Bonjay and Too Attached on how 'diversity' isn't just a box to tick

In May 2018, we sat down with Alanna Stuart and Ian Swain from Bonjay and Shamik Bilgi from Too Attached before their Diversity Tour show in Ottawa. In this interview, they break down the meaning behind the Diversity Tour, their contentious tour poster, and why we need to challenge how we think about diversity.

The Diversity Tour was born out of a common thread that Bonjay and Too Attached found in each other's music, exploring the concept of 'diversity' from different perspectives and showing that diversity "is not this multicultural utopia that you see on government banners".

Stuart noted that Bonjay's latest album Lush Life looks at the complexity of diversity, especially in how it is lived out in our cities today.

"What does it actually mean for people to pool their differences together? It's messy and awkward and not everybody's going to want to be encountering differences. People aren't going to want to encounter change. And so we wanted to highlight the fact that diversity is not easy, it's a good idea but it's hard."

Stuart links Bonjay's message with that of Too Attached's latest album, Anger, which speaks about people of colour (POC) anger and dismantles the idea that POC should remain diplomatic in the face of racism and misogyny. Stuart, who sang on the album, says:

"It doesn't matter how subtle racism can be or ignorance can be, let's just call it what it is. I'm going to voice the true implications of how it hurts from our end."

Bilgi adds that "Diversity isn't just this box to tick".  As an example, he refers to 'diverse' workplaces where many women and marginalized people do not feel like they are being treated fairly, "it’s not just about dotting the i's and crossing the t's".