Step 1. Ask yourself: “Why was I born into the world?”
Step 2. Force yourself to come up with an answer that contains a verb.
Step 3. Do that. And never stop.
So what is it with bookers in this city booking bands by color rather than musical style? That’s really never happened to me before but since my return, that’s all that’s happened and I really want to know why the rock bookers in this city actually think that is even remotely acceptable. If you listened to my music and saw a picture of a white woman on my websites and in my videos you wouldn’t put me on a hip hop night or an r&b night or a night with all Black or Asian bands playing some form of hip hop, r&b or electronic music. But that’s all I get. There is this one booker who was like “I’ll get you a show and I have the perfect band for you to play with.” I listened to their music and it was really nothing like mine but, oh, they were Black women. I guess in her eyes that made us “perfect” to play together. Because I know every band with White guys in it is perfect to play together regardless of the actual style of music that they make.
What is your problem, White bookers? Are you really that myopic that as soon as you see someone isn’t White, you scour your backlog of bands to find the brownest people for them to play with? Are you dumbasses? Why is that a thing? The rock scene in this city really is the absolute worst. I don’t think I will even be playing here anymore. I make more money in the subways and I don’t have to put up with the disrespect of these lame bookers who expect you to kiss their ass just to get a gig. No, I am not going to explain to you how many people I can draw on a Sunday night at 2am go fuck yourself. I’m not playing that game. Not with my music at this point in my career. Anyway it’s not like the rock venues in this city will even book me. Cameo, Trash, Cake Shop…they only want “connected” bands that won’t upset their White hipster sensibilities. Can’t get drunk on PBR and give BJs in the bathroom when some Black chick is on stage talking about her minority issues.
I think White bookers don’t know what to do. There are more and more rock bands with people of color in them and more and more of us don’t feel the need to censor ourselves and keep things “safe and non threatening” for White audiences. I feel like the inane phenomenon of booking bands by race is a bit like insurance, so if any acts start, Idunno, burning White people in effigy like all of us crazed PoC militants tend to do at our shows, they can be sure the audience won’t mind, but they can also keep the White band’s audiences lily white. Because most White bands and acts don’t have diverse audiences. Certain do but most don’t. Booking PoC bands with White bands would change that. It would also expose PoC bands to press and a wider audience and god knows that can never happen. What would the community think?!
I’m tired of being marginalized in every fucking arena. When I have put together a night of Black bands, it is with the expressed interest of giving Black bands a stage and an audience to do what we like on our own terms and to be in the center of things; not in the periphery. These bookers are doing the opposite. It’s lazy and offensive. Me defining myself as a Black artist is different than you doing it for me and deciding what that should entail, including who I should play with, when and where. The latter is limiting. The former is not.
I’d really like for there to be a Black run or at least PoC run arts venue, by PoC that are not crazy from being ravaged by internalized racism and just want to showcase art by PoC who really couldn’t give a flying shit about White people liking them or “crossing over”. Who gives a fuck about “crossing over”? What, am I making art or visiting the afterlife? It should have an emphasis on booking PoC bands that make music outside of R&B and hip hop. It’s like you have to have some element of those genres in your music for people to even look at you. Like if there is something, anything about you that is unfamiliar to them, you are not worth touching. That is bullshit. I’m tired of the disrespect and the marginalization and the having to behave like a panting housepet to get a fucking gig. It’s absurd. Especially when all these venues are smack dab in the middle of Black and Latino neighborhoods. Ironic, isn’t it? There was one venue where the website was all about “creating” with the “community” and there were all these smiling, happy Negroes and Latinos. I wrote and it was bullshit. Turns out I could play a gig there. If I shelled out about 500 bucks for the space. One other Black run venue in Clinton Hill actually asked me of upwards of 1000 to play. And wanted me to provide security. Why would I need to pay for security? I’ll let you simmer on that one for a bit.
In short, everyone is an idiot. Good day.
