I’m Black and I’m a Rock Musician. WTF Do I Do?

I really am not sure. I know I should just keep making music, and I will, but to what end? To be an addendum; tacked on after I’m dead? I have never been the type to settle for less than what I deserve, but this is a beast that I honestly do not understand. White culture and the way White people see things is not the default perspective. It is incomplete, distorted, and wholly irrational. Yet I, who is normal, am supposed to see things as they do, which is not normal and I don’t want to, but also, I just can’t. I don’t understand it. I don’t know how you can look at people and really believe that they have no right to surpass you, and if they are capable of doing so, you sabotage and erase them. You Tonya Harding the shit out of them, then just pretend you are the best, and they don’t exist. That is so fucked up but it took me so long to even realize that it was happening. Since it is not in my nature to be a hating ass bitch, I didn’t assume it was a norm for other people. We all think everyone thinks the same as we do. That’s why good hearted people tend to get fucked over and liars and cheaters are always suspicious that everyone is lying and cheating them. I am just now realizing that for me, as a rock musician, being exceptional is an obstacle. It is an obstacle for Black rock musicians in general, because we are trying to break through in a White space where it makes them insecure and angry if they cannot feel better than us.

The Black bands that get the most press are not the best. And I would always wonder why that is. It didn’t make sense. Same with white female bands. I would often get excited when there was a new female band getting hyped up. They were always white but whatever, at least they were women. I would pray their stuff would be better than mine. Just to have some competition. But they were always derivative and mediocre. I’m like, Why? Why is this the best female band you can find?

They’re not the best band. That is why they are not threatening. The men they deal with know they will never be bigger or better than them. They also “kiss the ring” and don’t challenge. That’s why they are chosen. And it is the same with Black bands. If white people feel that you could be bigger than them, they blank you. White women AND White men do this. I spent my entire 20s playing “Queer, feminist spaces” that were racist as fuck. You can’t be better than White people. You can’t be better than men. That’s the rule. That’s the law. And if anyone looks at you and feels that you can be, well, there go your kneecaps …

People need African women to be a permanent underclass. Whenever they catch a glimpse of you, they need to feel they are better in comparison to you. That’s why people will watch a 3 hour BBC documentary about African women being raped and having their genitals mutilated, but they would never watch a middle class African women led rom-com, action movie, or family drama. People need to believe we are worse off compared to themselves. When they don’t feel that way, it makes them jealous and angry. So they sabotage. They exclude. They attack. African women can’t be pretty. We can’t be smart. We can’t be skilled. Because you need us to be less than you so you can feel good about yourself.

When we show ourselves to be exceptional, it is proof that you don’t have to be White or male (or close to it) in order to be capable. And you’re so evil and fucked up that this truth actually makes you angry, and you harm people so you can delude yourself into believing only you can be on top. It’s so infuriating. But it’s only a problem because fans of rock music feel that way too. They would rather watch some shirtless White douche stand onstage in a Jesus pose than watch Black women be exceptional. And this includes Black and female fans of rock music. Black and/or female rock music fans are racist and sexist, period. They don’t fucking like themselves. That’s the problem. Of course the white bookers are racist. Of course the white press is racist. But no one is stopping Black people from starting an alternative music mag. No one is stopping them from opening venues and putting on shows. But the thing that I didn’t realize is that White male validation is a huge drive for people who aren’t white guys that make rock music. When I started my band, I was so pissed off at how racist everyone was that I started putting my own all Black shows together. As a young African woman doing this, none of the Black people I dealt with even respected me and most were so fucking rude and difficult. They don’t care because you’re not White. I once booked these Black women to play my show and they went ahead and booked another Brooklyn show the same fucking week. I got so pissed and was like “Why would you do that? You’ll dilute your audience and I am one person doing diy publicity/booking/everything whilst they have their whole hipster White network and a popular venue, bla bla.” They were like, “Well, they asked us and we didn’t want to burn any bridges.” I thought to myself, it’s interesting that they didn’t see me as a bridge they didn’t want to burn. But that is not how Black psychology works. You think your success will come at the hands of White people. You don’t think success looks like you. You don’t think it will come from you. You don’t evaluate the people you’re working with and what you’d be gaining in order to measure the value of any opportunity, you just go with whomever is Whitest. Then you wonder why you don’t have shit.

