My sister and I have been dreaming about the opportunity to host an event for a few years now. A community of Black womxn moshing for Black joy and Black lives. Beautiful brown bodies moving to crazy metal music under the bright heat of a summer day. Having fun without a care in the world, even if the sensation only lasted for a few brief moments.
#Blkgrlswurld’s first ever Punk Fest was an amazing event as I personally witnessed the coming together of all these womxn having different effects on people. I watched skeptical faces at the Punks of Color Panel suddenly realize that there was substance and cultural value to what panelists were sharing through personal stories. I watched young womxn curious about live metal shows seeking guidance on how to safely attend local shows. I witnessed femme musicians watching each other’s performances and museum visitors becoming inspired by the Free Black Women’s Library.
Nothing gets us more excited than creating C-O-M-M-U-N-I-T-Y.
#Blkgrlswurld Punks of Color Panelists
#Blkgrlswurld Punks of Color Panelists
#Blkgrlswurld Sr. Editor Courtney L. Moderating the Punks of Color Panel on 9/27/2019 at ICA Philadelphia
Really enjoyed this episode which interviews three WoC authors. Give a listen by Clicking Here
“Martine Powers talks with N.K. Jemisin, Jasmine Guillory and Lauren Wilkinson about challenging narrow perceptions of race in literary genres. And Marian Liu on the segregation of American music awards.”
“Science fiction also faces the problem of inequality in the publishing industry. That’s why N.K. Jemisin chose to put black experiences of oppression in a distant, imagined future. She says, “In a lot of science-fiction stories, you know, the way that they choose to engage with [oppression] is by having aliens be oppressed.” Instead, Jemisin chooses to show how the black experience fares in the future with the “Broken Earth” series.”
From the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation website:
“ICA will bring NY-based artist Christina Long to ICA to curate a punk music festival and zine exhibition/fair consisting of women of color that will coincide with the Fierce Pussy exhibition on view at ICA from September 13, 2019 – December 22, 2019. Christina Long’s oeuvre spans printmaking, graphic design and film/video. She is currently the Senior Instructional Designer for Digital Learning at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, however she is probably best known as the founder and creative director of #Blkgrlswurld ZINE which she established in 2013 with her sister Courtney Long. #Blkgrlswurld is a press in Harlem that celebrates and documents women of color who participate in heavy music genres like Metalcore, Hardcore, Punk, and Black Metal. Fierce Pussy is a New York based queer art collective that formed in 1991 through their immersion in AIDS activism during a decade of increasing political mobilization around gay rights. They brought lesbian identity and visibility directly into the streets through low-tech and low-budget methods. Like Fierce Pussy, the zine world has adopted unconventional, readily accessible modalities to produce materials by which they share knowledge about pertinent social issues with others, while empowering women from all backgrounds in the process. This is a fascinating overlap in light of the use of technology today as a tool to mobilize marginalized groups.”
Like Roberta Flack’s song, ‘Killing Me Softly,’ music enthusiasts know that this feeling is a real thing that can happen around live music. Folks can suddenly break out dancing, laughing, cheering or crying.
Somehow, someway I found myself at the Baroness Show blubbering like a little kid. (Stone cold sober too.)
The line up was Zeal & Ardor, Deafheaven and Baroness. Baroness in particular has been a unicorn for me to catch live ever since their album ‘Purple’ was released in 2015. They’ve had shows in NYC plenty, but the timing never seemed right for me to witness their live show.
I didn’t know who Deafheaven was going into this event. As they stepped out on stage before Baroness, I waited patiently at the stage barricade skeptically. Good metal is hard to find.
I. Was. Not. Ready.
Black metal vocals of a traditional Nordic variety hit me along with a very American mix of alternative rock undertones. Even the band members reflected this style range in their attire. One guitarist looked similar to the lead singer of Weezer, while another member looked as if he just strolled out of Dethklok. Contemporary sounds whispering to the positive chord of Coldplay became overrun with the aggressive metal vocals. It was a sweet and salty buffet of dimension.
Average folks often assume that metal has no soul, no warmth- these guys were able to prove that sentiment wrong. As the slow moving crowd began to gently carry people above our heads, towards the stage- I had to wonder, who the hell were these guys?!
Deafheaven succeeded in putting a spell on the whole crowd and left me completely tongue tied. By the time Baroness began their set, it was almost too perfect. I felt like all my traveling this past year to Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Royal Open House could not touch what I had just witnessed.
In the new web series Shrill, Annie Easton (played by Aidy Bryant) is on a journey to explore self-acceptance and through that, find her voice. While the show has some key issues and plot holes, I respect that it can be a process that takes committed effort to build up internal self-acceptance; giving oneself the freedom to try new things and discover personal realizations.
Annie is what I would term ‘Baby Phat’ as she begins to dip her toes into body positivity and the womanhood of her 30s and 40s. Grown Ass Women are not born overnight, OK?
Shrill shares a truth that many fat girls discover as they become grown-ass women: Life goes on whether you’re fat or not. This is it, our one life to live. As we approach middle age it becomes more clear for most of us that we will always be overweight in some regard. Maybe we lose 15 pounds on the latest fad diet, maybe we gain it back 6 months later. One thing is for sure, after a certain point being overweight is just part of who we are. It’s part of our identity, it just is. And it won’t stop us from living and enjoying life. We will still swim and hike, strut in fashion shows, start our own businesses or choose to raise a family, etc. I have never believed the stereotypes that fat women are failing in some way, automatically poor or ignorant for ‘not taking care of themselves.’ Most likely because I’ve been fat for most of my life, and getting grown has still been fun, exciting and active for me.
Of course we want to be as healthy as anyone else, but we also recognize using the term ‘healthy’ in conversation can be code for suggesting a woman should want to become more attractive. Only guess what? A fat person can still be stylish, intelligent, and take care of themselves. In a world where people can be overweight for hundreds of reasons that are their own private business, fat-shaming is total bullshit.
My favorite scene in the series occurs during the third episode *SPOILERS* When the main character Annie in all her awkwardness is having trouble navigating whether she has the right of way to cross a street. While going through a range of indecision about when to disrupt car traffic, a stylish plus-size woman in an all red outfit, brushes past her and crosses the street without hesitation. This plus size ‘woman in red’ is confident, feminine and most importantly claiming her personal space. The woman’s energy is magnetic enough that it compels Annie to follow her for a couple blocks. Annie looks on in awe at how this woman carries herself, and as she peers on from a distance we can see she is wondering how she can get to that level of solid womanhood. The series allows us to follow Annie through that exploration, which I found pretty fun to witness. Glowing up is hard work.
I hope every woman gets to this point of realization. Life doesn’t start when you’re suddenly slim. We are all living right now, and deserve every bit of satisfaction and success as anyone else. ##