PUNK BLACK Brings the ATL Scene to NYC

We first discovered the PUNK BLACK collective on Instagram a couple years back. Instagram has become a great repository of 15-30 sec clips of underground music captured in real-time from all over the globe. When I saw these little snippets of this Atlanta, Georgia based community moshing and rocking out in Cosplay – I sensed they were on to something heavy, gritty, and real for young folks of color. Each year the collective explores new ways to engage local youth and share an underground truth most people don’t know. More Black and Brown youth in America than you realize love rock music. From punk to death metal, it’s actually a thing. And though thousands of us can’t meet up as often we’d like, when we do, its a beautiful moment of braids flying, hips swaying and faces glowing.

PUNK BLACK (PB) is expanding its reach this summer by presenting an NYC music fest in Brooklyn on August 22, 2018. As Von Phoenix, one of PB’s founders tells it, “We’d like to create a space in NY were PoC can feel at home while doing what they love, as well as plant the seeds for a PB Chapter in New York. Not to mention we want to have fun (maybe, *ahem* get a little sauced) and see some kick ass bands.”

We asked Von about the upcoming NYC event, and how the collective came to be. Check it out.


Who founded the PUNK BLACK collective?

The original founders of PUNK BLACK (PB) are Kharis Ellison – age 26, Arkkade Kult – age 38, Jamee Cornelia- age 25, and myself Von Phoenix – age 28. There are 6 of us in the primary collective not counting contributors.

What inspired you to create Punk Black and the need for more representation in the scene?

I discovered rock music around age 12, and I noticed right away that I didn’t see many People of Color (POC) in main stream bands. Around that time I was still trapped in the notion that Rock music was created by white people, and POC weren’t really fond of it. This of course made me feel even more like the odd man out, and unfortunately fueled my self-hate phase at the time. It wasn’t until I started a band at the end of high school did I realize how bad the lack of representation was on the scene. Being an all Black band we got all kinds of looks, condescending remarks, and general hate.PUNK bLACK QUOTE

Was Cosplay always a part of the Atlanta Punk Scene? The collective seems to fill a need for youth interested in all things alternative, was that a natural progression?

Not that I know of. I definitely know a lot of cosplayers who like punk, and a lot of punk fans who like cosplay/anime/comics. It was a natural progression for us, as most of the collective grew up being influence by anime, and our designs have always been anime influenced.

About Community organizing, was finding space for shows and funding new projects something you had previous experience doing?

Definitely not. We had played a lot of shows before the first PB, but we had never really put on our own show, let alone organize a monthly event.

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Photo courtesy of PUNK BLACK

Access to creative space is one of the key barriers for artists in NYC, how was it navigating venues in Atlanta?

When we started in 2015 it was a lot easier to find venues in ATL, but as time goes on it’s getting more and more difficult. We normally like to use a combination of house and DIY venues but as the siege of gentrification intensifies, we lose more venues. Over the last year we’ve luckily found a home base at Union EAV, which has been an awesome help to the movement.

When did you first get the idea to launch an event in NYC and what drew you to this city?

NY has always been one of the places we thought about setting up another chapter of PB, but it was when we were contacted by Mecca Shabazz earlier this year that we realized we could actually make it happen. She’s now our NY event director, and our eyes in New York. New York’s new scene is definitely what drew us to the city. It’s been the birthplace of things like Punx of Color, AfroPunk, and dope ass bands over the years. (Shout out to Shinobi Ninja).

Are there a couple organizations out there you admire? Why do you admire them?

Definitely Southern Fried Queer Pride (SFQP) in Atlanta and Punx of Color in New York. SFQP promotes and features the LGBT art community through events and festivals, and their style and the way they run things is really dope. I’ve been following Punx of Color for a few years now, and though I haven’t been able to make it to an event I can tell that do great work for punks of color. It shows not only in the numbers, but in the reactions of the community they serve. I’ve only seen and heard good things about them, and after speaking with Gayla Brooks I can tell they try to do what’s best for the community as a whole. I think both of these organizations think about the community first, which is one of the hardcore reasons I dig them both as well.

Blk Grl Summer Skincare Tips

Hi Lovelies! Have you ever found yourself combing through the skincare aisle of your local CVS or Walgreens store, unsure of where to start? Maybe you’ve even bought a couple of things only to find your skin breaking out or getting even dryer from these over the counter products.
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This post will cover the most common ingredients to avoid when looking for gentle and effective cleansers, moisturizers, and toners that are perfect for humid, sticky, summertime.

From there we will also look at light-wearing summer foundations/BB creams with SPF that are gentle on the skin.

Extra Dry/ Dry Combination Skin

I have some of the most sensitive and dry skin around – I know there must be others out there like me, there must be!