After I called them out, the band apologized and actually helped me a lot by getting their friend to let me put on the gig in his basement out of town because no NYC venue would book my show of an entirely Black lineup. They were only interested if there were majority white bands on the bill and only 1 Black band. Now these same racist ass venues have the nerve to post BLM shit *eyeroll*. Anyway, out of a desire to be supportive of fellow Black women musicians, I actually went to their hipster white booked show. I arrived earlier than their advertised set time, just to hang out or whatever and since they were a hometown band, the majority of the people that came were there to see them, like me, and they were supposed to go on in less than an hour. I found them and spoke to them. They told me it was good that I arrived early, because the white female booker had informed them UPON THEIR ARRIVAL that they would be going on about an hour earlier and their set was cut in half. I couldn’t believe it. I asked them what they were going to do about it but they just took it. They didn’t protest. More “bridge preservation”, I would assume. Anyway they went on to way less people than they would have played to if they didn’t get fucked over, but the people that came, came to see them so the crowd was really energetic and into it. They must have played 3, MAYBE 4 songs. Then they were off. Show over. It was ridiculous. I stayed long after they were done, just to see what White nonsense would play next. It was an all white female band that undoubtedly were friends with the booker or her “network” because they were from France (NO ONE knew who they were) and I think it was actually their first Brooklyn gig so why the FUCK were they headlining and not the BROOKLYN BAND THE ENTIRE CROWD ORIGINALLY CAME TO SEE. Anyway, they were SO bad. Just BORING, derivative, post punk Joy Division nonsense (and I like Joy Division) but it was literally the most boring thing I had ever seen. EVERY song sounded the same and their set was 45 MINUTES! But Black bands will put up with that treatment just to work with White people. They think that’s the way to success. Before I wrote this, I searched a few bands I came across or played music with back in the mid-late 2000s. Some got a ton of White press, some were signed, but none of them still make music. Or the ones that do, their views are still in the sub-5000 range. So you ate all that shit, tolerated all that mistreatment, but you are still in the same boat as me, who just did it on my own and didn’t accept nonsense. So what was the point? So concerned with maintaining White bridges, completely oblivious to the fact that they all lead to a brick wall.

So the only thing to do is keep going. I’ve had insane drive for most of my life and I have accomplished things and have bulldozed through situations that would have left most other people in a fucking mental institution. I am a goddamned beast and I am proud of that. But I don’t think an African woman’s life must be struggle. So I have decided not to struggle. I don’t push. I don’t send out press releases, I don’t email bookers. When I feel like writing, I write. When I feel like recording, I record. I am concerned with getting music out to people. People are everywhere. I don’t need to reach people through any white or male controlled system, because that is what gives them the power to shut you out. If I feel like playing, I just go busk. And I keep all my goddamned money myself. If I want to put out a single, I just put one out. I don’t go through other people because when you are Black and exceptional, every “bridge” becomes a wall. So just do it yourself. That is what I’ve learned. The more I’ve learned to do myself the easier everything has become. Gatekeepers don’t matter in an open field. I’ve always believed that and that is why I started my band. If shitheads won’t let you through, go around. Walk away. Build your own. I am one of the few Black people that thinks that way but that is why I’ve done so much on my own. I don’t need White people or men for anything. And neither do you.

I get sad when I read about Tina Bell or Betty Davis or any other amazing Black women that left the music industry. I can understand why, but I feel that it would be a waste for me to do that, though many wish I would. It was a different time for them. No internet was a motherfucker. I would not exist without computers, mp3s, digital recording or the internet. PERIOD. In the 21st century, there is no reason any Black artist should be putting up with disrespect in exchange for “opportunity”. As far as making big money, I don’t know. We are in a place in music where everyone would rather see Black musicians as whores, pimps and degenerates rather than intellectuals or revolutionaries. But so? Maybe we should be less concerned with giving the people what they want and more concerned with expressing ourselves as individuals. Being broke sucks but you can always get money. In many different ways. I could take time off, learn to be an electrician and make bank. I don’t have to be sucking on white balls and degrading myself my whole life. I just don’t believe that is the only option for me.