Angry. Angry. That word. Am I supposed to fear it? That word is always thrown at me at opportune moments. I have detected, over the years, a pattern. When I behave in a way that you don’t expect. When I stand up for myself. When you are threatened by the fact that when you look at me, you don’t feel dominant or superior, you call me “angry”. But you don’t say it with fear. Not fear for your safety, at least. It leaves your lips with a “hisssss”. Then you sit back, satisfied. As though you have accomplished something. You are contented. Why?
When you are at the bottom of the sexual, racial and ethnic Western social hierarchy, as I am, you learn very quickly that EVERYONE depends on your staying at the bottom. It’s like a sick cheerleaders pyramid. When the ones kneeling on the bottom, with everyone’s weight on their backs, decide to stand up, what happens to the ones above them? Exactly.
It’s quite depressing to know that 90% of the people in the society in which you live depend on you feeling ashamed, inadequate, ugly, stupid and inept in order for them to feel confident and strong. To know that strangers have a vested interest in your failure … It just makes them feel good to think that at the end of the day, you’ve still amounted to nothing. That is my life. Fielding attacks for not being worthless. Being in a near constant state of defensiveness because I am not stupid or ugly or inept and refuse to pretend to be for others who aim to elevate themselves by standing upon my back.
I am Black. I am a woman. I am an African. AND YOU ARE NOT SUPERIOR TO ME. Why does that make you mad? Why does that make you want to attack? Why are you so fucked up and insane?
I started a new job and there is a young Black guy I work with. Black American men almost invariably react towards me in the same way. They are ALL suspicious of me and about 80% outright hostile on sight, making inane assumptions about my class and personality before I even open my mouth. I’m sure he did all of these things but fortunately was one of the 20% that was not hostile but friendly and conversational. That is until I was speaking to him and used the word “recalcitrant”. He made a joking comment about it being a “big word”, then let it go. Or so I thought, because within literally 45 SECONDS out of NOWHERE he made some flippant comment about something I said being “White people shit”. Now, I am used to this, but I am not in middle school or high school anymore and I have literally not had a Black person accuse me of “acting white” in over 10 years. I am a grown ass woman. I just refuse to deal with that garbage at this point in my life. So I just shut it down by saying “Well I am a Black person so I don’t even know what that means.” and left it at that.
This country is a fucking bitch. Being talented and intelligent works against you if you are a Black woman. If you don’t have to deal with ignorant, inferiority complex having Black people who are on this “Blackpeepo d’on’ reed! Blackpeepo dondoodis! Lookatchu, uthinkuhighclass!” , etc. – Btw, why do so many Black people in this country believe that to be “authentically Black” means to be illiterate and lack the ability to speak your native language correctly? Because last time I checked, Black people were the only people in history who were threatened with torture and death if they learned how to read and write AND RISKED DEATH AND TAUGHT THEMSELVES HOW TO DO IT ANYWAY AND OPENED UP THEIR OWN SCHOOLS SO THEY COULD BE EDUCATED AND GRADUATED COLLEGE AND BECAME POETS AND DOCTORS AND LAWYERS BEFORE SLAVERY WAS EVEN OFFICIALLY ABOLISHED IN 1865 BUT MAYBE THAT NEVER HAPPENED OH OK MY BAD PLEASE PROCEED IN MISPRONOUNCING YOUR ENTIRE LIFE.
What a sista gotta to to operate with some standards in this country? CAN I EVEN FUCKING HAVE STANDARDS? IS THAT OK, FUCKWADS?
So as if dealing with crazy internalized white supremacist Black people isn’t enough, I have to deal with White supremacist white people as well. My generation has a new kind of White person to contend with, in addition to the old. They won’t openly hate you like their parents and grandparents. They smile at you and voted for Obama. They are the new breed of “OH BLACK PEOPLE I LIKE THOSE THEY HAVE COOL HAIR THEY ARE FINE AS LONG AS THEY ARE CLEAN AND USE FUNNY CATCHPHRASES AND DON’T KNOW THINGS THAT I DON’T KNOW AND CAN’T DO THINGS THAT I CAN’T DO AND BEHAVE AND DRESS EXACTLY THE WAY I SAY THEY SHOULD AND HAVE NO BOUNDARIES AND ALLOW ME TO TREAT THEM HOWEVER I CHOOSE AND OH YEAH I SHOULD ALSO HAVE FREE REIGN TO FUCK THEM AT WILL YEAH THOSE BLACKS ARE FINE WITH ME!”
