorship are a non-profit freedom of expression organisation that campaigns for free speech and fights censorship across the globe.

Their aim is to raise awareness about the threats to free expression and the value of free speech.

“At Sonos, we believe everyone deserves to have the freedom of self-expression through music and sound without being restricted or censored,” the company stated. “Sonos cares about providing a platform for people to listen better.”

The company has pledged $1.5 million investment towards grassroots organisations, along with five key objectives that will affect musicians, artists, engineers and creators across the world.

Those include fighting music censorship and championing the right to free expression, defending digital rights and access to information for artists, providing space and tools so musicians can be heard, supporting music education in underserved communities, and inspiring the next generation of music creators.

Expression Uncensored will take place on 1 August at the Sonos store on Earlham Street in central London.

Tickets for the event are free, and you can register here to attend.

If you are unable to make it to London but still want to see the discussion, Gay Times will be live streaming the event on our Facebook page from 7pm on 1 August here.