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.

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 😘

Music, Zines & Riso Machines

Phew! We spent the 1st four months of this year printing and editing new work and now we’re ready to share it with you \m/ this is the 1st year my sibs and I have Really dug deeply into the purpose of the zine and what inspires us to keep it going. Up until this season, we’d usually only focus on the project 2-3 times a year for a few weeks, collecting drawings and writings from our sketchbooks and building something collaborative.  In January we heard about a Zine making/small press course at the School of Visual Arts and jumped in with both feet!

So What is a Risograph?

Well, you could term it one of those things that’s so mundane, its cool again. Risograph is a brand of digital duplicators manufactured from Japan since the 1980s. Intended for high volume office printing like Xerox machine were, they have mainly been marketed to law firms and city offices where 1000s of text heavy pages are printed daily.

Printmakers and designers have warmed up to these machines due to their archival ink quality and soft textures that can occur from the rice paper master (A fine stencil the ink passes through) the machine creates to duplicate files. With soy based inks and rice paper stencils, its quite the toxic free endeavor in comparison to the intense chemicals, varnishes and alcohols many of us have been managing in traditional printmaking processes.

The average riso machine usually only holds 2 ink colors at a time, so 4 color printing requires registering your prints and switching out ink tanks. At times its hard to imagine business folk in suits actually get this manual in an office but thats still its main function. LOL!

During my season at the SVA Riso Lab, I printed on various weights of paper and sticker sheets. Overall I found the process of editioning with these machines really fast and efficient, but at the same time lacking the monotype flexibility I’m able to accomplish during a screenprinting session. I gotta admit I missed getting a little dirty in the shop, but that’s my printmaker side I guess. Working with these machines in a clean environment created a medicinal setting. Where’s the screen emulsion, litho stone sander and liquid screen filler?

In dedicating a good few months to developing the zine at the School of Visual Arts Riso Lab, projects were difficult at times, and we uncovered the best parts of zine making. The Music! Our zine will always be a way to share our excitement for heavy music, we live it and breathe it from the way we dress, to the things we read, write and of course stream on our stereos. We are proud punks of color who cant help but talk your ear off about the latest bands and albums and we hope our readers get as geeked about this stuff as we do. For as long we rock to this music and mosh out at shows, there will be  zine. *See you in the pit!*

Upcoming Events Featuring Our Books:

#SummoningtheArchive Print Fest @ NYU |  Saturday, May 13th from 2-5pm at 20 Cooper Square. Details

BABZ Fair ( Bushwick Art Book & Zine Fair) | Friday, June 2, 7–9PM: by invitation only
Saturday, June 3, 1–7PM: free & open to the public
Sunday, June 4, 1–7PM: free & open to the public

Where:
Knockdown Center
52-19 Flushing Ave
Queens, New York 11378

 

Pushing Through The Pain for Trivium

When you’re as passionate about live music as I am, having an invisible illness can really put a damper on getting out to shows. That’s why it’s such a special moment when I find a band that’s worth the pain and hustle it can take to stand for hours in a hot and sweaty club theater surrounded by the moshing energy I enjoy.

I’ve been collecting Trivium albums since early 2005 and this Irving Plaza show was my first chance at seeing them live. I arrived early enough to catch some of Sabaton’s set and patiently waited for Trivium to begin. Slowly approaching my 30’s its become more difficult to stand still for hours in converse sneakers without getting a leg cramp. I’m all oooooold and shit w/ autoimmune drama 😦 ugh…Anyways,  after 30 minutes of standing around for band set up, the lights suddenly went low and the crowd started freaking out; prepping for circle pits etc. when I immediately I got one of the most painful Charlie Horses I’ve ever had. Shiiiiiiit..

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As one of my fav bands began to play, I stood there in excruciating pain trying to decide if walking towards the exit would make the injury worse. I attempted standing on one leg as still as possible in a sea of moshers (all that shoving helped prop me up) to wait and see if the pain would subside. Luckily after about 15 minutes, I was able to stand again and remember that I was at a fucking Trivium show for a reason. I looked at the crowd, looked at the band, peered back at the crowd again and decided to stay – they sounded Really good live and eventually i was able to leave the show without limping through east village.

I’m glad I stayed for the show because they were worth it, and if it had been any other band my ass would’ve immediately been in an Uber to home. These guys make me want to practice my mandolin more than ever and strive to be a better artist. \m/

Architects New Album Out Today for U.S.A.

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I’m so proud of the Architects guys for releasing their latest album ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’ today in the States.

blkgrlswurld w/ Architechs masterminds Tom and Dan, Warped Tour 2013

blkgrlswurld w/ Architechs masterminds Tom and Dan, Warped Tour 2013

They are the last band from my college days that I personally supported as a fan and fellow musician. In earlier days of the Midwest metalcore scene, it was common for bands to fall apart in less than 2 years from loss of confidence and personal drama.

To help combat this my little sister and I would do our best to encourage the bands we liked most to keep making music, and stick with tough cross country touring so we could see them again. It became really important to not just support DIY band merch, but to help keep their self confidence up if the audience wasn’t sold yet on their musical style.

blkgrlswurld w/ Architects lead vocalist Sam Carter in NYC, 2014

blkgrlswurld w/ Architects lead vocalist Sam Carter in NYC, 2014

We’d meet up after shows, chatting over what was good about that nights performance and where they could improve; provide them snacks, candy and care packages for the road ;P it was a lot. So when bands like Architects would come back to town a year later saying they were still committed to this music it was a huge deal.