So I am stuck in this No Woman’s Land between “Real Black people cain’t do shit” Black people who believe the White Supremacist hype and actually think their Blackness is a hindrance and White people who are so racist yet try to pretend that they are not and have this unspoken “Stay in your place and we’re fine with you” reaction and both options are so gross to me and I decided in 2000 that I would not hang out with self hating indie negroes anymore because even though we have similar artistic tastes, lbr, that shit is just depressing and I refuse to be stuck in a room full of insecure Black people talking about how other Black people suck and White people are so much better while passing around photographs of their disrespectful and unattractive White bfs/gfs as though that’s “a step up” or something- Btw, if you are going to be a self hating poc and say “I only date White guys/gals, I hate [insert your own people here].” , can you please rescue a tenth of a degree of decency and at least date White people that are hot and awesome? PoC like that usually date seemingly just the worst, most bargain basement White people you can find. I would love for once to meet some Black person who is like “I only date White people, oh, btw, here comes my White s.o. now!” and out walks- no floats– this, like Goddess/Adonis with wit, intelligence, class and style and treats you like royalty and has, like, super bitchin’ hair, or something. Then I could be like, “Oh ok, point taken, good luck, enjoy smashing that, etc.” But it’s never like that. It’s always some gross ugly coked-up moronic douche/douchess. I’m like, “Oh ok thanks for that c u.”
I am ANGRY. I am angry that I am capable of so much but in one of the largest cities in the world, I feel like I have no options. No people. I have no people. Most people are cowards and the ones who have the fire and the passion are usually consumed and destroyed by it so they are not even of use to themselves let alone me. What use could I have for someone? Hm. It would be nice to exchange ideas with someone who is as unafraid as I am. Who makes up their own mind. Who doesn’t sit back and watch when they see someone unique and valuable; someone who is the first one there with an outstreched hand. Hello. Who are you? What do you think about all this shit and how quick can we take a couple sticks of dynamite to it?
Hello. What do you think?
What do you hate?
What do you love?
Can you love? More than you can hate? Do you?
Are you a coward or are you brave? Do you know the difference between being brave and being fearless? Which one are you?
Are you the same person at all times? Are you different people? Do you take responsibility for all of them? Do you know that if you don’t, you’re a coward?
What’s the point if you won’t come up with one?
I would love to meet someone as angry and passionate as I am. Someone who knows it’s their place to be so.
I have to get the fuck out of this town. Maybe you are afraid because you know I could rip you apart from the inside. I probably could. I know this. But who’s to say I will? Unless you expect to treat me in such a way that would earn such retribution. If that’s the case, then, yes, it would be in your best interest to stay away.
I’ve got an atom bomb in my head and in my chest. I have power. I am Black. I am a woman. I am an African. And I have power.
Why does that scare you? Oh yeah. The whole “bottom of the pyramid” thing. Gotcha.
The most surefire way to find yourself surrounded by weak people is to deny your own strength. That’s my line. You can have it. I’ve got plenty.
Hello, all. The White Noise Supremacists has been yappin’ her gums again…this time to the lovely Krawalla over at Megapeng Records where I was chosen as *booming voice* DECEMBER ACT OF THE MONTH. Check out the brief (& colorful) interview I did with her here: megapeng.net Interview.
Just for the interview, I recorded a down and dirty cover of Cat Power’s “Free”. And it’s aptly titled, cuz the track is available for FREE DOWNLOAD on the website (HOLY CRAP CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE THIS NO YOU CAN’T BUT TRY ANYWAY.) Click download in the player at the end of the interview and voilà! But you better hurry up and grab your copy. There are only 100 downloads available. And you know you wanna be one of the cool kids, dontcha?
I am too African to be dealing with this dark and cold ass weather right now. Someone hold me.
Please spread this around as much as you can. He needs all the support he can get.