So yes, after all this writing, I still have not answered the question. As an African female rock musician, what do I do? Continue making amazing music, by myself, putting it out there, by myself, all the while being refreshed and rejuvenated by the tears of all the haters that couldn’t write a song 10% as good as mine with a gun to their head. And that’s it. No one is going to recognize a Black woman as the best or the first, even when you are. But their validation does not dictate your relevance or impact. When I started, that Lester Bangs article was barely ever referenced or spoken about and Black rock musicians were not feminist and anti racist. Now they all are. But it is one thing to get in where you can fit in and it is another to be brave enough to stand alone and tell the truth, whether white people pat you on the head or not. I don’t know if in my lifetime, we’ll get to a place where people will support a Black female rock musician getting onstage and being exceptional, but who cares. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Rock’n’roll, as Black people created it, was always about Black joy and how rebellious that is. Black people partying and dancing when their entire country was trying to kill them (and mostly succeeding). Used to be that the only people you saw on stage playing electric guitar were Black. White people refused to play rock’n’roll, calling it “race music” and “jungle music”. Did that stop Black artists then? So why should the whitewashed and corporatized rock music industry’s rejection of us stop us from playing rock’n’roll now? I don’t know how you can be Black and play punk rock and then spend your entire career yielding to white hegemony. Couldn’t be me. If they don’t accept you, do it yourself. THAT’S LITERALLY WHAT DIY MEANS. I’ve never seen so many people obsessed with being “real” be so calculated and fake as I have dealing with people who proclaim to be “punk” or “indie”. So fuck ’em. It’s Black innovation that created rock’n’roll and it’s Black innovation that will save it. We just have to not give up on ourselves. They can’t pretend we don’t exist if we don’t stop existing. And I think as Black rock musicians in the 21st century, we have more of an opportunity than anyone that came before us to be loud and to be everywhere and to exist and be heard whether White people “let us in” or not. I’m not 20 anymore so I really can’t even be bothered with 99% of humanity, like, I’m done. But if you’re 20 now, and you still have that fire in you, go out and burn this shit to the ground. There is nothing stopping you except your own mindset, your own deference to whiteness, and your own fear of being exceptional because you know that if you are, most people won’t like you. It’s difficult to be ostracized and disrespected by everyone, even your own people, but you get over it. Because seeing people behave like that makes you lose respect for them and if I don’t respect you, why would I give a fuck what you think? Even if I respect you, I won’t give a fuck what you think because my life exists to be lived and validated by me. That is freedom. Y’all think freedom is Whiteness. Or maleness. It’s not. And freedom will never be given to you by White males. You were born with it and it was stolen from you by White males. Why the fuck would they give it back? You must take it.

You must take it.

Words speak loud, but actions tell the truth.

I haven’t really written in this thing in ages. Not like I used to, back in the day. I just had so much to say and I felt it was never said. Back then, it wasn’t. I remember I played a show at this racist White hipster venue in Williamsburg (that really narrows it down, doesn’t it. lol) I was on stage and someone yelled out something in between songs. I jokingly called them a racist and the audience literally gasped. Like audible, White, pearl clutching gasps of horror. This was maybe…2008? And you just didn’t talk about racism, then. Not in art, not in music, not anywhere. White people were not having it. I would have people give me “advice” all the time to not talk about race in my art because “you’re talented, why hold yourself back.” It literally made me want to spit in their faces. So you know racism is real and horrific and you know that despite my immense musical talent, if I challenge White people, they will be spiteful enough to block me from “success”, so you feel I should keep my mouth shut like a good little n***** and for what? Like, I’m not supposed to fight it? I’m not weak and I don’t take shit. That’s why White people have all the power in this world. No one challenges them. Most people who are not White would rather collude with a system that was designed to exploit them until death and destroy them if they refuse to comply, than just stand up and say, “No.”

The point I’m getting at is that all the people who gave me that “advice” in 2008 and beyond are now these “Woke Baes” on social media. People who were defending their family or friends who use the N word in 2014 are now dropping buzz terms like White Privilege in every post to get “Woke” points. Even the term woke… another thing that has been appropriated from Black people and run into the ground. EVERYONE uses it. Constantly. It has become the 2019 equivalent of “RAISING THE ROOF”. It’s all performative. I mean, I just saw an interview where ZAC EFRON spoke about white privilege. Like, do you think Zac Efron cares about White Privilege? I don’t think Zac Efron cares about White Privilege.

