Filed under: Life....I wonder... | Tags: afro punk, black culture, diy, punk, subcultures, the other black experience
I dig Afro Punk. Anyone who has read my post Where You Been All My Life, knows just how dear and important this movement is to me. I have been an afro-punk all my life, but it’s hard for me to explain, because honestly I feel I owe no one an explanation for what I be. I cannot explain the depths of my being to you in a mere blog post so I won’t even attempt. I will say this though, within the Afro Punk community there are no stares, there is no judgement, there are no designated ‘tests’ or ‘indicators’ that reveal the ‘authenticity’ of your ‘blackness’, there is nothing but an irreverent respect for and nuturing of the the divine individuality present in us all, there is absolute freedom from what ‘they’ think you ought to look like, sound like, move like, and listen to. That is why my soul rests easy among the legions of those who embody this lifestyle. Among them I can be a ‘real’ black woman and be Takeema, something many folk I come across attempt to make me compromise daily.
While on the Afro Punk site, which I have just recently become a member of, I came across the post of a brotha expressing his displeasure and belief that the scene had been “hijacked by hipster scene kids”. No disrespect to him or his views but after reading I felt compelled to write. His main point of contention was that the scene is called Afro-PUNK but there was not enough focus on punk, metal and hardcore. He felt that there had been an influx of people jumping on the bandwagon just because it is now “trendy to be different and they don’t listen to rock music” He went on to say that if this is what is was going to be”…just change the name to Afro-funk or Afro-Electronica…” I had mixed feelings upon reading this.
I feel exactly where he’s coming from. There are those who walk the walk and talk the talk and have done so before it was “cool”, many have been ostracized, ridiculed, and have found a solace within this community that wasn’t available anywhere else. So what do you do when you see you’re community getting further and further away from it’s origins? It’s a lot like when your favorite underground artist gains mainstream popularity and your are subjected to the slow torture of watching them conform to a new audience and eventually….sell out. I feel him on that one, I really do, but then again in a community that is the personification of rebellious freedom, why the restriction of labels?
Punk itself is rooted in the philosphy of anti-establishment and homegrown DIY ideology. The key words are wild and rebellion. This type of mentalitiy can be and has been manifested musically in a myriad of forms. Blues, rock n roll, psychedelic rock, punk, funk, new wave, metal, hip-hop……wild, rebellious, against the grain expressions of the musical impulse. Even within the genre of “punk” there are several sub-genres, just as within the vast sea of human life no two beings are exactly the same. The tagline on the Afro Punk site is this “Afro Punk is a platform for the other Black experience, the one we don’t see in our media D.I.Y (Do It Yourself) is the foundation.” The concept of D.I.Y. deals heavily with reliance on independent effort. Musically it referred to the idea of bands distributing thier music independently, not dealing with big money contracts and studios, doing things thier own way on thier own terms. Applying this concept to a way of life, I take it to mean that I need not look to any source outside of myself to provide me with a structure on which to base my identity. I create myself in my own way on my own terms.
With that being said, it would be a sad thing to let elitism and exsclusivity permeate a community such as this one. The scene jacking hipsters who don’t live what they talk about will not last long because real recognizes real. I have no doubt in my mind that once the breezes of trendiness change direction, which they always do, the flakes will float off right along with it. The spirit of Afro Punk, if anything, is enriched and fortified by the diversity of those souls which gravitate towards it. I’ll end this with the comment of a sista who replied to the brotha’s remarks….
“…….I agree the stronger emphasis at the root, is punkrock, but I can’t be mad at the rebellions of other non-pop genres against the status quo feeling at home in the AP community. I think it’s beautiful; an expansive ‘Other Black Experience’ for wavers of various kinds of freak flags. Shine on”
Filed under: Cool ppl, Dopeness, Jamz | Tags: afro punk, Afropunk 2009, AP Festival 2009, elevator fight, game rebellion, janelle monae, live performances, maishya, music, saul williams, shinobi ninja, the oOohh baby gimme mores
Yo, yall know ya girl is an afro punk at heart, the festival has came and gone and I missed it, sad face. I swear I’m going to be there next year and even though I’m moving out to Californ-I-A( yeah baby!) I WILL make that trip cross country, trust and believe. For your viewing pleasure, some knock down, drag out, dope azz performances……….