Glad to see how far we’ve all come from a little music community that no one thought would last over a decade or become such an international movement. We’ve all grown so much and their latest work ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’ speaks for many of us.
🙂

 

Architects Tour USA this year and will be in NYC on August 5th, 2016: Architects, Counterparts at The Gramercy Theatre

NYC Summer Metal Line Ups

The Metal this summer season is heavy this year for the East Coast. I’m really bummed at all the great bands coming through like Deftones and Architects that I’ll miss during my August trip abroad, but I will be catching Manson and Slipknot at the beach 🙂 Plus Warped Tour is crazy heavy for 2016 with dozens of #metalcore bands rocking middle America and AFRO PUNK’s lineups are heavenly as well. For even more metal show listings check out Matt’s site nycmetalscene.com

Listen, grab tix early to keep costs down and if you can’t make it later just resell them online. \m/

May 17th, 2016: The Sword, Purson, From Beyond at Brooklyn Bowl

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Alesana at Webster Hall, 2015

May 17th, 2016: Lamb of God at The Paramount 

May 18th, 2016: Filter, Orgy, Vampires Everywhere, Death Valley High at Brooklyn Bowl

May 20, 2016: Apocalyptica, 10 Years, Failure Anthem at Irving Plaza

May 21, 2016: Emo Night at Irving Plaza

May 30, 2016 Discharge, Eyehategod, Toxic Holocost at Webster Hall

June 3, 2016: Gov Ball, The Strokes,The Killers, Death Cab for Cutie, Beck, Bloc Party and more.

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Levitate Tour Poster, 2016

June 4, 2016: WAX IDOLS & KING WOMAN: LEVITATE TOUR, w/ Primitive Weapons @ Saint Vitus, Brooklyn.

June 4, 2016: WSOU presents: Hatebreed, Devildriver, Devil You Know, Ashes Of Your Enemy at Starland Ballroom

June 6, 2016: Beartooth, Sylar at Webster Hall

June 8, 2016: PVRIS, North American Headline Tour w/ Lydia, CRUSIR at Webster Hall

June 10, 2016: Sworn Enemy, Maniac Rise at The Studio at Webster Hall

June 11, 2016: Punk Rock Bowling and Music Fest featuring: Descendents, Dag Nasty, Subhumans, H2O etc at Asbury Park

June 15, 2016: Unlocking The Truth (Album Release Show) at the Studio at Webster Hall

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June 16, 2016: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus “Don’t You Fake It” 10-Year Anniversary at Webster Hall

June 17, 2016: Blue Oyster Cult at B.B. Kings Times Square

June 18, 2016: Rockstar Energy Drink Presents Taste Of Chaos – Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY: Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, Saosin, Motion City Soundtrack, The Early November

June 18, 19, and 20, 2016: The Cure at Madison Square Garden

June 19th, 2016: Punk Island Fest: All Day – All Ages – All Free on Governor’s Island

July 2nd, 2016:  The Iggy Pop Festival at Lucky 13 Saloon *Free event*

July 6th, 2016: Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Of Mice & Men at Jones Beach Theater

July 6th, 2016: letlive., Seahaven, Silver Snakes, Night Verses at Irving Plaza

July 9th, 2016: Vans Warped Tour at Jones Beach Theater  feat. Every Time I Die, Emarosa, Oceans Ate Alaska, Sum 41, The Color Morale, The Word Alive, Whitechapel

July 15th, 2016: Jane’s Addiction – 25 years of Ritual de lo Habitual at The Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk

blkgrlswurld, christina long art, mfa, saic, zine, nyc, afropunk fest, warped tour, rock, metalcore, black girls rock, www.christinalongart.com

Afro Punk Fest, Brooklyn 2015

July 22-24: Panorama Fest on Randall’s Island, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes, FKA Twigs and more…

July 30th, 2016: Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, Alter Bridge, Saint Asonia at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

August 5th, 2016: Deftones, Refused at The Amphitheater at Coney Island

August 5th, 2016: Architects, Counterparts at The Gramercy Theatre

August 10th, 2016: Deftones, Refused at Stone Pony Summer Stage

August 13th, 2016: The Go-Go’s Farewell Tour at Central Park Summer Stage

August 27, 28, 2016: AFROPUNK FEST at Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn. Featuring Janelle Monae, Cee-Lo Green, Ice Cube, The Internet, George Clinton, Saul Williams, Trash Talk, Tyler the Creator, TV on the Radio, Living Colour, Bad Brains

xoxo!

#Blkgrlswurld on Alternative Arts Panel @ The New School

#blkgrlswurld zine, by Christina Long

#blkgrlswurld zine, by Christina Long

#‎Blkgrlswurld‬ Zine is looking forward to joining host Laina Dawes and some amazing ladies of the various underground scenes later this month at The New School. These are going to be some lively panels so don’t miss out! We’ll be chatting on the panel titled, “Are You Quirky? Challenging the Status Quo in Arts and Culture”

Women CLAP BACK in Music and the Arts

Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Klein Conference Room, Room A510, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall Room 510, 66 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011

“This one-day symposium features writers, activists, musicians, and creative artists whose presence as women of color, queer, trans* and/or gender non-conforming enables them to clap back to patriarchal, sexist, and racially intolerant creative spaces today.”

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