I feel some typa way about it because when you are really ’bout that life, you are shut out of these mainstream spaces. Like, you’re a Black celebrity who talks about White racism, but if you really stood up against it, you literally would not be on NBC or HBO or in that fashion magazine. The very fact that you are given a mouthpiece in this White mainstream space is evidence that the racist White people who control this space don’t view you as a threat. If you are pro-Black within an anti-Black system like Hollywood or major label record companies, YOU ARE A THREAT TO THAT WHITE SUPREMACIST SYSTEM. So my question is, how are you there? Either the system isn’t really racist, or you are not really challenging that system, because the people who run that system view you as safe. And as an African woman artist, I’ve learned that is what the majority of people need from you. They will not come near a Black woman if they do not feel like they can control you and exploit your talents for their own gain. I mean, didn’t it come out that “slavery is a choice” Kanye literally CAN’T RETIRE because of the shit record contract he signed. Like, if White media is pushing you, it is because THEY are gaining something. Not you. They not tryna amplify some “Let my people go” shit, lol.

I was reading something that said Chadwick Boseman was cast on a soap opera back in the day. He was to play a stereotypical “ganbanger Black youth” and he was displeased, so brought it up with producers and offered ways to improve the character and make it less racist. Do you know they fired his ass and hired Michael B Jordan, then used some of Boseman’s suggestions in reshaping the character for this new actor? That’s how petty most White people are towards Black people who challenge them. You think they are less petty now? Every Black person reading this knows they are not.

I like that people are currently challenging White Supremacy and misogyny openly- that’s what I want. That is why I started this band. But I hate the commodification of the trauma of people who are not White males fighting to be seen as Human Beings. It’s not a trend. It’s the lives of billions of people. And to see Michael B Jordan in a Black Panther themed photo shoot for GQ magazine… I- like WHAT? We’re selling Black liberation now? It is now branded and fashionable? When the actual Black Panthers are all murdered or imprisoned by their own government and still seen as “villains” on par with the KKK to the very White editors and consumers who will thumb through those magazine pages and go “Hm, cool beret.” and then keep it moving? And he agreed to that shit with his whole damn chesS? What’s next, a Freedom Riders themed photo shoot for ELLE? A 4 Little Girls themed photo shoot for Vogue, replete with burning Black children? THIS IS TOXIC AND ANTI-BLACK BEHAVIOUR.

I don’t know what the answer is, but since we know the American media is a tool of White Supremacist Patriarchy, I think we should investigate and deeply evaluate ANY supposedly “Woke” voice being presented to us by the same people who control and operate said tool. YOUR OPPRESSORS WILL NOT BE YOUR LIBERATORS. And if you are working freely and being rewarded within a White supremacist system, it is because you are not an obstruction within that system. You are somehow aiding its operation.

If you are a Black person and you say or do anything that threatens White Supremacist and patriarchal ideals, you will be attacked and people will try to silence you. Unless you are simultaneously making White people a shit-ton of money, or they are gaining something else from you. I’ve had White males join my anti- racist band because they thought they’d get a chance to sleep with me. In the minds of most people on Earth, Black women exist solely to be used and exploited. And when they are done, you’re done. So don’t talk to me about White Privilege on twitter when you don’t cast dark skinned Black women in lead roles and you yell at and harass women on set. If any of this were real, we’d see changes. But underneath the me too and hashtags and rhetoric, nothing has changed. The system is still rigged and is running full speed ahead. I think people should be more impressed when these personalities’ actions match their words. I mean, Jordan Peele is mixed and has a White wife, but fully Black male directors were not casting Lupita Nyong’o in lead roles. They were all casting light and mixed women and sending out racist casting calls like the one for Straight Outta Compton. So who is challenging a system and who is perpetuating it?

I was just watching this gangster movie this weekend and the main guy was always getting betrayed. I’m paraphrasing but he said that he learned to not believe people’s words, but to believe the situation. It’s good advice. If you wish to enter a structure, but the doorway is too narrow for you to enter, existing within that structure requires 2 things: either you modify the structure to accommodate you, or you alter or contort yourself in order to fit into the structure. So if these systems are still racist, but you are somehow chillin’ on the inside, you have obviously altered yourself from who you were when you were on the outside in order to fit. And lord only knows what that entails.

Y’all stay “woke” now…

Sharon Gul. Yumiko Aoyagi. Crest City. Jasmine ltd. FYI, they are racists.