Reposted from http://afroeurope.blogspot.de:
According to African Outlook, Olaolu Sunkanmi Femi (aka) Olasunkanmi, a Nigerian student living in Ukraine, got arrested for allegedly defending himself against six teenagers who attacked him. He is facing life imprisonment.
African Outlook states that he defended himself against his assailants with a broken bottle in front of his apartment block on November 5, 2011 in Luhanski, Ukraine.
Witnesses told African Outlook that one of his friends was physically attacked in front of his apartment by four Ukrainian young men and two women while hurling racist slurs on them.
Olasunkanmi would have managed to get up and defend himself with a glass from a broken bottle. “It was while he was defending himself that police arrived at the scene and the Nigerian was subsequently arrested and charged with attempted murder of five people” a Nigerian embassy staff who has knowledge of the case told African Outlook. The victim thus became an accused in a case which has become famous in Ukraine.
Olasunkanmi has since been remanded in detention by the Ukrainian police. They refuse to take the case to court citing unavailability of the police to get an interpreter for him.
Protest have been organized since. For more info please read African Outlook and other sources.
To raise support for Olasukanmi, a Facebook Page: Let’s Support Olaolu Femi has been opened.
It’s just so blatantly racist. And yes, I know Saldana is Black. And no, I am not one of those ridiculous Black people who administers “Black exams” to judge who’s “Black enough” and who isn’t. God knows I’ve met enough assholes who try to do that shit to me. But it’s obvious that the whole reason she is cast is because she is a Black woman who is attractive in a way that is non-threatening to White people. But more specifically, young White men. If White men between the ages of 18-25 don’t wanna bang you, you are pretty much seen as useless in Hollywood. She has a straight nose, thinner lips, long straightened hair and has starved herself into a bobblehead (sorry, but she has and it’s so sad). And she is often in sexualized roles where she is intimate with White men. This, apparently, is all you need to be fap material for your average White dude. She has apparently joined the ranks of Halle Berry and Beyonce as “Black women it’s ok to openly admit to wanting to bang.” And the fact that these things factor into her being chosen to play NINA SIMONE, of all people, is so offensive I want to spit glass shards.
Nina Simone wasn’t a straight haired, fair-skinned waif. She was repeatedly told all through her youth and career that she was too dark, with too wide a nose and lips to be successful. She wanted to be a classical pianist but was turned down from conservatory because they were racist. Her triumph and success, especially during the civil rights movement was all the more powerful because she wasn’t some passive, light skinned, Europeanized version of a Black woman. Her appearance is so integral to her story because of those things. And to completely erase that aspect of her struggle to appeal to a demographic that most likely doesn’t even give a crap about Nina Simone or what she stood for anyway is disgusting. And it is obvious that the director and producers have absolutely no respect for Ms. Simone or her music and message not only because of the laughably absurd casting but because they didn’t even consult her family/estate at all during the entire process and still have not; even as they are approaching their shooting start date.
Whitewashing is disgusting and Hollywood needs to be called out about it. The only thing more vomit-inducing than their portrayals of women is their portrayals of Women of Color. Black women are not only half White or light skinned. But these are the only kinds of Black women that they feel comfortable casting as romantic interests. And I use “romantic” quite loosely being that these women are only around to be groped, ogled, abused and fucked in roles that are completely passive and gratuitously sexual. But when you don’t need a Black woman for White guys to fuck, like, you just need a Black woman to be angry or fat or addicted to crack or, like, to clean something, then you cast the dark Black women. It’s disgusting and appalling that White executives have the gall to be so blatant about it. But when PoC in Hollywood rarely stand up to challenge it, what do you expect? Textbook bully syndrome, really. You only go after the ones that don’t fight back. That’s pretty much been White culture’s m.o. for a couple thousand years now. You think we would’ve picked up on that at some point.
I haven’t signed it…on one hand what these filmmakers did is undeniably disgusting but on the other hand I don’t like telling some rich White execs to fire a Black woman but on the other hand Saldana should know better but on the other hand her entire career is based on being the palatable, non-threatening Black woman so I don’t know. This is a huge problem in Hollywood so I thought I would at least address it and then present it to you to make the choice if you feel strongly enough to sign.
