Speaking terms and conditions.
I'm often asked to perform or speak at conferences and festivals for free. I don't as a general rule and then spend ages having to explain to a disgruntled event organiser why this is. My scorecard for speaking at conferences/festivals is short and straightforward: two rules that every event must adhere to if they want me to come and perform. Here they are:
1. There must be at least one woman speaker on stage.
I will gladly forfeit my place in the lineup to ensure that this happens. I will also need to see the running order beforehand to make sure that you've managed this. Having female speakers on the stage is mandatory and non-negotiable. A female moderator does not constitute a female speaker.
2. I expect to be paid. As Jay Z once said: "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man". If you're not paying your speakers, then I'm not the person for you. I invest a tremendous amount of time, resources and money in my performances - they are not only labours of love but art products, and if you want them, then you're going to have to pay for them.
I will, however, consider waiving my fee if you can guarantee 50% diversity: that is to say that half of your speakers are not male, white and heterosexual.
These are my terms and conditions. So I hope that clears that up. If you've come here because you've asked me to perform at your event, then I hope you'll agree to these terms. They're not complicated, unreasonable or daft, are they? They're not heroic either just common sense.
If you do think that they are unreasonable, then you should have a long hard look at why you're staging the event in the first place.