Serious allegations of sexual assault have been made against the 2017 American Beatbox Champion, Ryan Boudreau, also known as Wunknown.
This comes on the tail end of sweeping allegations surfacing across the gaming, music, and entertainment industries. The beatbox world is certainly not impervious to these allegations. Sexual assault and harassment exist in the beatbox community and we must take the necessary steps to address it.
Change requires a collective effort to create a safer space for all. Here’s how we can do that together.
The Removal of Wunknown Content
We’d like to make it clear that we do not take these allegations lightly. The HumanBeatbox.com team has removed all videos and articles showcasing Wunknown from our YouTube channel and website.
We have also reached out to leaders in the beatbox community to follow suit.
We must set a precedent: beatbox media -- be it battles, shoutouts, or performances -- should promote those whose values align with our community’s ideals. HBB has no plans to feature Wunknown in any of our future content, videos, or events.
Every Beatboxer Must Be a Proactive Ally
All change begins with the individual, and we must all work together to be proactive allies to prevent sexual misconduct from occurring before it happens. This means acting and intervening when inappropriate behavior occurs, both in-person and online.
We must speak up and stand up for our fellow beatboxers. Staying silent in toxic situations does the community harm and puts innocent people at risk.
We need to encourage leaders in our community to help set a good example and call out bad behavior both privately and publicly.
Enact and Be Vocal About a No-Tolerance Policy for Events
Event organizers, you must be intentional about the rules at your event. Ensure these rules (and consequences from breaking them) are well understood to all attendees through your marketing, through the MC, and online. Take those rules seriously and act swiftly if people break them.
Safety Response Volunteers and Security Personnel
Additional security guards will never be the full solution to providing a safer environment, but there must be protocols in place if harassment or assault occurs. This includes reporting misconduct to the correct personnel immediately, who then act swiftly to protect others within a venue.
One notable grassroots effort we can draw inspiration from is Subsonix Angels, a group of women volunteers based in Oklahoma City, dedicated to keeping concert-goers hydrated, safe, and comfortable for all.
They’re 100% funded by donations and do exemplary work; offering free water bottles, providing a safe booth if anyone feels uncomfortable, checking up on attendees who may feel in danger, and helping kick out sexual assaulters.
Similarly, community organizers can help mobilize and fund trusted volunteers to be readily available at events. Dedicated staff members and a safe space can go a long way. Volunteers can also have basic training and knowledge on how to act appropriately if an incident occurs.
It’s also important that organizers stay committed to listening to victims, report each incident to the appropriate local authorities, and take the necessary steps to provide the support and resources for their safety and recovery.
If Someone You Know Has Been Sexually Violated in the Beatbox Community
- Listen to them in full confidence
- Make sure they are safe
- Help your friend access resources they might need (hospital, health center, counseling center, police)
- If appropriate, encourage your friend to report the incident to your local community leader or law enforcement
- Take care of your own mental health and seek support if needed
- Make light of or joke about the matter
- Pass judgement or seek revenge
- Post publicly without your friend’s permission
- Force your friend to make a decision
- Guilt trip them
Drive Conversation and Provide Educational Resources
Now is the time to speak up and support your fellow beatboxers, more so if you have an audience of your own. If you weren’t aware of these issues within our community, now is the time to listen, learn, and be an active ally.
At the end of the day, we cannot say that “we love beatbox” or “maximum respect” without standing up for our fellow beatboxers. Change begins with us, and we must all collectively fight for a better and safer future for our beloved beatbox family.
We have a lot of work to do.