THAT VOICE!!!!! She’s signed to Bad Boy, i’m gonna need someone to whisk her away immediately, before she ends up like the rest of P. Shitty’s outcasts
Look at my girl Zoe Kravitz rockin out like her daddy, i ain’t mad at her she definitely gets it from her mama……
Yo!!!!!! You better sing that Montell Jordan
This brotha is the truth, true ARTIST. Saul is my dude….
These dudes go hard…..this is my jam too
I’ve never heard of her before, but chick is bad tho
These young gentlemen right here is the bizness, nuff said
***UPDATE: READ THIS POST IF YOU LIKE, IT’S ALL GOOD, BUT CHECK OUT AFRO PUNK 2009 POST, FOR SOME REASON ALL SEARCHES FOR AFRO PUNK ARE DIRECTED TO THIS POST BUT THE NEWER ONE HAS BETTER VIDS****PEACE
Aight so I ,might be a little late, but I heart Afro Punk. Big time. More than big time. The Afro punk movement embodies the spirit of my youthly rebellion. My disrobing of all the cloaks society forced me to wear. It gives it a voice, and better yet a face. A face, that for once, resembles my own. I’m not one for pity parties, so don’t expect one here, but i’ll just say growing up in North Carolina was no cakewalk. Bigotry and racist ideology exists everywhere, but it was perfected in the south .
I was heavy into the grunge, skate punk ,whateva-u wanna-call it scene for a hot minute during my early adolescence and teenage years; Nirvana, Korn, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Stone Temple Pilots, Our Lady Peace, Nine Inch Nails, Limp Bizkit, Incubus, The Donnas, Veruca Salt, A Perfect Circle….these was my dawgs. I try not to label myself ,and as you come to know me you will see that my personal tastes are a mash up a myriad of influences. The only generalization I can give myself is I like it funky…nuff said. I grew up in Fayetteville, NC , the gateway of the south. If you know about the south, then you already know we tend to lag behind our northern and western counterparts when it comes to thinking progressively. Nowadays it’s cool to be black and “different”, but in my neck of the woods black people didn’t just do anything. Growing up I heard the following statements like they were actually factual; black people don’t listen to that, black people don’t wear that , black people don’t talk like that, black people don’t skateboard, black people don’t wear blue eye shadow, black people don’t hang out with that many white people, and the list ,unfortunately, goes on. I was picked on mercilessly by peers and told by my parents that I needed to get some more black friends so I could act normally. I was called a race traitor, ostracized from my ethnic group because I did not fit the perception of what a young black girl should be. The shit sucked, and I developed quite an identity crisis from the fall out of being misunderstood and emotionally crucified for something as simple as the music you choose to jam to. But big girls don’t cry, they get even by growing up to be educated and fantabulous. I’m grown enough to know now that despite you’re color or ethnic affiliation, there’s just some things that move the soul. If you’re true to yourself, you let it move you. I’m grown enough to know that at one time in this country white radio stations wouldn’t play rock n roll. I’m educated enought to know that rock n roll is rooted in the rhythym and blues, black music. Being a black woman who is proud of her heritage has taken time. Those who sought to break me down in my youth, had me under the false impression that I was the wrong color for my soul. I’m not trying to be elitist in any way, but black people possess a creative, innovative, unique,and wonderfully complex culture. We are no better than any other group of people on GOD’S green earth, but when we do something, we got a flair that’s hard to ignore. We have a style that has permeated the core of mainstream America since the days of the minstrel show. Music has always played a large part in my life; in my home, the church choir, school chorus , birthdays, funeral’s, cookouts, family get togethers ,whatever, whenever, music was there. Even though I’m a a writer I can’t conjure the exact phrase to express the value of music in my life. For every scene of my earthly journey, there’s a song. Every crush, every love affair, every moment of joy, every moment of sorrow, every party, when i go to sleep, and when i wake up in the morining, a song is there. Black music is all music. Black music is deep, soulful, fast as furious, soft and sweet, electronic, organic, funky, jazzy, classy and country. Black music is turntables, banjos, steel drums,electric guitars and synthesizers. Black music is my music and I love it all. Nothing makes me more proud of my people than when I see us being the creative forces we are, despite what people tell us we’re not supposed to be or do. Afro Punk you make the little girl inside me that was broken feel whole again. You make me want to stand up on a rooftop and shout like i’ve caught the holy ghost. I heart you.