In fact I’m sensitive to the most common ingredients used to alleviate dry skin. These products might not break you out with acne or hives like they have to me, but if you’ve tried a cream or face mask only to discover redness, irritation or dry patches, you might be having a reaction to key ingredients like:

  • Glycerin  (A suspect any time a bottle is labeled “Super Hydrating” or “Extreme Moisture”
  • Aloe Vera
  • Silicone/Silicates
  • Mineral Oil
  • Nutty additives (Almond oil, macadamia oil, sunflower seed oil, etc.)
  • Wheat Germ (Gluten)
  • Acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide / salicylic acid
  • Chemical filter sunscreens with active ingredients like: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.

There are products on the market that don’t have any of the ingredients listed above, but you’ll have to read every package to confirm. (Sephora clerks only know so much…)

So now that we know what to avoid, what the heck will work on our skin?

Gentle Cleansers

The Avene brand is a good place to start. Based is France with a focus on pure spring water as the active ingredient in most of its products. Avene has helped me restore my skin from months of mistakes in the sun and other allergic reactions.

Dove, Sensitive Skin Bar

Avene, Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Make-up Remover

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm is a satisfying way to rinse makeup off without drying out my skin.

*Remember to gently pat your skin dry with a clean cloth, and don’t use steaming hot water that expands pores.*

Spring water misting throughout the day helps keep skin hydrated and refreshes your makeup. Of course any brand of spring water works, I often carry bottled spring water in a little mist bottle. 

Toner

Clinique’s most gentle toners (1) and (2) are great for T-zone areas in the height of a sweaty, humid summer. Used twice a day with a cotton pad, it will expoliate those shiny areas without drying out the skin.

Clinque 3 Step Toners

Avene, Cleanance MAT. Mattifying Toner (Will bring down shine if you plan to apply make up after moisturizing.)

*Dry skin responds better to liquid based exfoliating blends rather than using face scrubs or brushes that irritate the skin and expand dry patches.*

Moisturizing and SPF Sun Protection

Black girls listen up, protecting your skin from the sun daily can reduce uneven discoloration and dark patches. Learn why mineral filter sunscreens are more gentle.

It’s true, most sunscreens leave a white chalky cast of product on darker skin (caused by its SPF active ingredient, Titanium Dioxide). One way around that is by combining your sunscreen with a smooth moisturizer like Clinique’s Moisture Surge Gel.

Clinique, Dramatically Different™ Hydrating Jelly

Neutrogena Sensitive Skin, Oil-Free Moisturizer

Light, open moisture for the body: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Vaseline Intensive Care Body Lotion, Avocado, Jojoba Oil

BB Creams and Foundations w/ SPF

Summer is dewy makeup season, no point in caking on a bunch of product that will melt off on the subway.

Our fav BB creams this season not only match our caramel complexion, but also feature the safest mineral based sunscreen ingredients. (Seriously if you find yourself breaking out after 1 day in the sun, you’re using the wrong kind of sunscreen.)

Start with a Primer in the T-Zone to help secure the B.B. cream throughout a long day. We use a Cover FX one since majority of our cosmetics come from that brand.

bareMinerals COMPLEXION RESCUE™ Tinted Moisturizer, SPF 30 

Clinique, Super City Block™ BB Liquid Compac SPF 50: Goes to the office with me for after 5pm touch ups as I skip further downtown for evening events in Manhattan.

*Everyone wants you to apply these with your hands but brushes or beauty sponges provide better control.

*Costs: Don’t buy a big bottle of anything before getting a smaller trail version first. You don’t want a $35 bottle of toner sitting around you can’t use.

Bonus Tip: Need a beat face for a special event? You can add a deep translucent setting powder to this routine and a setting spray (or spring water) to secure the look on those hot summer nights.
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Pre-Order Our Summer Zine

Ahh, it’s crazy y’all. We tried a new printer this time and we are so pleased with the bright colors and glossy pics.

Only did a short run of 30 copies for now but we’ll probably print more for live events as the season kicks off. Keeping our prices under $10 for the youth so head over to Etsy to see the deets on this fun and fresh #blkgrlswurld zine 😘