This practice has angered me for a long time. I decided I wanted to make films when I was 13 or 14 and consumed them obsessively since then. And from Rosario “I’m a little bit Black but not that Black really hardly any Black in me but oh are you casting a Black role then yeah I’m totally Black!” Dawson in many of her movies but specifically in the Josie and the Pussycats movie (laugh all you want but I loved that cartoon as a kid and Valerie was dark and had an afro and was in a band and even though she only played the goddamned tambourine (wtf) it was awesome and I was SO MAD when she was cast with Dawson and yes I was 19 when that movie came out which made me a grown ass woman but we are not going to address that right now, thank you very much) to Halle Berry as Storm, like, what the fuck. How dare you. HOW DARE YOU, A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES, etc. My only dream is for the head of Fox to get a damn aneurysm and fall into a coma and then wake up with the mind and personality of a strong and self respecting Black woman so we can finally get a goddamned Storm in a movie that is true to the comics and has all her strength, regality and general African badassery and not all this meek, doe eyed, sexualized bullshit. I mean SHE WENT FROM A THIEVING ORPHAN TO BEING EQUAL TO XAVIER IN POWER AND LEADERSHIP AND LED THE X MEN AFTER BEATING CYCLOPS EVEN WHEN SHE LOST HER POWERS AND BASICALLY TOLD HIM TO GTFO. Ugh. I have so many repressed feelings about that character and how she was massacred. And DON’T even get me started on what they did to Rogue…
Sorry, I got sidetracked and have a lot of nerd feelings (obvs). But yes, the roles available for Black women are atrocious and the way Black women are presented in the film and music industries is atrocious and though I’m sure Halle Berry could very possibly be a lovely woman who went through a lot of shit to get her career, you can’t use that as a reason not to comment on all the racist, damaging fuckery that many of her roles and the roles of many other Black actresses like her help perpetuate. It’s damaging to young Black girls who really feel that they are not worthy of respect. And they grow into Black women who feel the same way. I mean, you should see the way some White people I meet through playing shows and booking my band try and speak to me/treat me. Or even before, when I was working regular shitty jobs in retail or whatever. Or even occasional people who were supposed to be “friends”. It’s like, did you seriously just talk to me like that/do that to me? What planet are you from that you think that’s even vaguely appropriate? And when I say don’t treat me disrespectfully, they look at me like I have 12 heads and pull out the whole “angry, uppity Black woman with a chip on her shoulder” schtick. Like I’m supposed to just stand there and grin while you talk to me like I’m your 3 year old or your fucking dog or some shit. But they act like that because I really don’t think they are used to Black women standing up for themselves. It’s shocking to them. And White culture raises White people to think that Black people who fight back are bad and Black people who are passive are good. Just look at the difference between the way they portray MLK Jr. and Malcolm X. I’ve even heard many crazy White people compare The Black Panthers to the Klan. I mean, seriously?
I am going to make films and just like my music, I will have to do it independently with no outside support because there is no room in either system for PoCs and especially WoC to be who we are and not filtered through lenses of White male supremacy. I mean, where are the movies made for Black people by Black people? Where are my generation’s Robert Townsends and Euzhan Palcys, etc. If the stereotype is your reality, fine. You have a right to that. But I have a right to my reality as well. My experience and perspective as a Black woman is just as valid and authentically Black as yours. But there is no room for varied and complex Black experiences in the industry. So fuck ’em. They are desperate and running out of ideas because they are not the creatives. They are the suits. They need us more than we need them. But Black people and Women don’t seem to understand that. So they just line up and straighten and weave and starve and smile and lighten and strip and shimmy and twerk and hope to be thrown a bone. That is pathetic. And it makes me angry that WoC and especially young Black girls are led to believe that is the only way to get ahead. And things will only change when we start thinking differently about ourselves and start demanding more. Or better yet, picking up our pens, cameras and classical or contemporary monologues and fucking doing it for ourselves like we used to. That will change everything.
Now, off to write…