This is the type of racist shit that I have to deal with as an African woman in the entertainment industry. For some backstory, I have recently decided to focus more on the writing end of tv and film, so have been looking for opportunities. I answered an ad looking for tv writers, so I submitted a résumé and cover letter. Sharon Gul of Crest City TV responded and cc’ed someone named “y aoyagi”. Anyway, he was polite enough at first, we had a video chat and they asked me to submit a series treatment for the BBC show Thirteen, which they were supposedly working on a 10 episode Japanese adaptation for, and they were looking for staff writers with a high level of English.

This is where it gets weird. So usually, if you send in a job application for anything, if they are not interested, one of 2 things occur. If they are polite, they send you a personal rejection email of a couple sentences. If they are not polite or don’t have time, they don’t respond at all. In this instance, however, not only did Yumiko Aoyagi write back to say she didn’t like the treatment and it was too long, she insulted my experience and asked me to redo it and resubmit?!

I was really confused by not only her complete 180 but also her tone. Her intent was to try to diminish me for some reason. I am used to people being threatened by me so I know how they behave. She wanted to hire me, but she also wanted to be sure she could control me. So she tested me to see if I was desperate enough to not only tolerate her rudeness, but do an unpaid complete rewrite with no promise of a job position. I am not. So I told them I would not do anymore unpaid writing for them and they should find someone else, because they completely wasted my time.

I didn’t hear anything for like 3 days, so I thought it was over. I was pissed that I had wasted so much time on the treatment but I have learned that you can’t cure assholes, so I pick and choose my battles. AND THEN, THIS ARRIVES:

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Re: Your assignment
From: “SHARON GUL”
Date: Sun, January 14, 2018 10:01 pm
To: “1234Films”

​we read your email and was very sorry you have to feel that way.

I was thinking a lot of to reply to your annoying mail or not , and finally
decided to do so.
During the interview
​as with all other candidates , Yumiko asked
​you ​very clearly No more than 3 pages.
And I was there !
We have more than 65 candidates and cannot read 10 pages from each one​.

It might be only miss understanding ,
​however your poor communication skill definitely closed any door with us.
You were definitely not the best candidate out of all , but for sure
​the rudest.

Surprisingly all the other GOOD candidates understood exactly what Yumiko
asked for and DELIVERED!
​TV writing is nothing but team work ,you might be a talented writer , but
i’m glad we found out that your personality might not be cut out for it
before we waste your time.

About wasting your time – it is very common in the world nowadays (well at
least at those advanced places that I know of ) to conduct few interviews
with the good candidates , and give them assignments to test their
abilities in different areas​, but obviously it is not good enough for you.​

We will go forward with our plans and projects and will do very well with
the people we gathered!

can you say the same about yourself ?
Maybe something is wrong with you and not with all the world out there ?
Think about it , I’m sure you will have plenty of time now to do so.
​wish you the best for your future endeavors .

sharon.

Ohhhkaayyy. So you have 65 candidates, yet you stew over my email for days, then write me an entire essay, to tell me that you’re not interested and you have other people who are better? If that is the case, shouldn’t you be talking to them right now? It’s so strange when people do the whole “I just wanted to take time out to let you know that I don’t have time for you.” Like, do they not know how stupid they look? Besides that, in the interview, she very clearly said it’s generally 3-5 pages but don’t worry about format or if it’s more, she just wants a good story. So they were doubling down on the lie that they gave me different directions. Also, if I was not the best candidate, then why ask me to submit? And then resubmit? Isn’t it normal business practice to interview and ask for submissions from the best candidates? Why waste time with people you think will be shit at the job? And once again IF YOU HAVE A ZILLION OTHER CANDIDATES WHO ARE AMAZING AND GAVE YOU EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT, WHY ARE YOU TALKING TO ME RIGHT NOW?!

The entire message was one ridiculous, delusional White Male Ego™ filled shart, but the thing that pushed me over was the line “About wasting your time – it is very common in the world nowadays (well at least at those advanced places that I know of)” Listen, I know racist passive aggression like the back of my hand, racist White people are like glass to me. I can see through that shit a mile away. So since it is obvious what I was dealing with and I really don’t have time to feign politeness to racist dipshits, I sent him a frank and succinct response:

Subject: RE: Re: Your assignment
From: “1234Films”
Date: Mon, Jan 15, 2018 10:02 am
To: “SHARON GUL”

lol fuck you both, you lying, manipulative disrespectful assholes. Thank god I didn’t get stuck working with you primitives. Good riddance.