NYC Feminist Zine Fest @ Barnard 3/7/18

Catch us tabling at the next NYC Feminist Zine Fest this March 😀
We’ll have new merch, zines, coloring books and stickers. (Gonna hide our own wallet to keep us from buying all the other cool things women have been making this season, lol.) I’m gonna go broke for sure!
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Saturday, March 7, 2015
12 – 6 PM
James Room, 4th Floor Barnard Hall
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“The Feminist Zine Fest showcases the work of artists and zine makers of all genders who identify on the feminist spectrum, and whose politics are reflected in their work. For the second consecutive year, Barnard proudly hosts the zine fest, welcoming approximately 40 zine-makers eager to share their work. Home of the renowned Barnard Zine Library, the College is the ideal site to feature some of the boldest, most original and creative examples of micropublishing. The event is coordinated by Barnard’s zine librarian Jenna Freedman, Jordan Alam ’13, and other zine makers, including Feminist Zine Fest cofounder Elvis Bakaitis, author and artist of the Homos in Herstory minicomics series. Free tables are available to zine-makers interested in exhibiting their work” https://feministzinefestnyc.wordpress.com/

Photo Apr 05, 8 07 47 PM

#blkgrlswurld, Risograph prints, 2017

#Blkgrlswurld featured in Tom Tom Magazine :D

Yassss! Tom Tom is a magazine for female drummers and musicians, and we’ve been featured in their 31st issue! It’s based in NYC and it does so much great work inspiring women musicians and kicking serious ass in the rock scene. We are so honored they took an interest in our Black Girls Dreaming Coloring Book and chose to feature a review of that work by writer, Lola Johnson. Thank you Tom Tom Mag 😀

You can order their latest issue Online HERE

Print versions are available across the nation in shops like Barnes and Nobel. Check out more of the funky femme talent they’ve been dishing at http://tomtommag.com/

The Acacia Strain Deliver A Properly Heavy Summer

If you ever catch us on Instagram, you’ll know we’ve been headbanging at the heaviest NYC metal shows all summer. Much of it having to do with saying goodbye to our fav venue, Webster Hall, set to close for the next 18 months and less likely to book heavy music when it reopens. Another safe haven for new metalbands lost to corporate takeovers, grr.

I’d been patiently waiting for east coast band, The Acacia Strain to finish up the Vans Warped Tour this year and bring on the jams to NYC, when I heard about a new album they were dropping in late June. Yassss. Idunno what it is about doomy metalcore music, but what I like most about their style are the playful moments in their songs when the time signatures get screwy and unpredictable. This doesn’t happen as often as say, a composition from The Dillinger Escape Plan, but I enjoy the surprise when Acacia Strain explores this.

 

I found their newest album, Gravebloom to be their most polished project so far. A quality to the recording and mastering that leaves previous works like Coma Witch sounding more scratchy unfinished somehow. Not that there’s anything wrong witha rougher sound but, its nice to hear an artist tightening up their craft and focusing on the best elements of their songwriting.

Nothing trumps hearing their songs live, but Gravebloom has some great moments – enough to be added to our #blkgrlswurld Spotify playlist.

Songs we enjoyed from this album include, “Bitter Pill”, “Abyssal Depths”, and “Cold Gloom.” They each have a churning heaviness in their rhythm, the sort that makes you wanna stomp around the mosh pit like some 100ft Godzilla…or you know, in your living room wearing pajamas while growling at your cat. For me, this sort of metal is cathartic, calming and allows me to rest. I realize others have more stimulating reactions, lol- the point is, The Acacia Strain’s latest work is quite satisfying and a great soundtrack for our summer in this big ‘ol city.

I look forward to catching them touring this live.

##blkgrlswurld

Books and Conversations

 


Zine Event June 27th @ Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Ahhh! Our fav Harlem spot to uncover Black history is hosting a zine event this week and we’ll have a table 😀 😀 😀 Tuesday, June 27, 2017, Zine Fair from 4-6pm followed by Panel Talk at 6:30 p.m.

We love every chance to expose young brown folks to alternative music and media that represents and validates our shared quirky, sometimes geeky interests. #PUNXSOFCOLOR

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Zines: Elaborate Disruption and Black Creativity

“The resurgence of zines—self-published limited-distribution works—is stemming the tide of erasure, disrupting publishing, and offering creative spaces for diverse voices within marginalized communities. Remembering zines like FIRE!!, created in 1926 and “devoted to the young negro artist,” author Steven G. Fullwood will join in conversation with contemporary zine creators Devin N. Morris (3 Dot Zine), Nontsikelelo Mutiti (Nontsi), Kevin Harry (KHzines), and Jermel Moody (maple:koyo) to elaborate on their zine-making practices and impact on publishing and creativity. The program will also feature a marketplace of zines selected in collaboration with Morris, Moody, and the Schomburg Shop.

FIRE!! contributors included Harlem Renaissance figures Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Aaron Douglas.

@SchomburgCenter #SchomburgZineFair

First come, first seated

For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. All registered seats are released 15 to 30 minutes before start time, so we recommend that you arrive early.”

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture | 515 Malcolm X Boulevard | New York, NY 10037

#heavygirlsloveheavymusic