I deliberately used the word primitives because I know his racist ass was taking jabs at my African-ness and throwing it back at him would make his White Male Ego™ loosen the reigns and his racist tongue would get wagging. I hate when they try to hide shit. You got some racist shit to say to me? Fucking say it. Oh boy, did he (I bolded his “best of”):

Subject: Re: Re: Your assignment
From: SHARON GUL
Date: Mon, Jan 15, 2018 10:08 pm
To: 1234Films

Wow , what a class , what a language.

actually, i think you should switch to comedy , maybe your talent is there .

To hear those words from someone whom name sounds more like a disease rather than a human , it’s kinda funny.😆

assholes ? it’s kinda funny too , when it comes from you , it’s not me ,but president trump called the place you come from a shit hole , now it makes much more sense.😆
Primitives ?? You are sitting for an interview with huge stupid headphones on your head , looking like a scene from the 30’s , but we are the primitives ?😆
Primitives ?? Having an internet connection connected by strings and cans , not allowing even 1 clear sentence , and we are the primitives ?
😆
Manipulative ? Liars? To hear that from someone who live in a place which the main export industry to the world is online frauds , that’s funny 😆.

and yes ! we did plan to pay you ! we are running a business and a successful one , and in our enlightened world ,people are getting paid, but reading your mails , i must say that
the only payment you deserve is by (a certain ) fruit. (Note: I don’t really get this insult tbh)

You might be the coolest writer in the tribe , but not more than that .no wonder you are where you are at the age of 35.

Hallelujaaaaaaah

Soooo. That’s what happens to an African woman when you submit a script and the company doesn’t like it. I don’t get rejected, I don’t get ignored, I get whatever that just was. It doesn’t even make sense. My name sounds like a disease? Your last name is Gul. I’m supposed to be insulted by what Trump thinks of my country? Maybe both you and he should go grab another pussy. Seems to be a rich White male pastime, after all. Mocking my headphones? I had on studio headphones for mixing because I mix. In studios. They tend to be big. And I was talking to him over 4g internet like most of fucking Lagos, Nigeria. And about the scam thing? Maybe he should have watched this: Nigerian Prince Scammer is a White Guy . Also, Nigeria’s largest export is not, in fact, scamming, but crude oil and other mineral oils, without which your racist, exploitative, resource-thieving ass countries couldn’t even function. You’re welcome. By the way, about that age jab? He’s bald as fuck and looks to be about 20 years older than me so … Yumiko Aoyagi is at least a decade older than me too. And neither of them have even half my talent. Just putting that out there.

I am sick of this racist, anti-African shit at every turn. I’m tired of it. I will not accept it and I will put every fucking racist on blast. Fuck all of you. Yumiko Aoyagi is responsible for writing the Japanese version of Orphan Black which is currently airing. If these are the types of people the BBC and Fuji TV like to work with, then it should be known. I don’t care if you don’t want to give me jobs because I stand up for myself and don’t eat shit. Like your racist ass was going to hire me anyway? Fame and money are not worth this shit for me. I know I’m talented and I will continue to do what I love, but I’ll be damned if I won’t let out a fuck you to anyone who tries to disrespect me as a woman, a Black person or an African.

I just had to get this off my chest. Reading his fucking email made me want to puke. I hope this blog is connected with their names in google searches forever.

ETA: Kieron Cashell, of GPlusMedia/Gaijin Pot, the site where I found the ad, actually told me that these emails were not racist, but just “bad business etiquette” and did not violate Gaijin Pot’s terms of service, therefore he would do nothing. Just another racist to add to the pile, but it should be known that he and GPlusMedia/Gaijin Pot are anti-African and anti-Black and condone racist harassment. The BBC were also made aware of the emails and still continue to work with Yumiko Aoyagi and also called me a “reverse racist” to boot. This is how people behave when they believe that as an African woman, you have no voice or power. It’s ok. I will be heard. You can’t see that, but I do. And your true nature will be known.

#WhitePeopleProblems Are #NotMyProblem ( #Charlottesville , et al. )

Black people do not need to die anymore. Black people do not need to march anymore. Black people do not need to leave our homes to take to the streets to scream, chant and be gassed and beaten into oblivion.

White people have this disease. Racism came from White people. You created it. You support it. You thrive off of it. You build your confidence off of White supremacy. You build your sense of self worth off of White supremacy. You build your wealth and industries off of White supremacy. You eat it. You drink it. It sustains you.

White people never shut up about how it’s #NotAllWhitePeople and #NotMyAmerica , etc. So fucking prove it. You march. You die. You stand up. You check your racist friends. You check your racist family. You check your racist coworkers. You check the racist people you fuck. Walk the walk and change this world that your culture has infected with your hatred, arrogance and insecurity. But you won’t. You keep quiet and you don’t do shit. Maybe you #hashtag. Maybe you reblog. Maybe you retweet. You think that makes you different than them? You’re not. At least they are honest with who they are. They don’t mask their evil like you do.

It’s not my fight. I’ll fight for me. I won’t die for you. I won’t die to change your mind. I won’t die to go to school with you. I won’t die to live next door to you. I won’t die for you to hire me. I will die for my beliefs. I won’t die because of yours.

This is America. Before Nov. 8, 2016, this was America. Tomorrow, it will be America. This is your disease and I will not be infected. You fight this. It’s got nothing to do with me. All I am concerned with is protecting myself from you. Integration was a joke. America is a joke. And I refuse to laugh. I refuse to laugh with smiling White people, pretending we’re not standing on a hill of corpses slain by your hand. Corpses who look like me. Corpses who could be me. But I should laugh with you, knowing you still use that word when I’m not around. I should laugh with you, knowing you won’t leave your purse open around me. I should laugh with you, knowing that if I spoke with a different accent and wore my jeans a couple sizes bigger, you’d be calling me a thug and making up excuses on Facebook about how the police were in the right and I deserved to die.

This country was built by White supremacists for White supremacists. America is a racist, misogynist, dumpster fire of a country and always has been. So if you’re such a “Good White Person™” , then YOU change it. YOU take to the streets and fight Nazis and Klan members. YOU field the tasers and the tear gas and the bullets. I’m going the fuck home.

The Black Girl Version of Life

“The world will ask you who you are, and if you don’t know, the world will tell you.”

    – Carl Jung

The Black Girl Version:

“The world will tell you who you are, and if you don’t know, you’ll believe them.”

    – The White Noise Supremacists

There is no escape. Is there?

This is the first real entry I’ve written in a couple of years. I just didn’t feel the need to … display. I rarely do. I do. But rarely.

I have been living in Seoul for 1 month, yesterday. Overall, I like it. I am still … frazzled. I have a lot of energy and curiosity and nerve but I am still tied to my old ways. Ive found that in living in another country, you as a person, don’t change. You are just made to encounter different aspects of who you are. Some are amplified, other parts are rendered useless. What is useless to me in Seoul? Doubt. I could doubt people and situations in NY because I knew what to expect and who to expect it from. I had observed almost 30 years of patterned behaviour. You think that would breed certainty but no, merely an ever increasing doubt. It became nauseating. It was like Groundhog Day the movie. Everyone played their parts and went through the motions. They always mistook me for a participant. But I learned what was behind the smiles. A bit late, yes, but better late than never. And so, I began to doubt them. I disbelieved them and followed my instincts, which were always proven true. But I hated the doubt. I just needed to be unsure of the right thing for once. The doubt others inspired in me was superficial. On the surface, it seemed like something new but underneath …I’m sure it’s the same. I don’t want to presume. I’ll withhold judgement and give you the benefit of the doubt, even though my gut is telling me that I don’t like your eyes. That there is something around you that seems off. That seems alike with all the ones before.

Here, it is useless to doubt. What would I base that on? I have no clue what you’re fucking saying let alone what you are thinking. Everything ACTUALLY IS NEW. I am unsure, yet it is not superficial. I legitimately have no clue what to expect. And it’s because one day I got on a plane. After years of waking up to see that it is once again 4/1, waking up in Seoul was like waking up and seeing that today is 4/2. It’s like oh shit! Now what? WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO?? I am the kind of person who needs that feeling.

It’s funny that I, who always gets shit for being different than everyone else, has found comfort living in a conformist society. Here, you are not supposed to be different or look different or think differently. And there is a great deal of emphasis on the superficial. But…I don’t know. There are always individuals. In any society, we grapple with what we are told to want and value and what we innately value and how that shapes our personal tastes. For most, they alter the latter to fit the former but there are just some that don’t bother. And those are the ones who meet me for the first time and know that they know nothing but what they see. And are not content with that. People like that are scarce everywhere and yes there are people here who think they know who I am without knowing a goddamn thing. But the big difference is, there are a bunch of people who don’t. So you just seek. Keep it moving. Tell the shitty people “Yeah, bye.” and ease on down the road. In NY, especially as a Black person, there is NO WAY to escape people who think they know who you are. No matter what is on the surface, they think they know you and that “you people” are “all the same”. Even other Black people! If you are Black in that country and have a brain and a heart, god help you. I felt both shrinking from disuse/abuse/neglect so I got the FUCK out of there.

I ask my mother all the time why she just doesn’t leave. All the shit that White people have done to her and how difficult they still try and make things for her just because she is an African woman with pride and a heart and a brain and oh yeah a mouth (it’s inherited, lol). But she doesn’t want to. Immigrants are different. They have a different mindset that I will never fully understand. I have immigrated 2x in my life but I was young, single and spoke fluent English with an American accent. I appear Westernized. I have seen the shit that even other Africans who don’t have those traits are subjected to. I do have “Western privilege”. I remember waiting at Immigration in Germany. I was lucky enough to get people who were having a good day or were hungry and needed to go to lunch or something but getting my Visa was so quick and easy. But I saw other Africans who who spoke English with an accent of African origin and some were wearing traditional clothes. The same people who smiled at me treated them like shit. With no respect. Like they were lower than dogs.

It’s like I “pass” but I don’t want to fucking pass. I hate those people who smile at me then put down other people WHO ARE EXACTLY LIKE ME. But I “talk different” or “dress different”. In a way that you view as similar to you. In a way that you falsely and narcissistically assume is solely for your own benefit. They always figured out I was different in the end. Because they always fucking tried shit then I had to bitchsmack a ho to let ’em know that they are mistaken, because I am NOT THAT NEGRO, BYE.

But I was just reading about Mr. Floyd Dent and the piece of shit with a badge that nearly killed him: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/26/1373429/-Why-is-William-Bill-Robocop-Melendez-still-a-police-officer and I am sitting here with no Black people around for a few miles and thinking, “What have I escaped?” Martese Johnson … the guy was an Honor student who wears fucking bowties. You know that shit makes White people mad. Everything seems to make White people mad. So they just beat the shit out of everyone and kill everyone else and fly fucking planes into mountains. (Aside: How much you wanna bet White men won’t be closely searched and surveilled at airports as an “anti-terrorist precautionary measure”.)

What have I escaped now that these things don’t happen to me because I don’t live in an anti-Black culture anymore? There is rampant anti-Blackness in contemporary Korean culture but it is not a product of their culture nor do they depend on anti-Blackness for a sense of their cultural identity as a whole. Anti-Blackness in Asia is a European/American import. There are plenty of people who can feel proudly Korean without hating or feeling superior to Black people while “White Pride” and Anti-Blackness are inextricably linked. This doesn’t mean that anti-Black Asian people should not be held responsible for their racism. Fuck them too. Nobody can convince you to hate or demean someone else unless you are the type of person who is shitty and dumb enough to do those things in the first place. There is no “context” or history lesson needed to know that racial slurs and Blackface and things of that nature are wrong. I didn’t grow up with a ton of Asian friends but when I would see that yellowface/asexual-Asian-guy-as-punchline/Asian female fetishism shit growing up in America my knee-jerk reaction was “wtf?…that’s fucked up” because that shit just looks wrong. I didn’t have to walk up and down Canal St. and take a goddamn survey.

I am also not saying that Black people don’t experience racism in Asia either. I am saying, however, that I have been here for 31 days and I have not experienced any overt racism. I’ve experienced that many old Korean people are mad aggressive. But maybe that 아저씨 snapped at me on the subway escalator because he’s just an asshole. Could be. Idunno. But the fact is, who cares? It didn’t affect my life. It didn’t keep me out of a job or stop me from renting an apartment from my super helpful, non-aggressive old Korean landlord/landlady or give my kids’ all-Black school less funding than any other school in the district or punch me 16 times in the face and break my orbital bone or hogtie me and leave me in a hospital driveway as my brain bled me to death or shoot me 20 times for WALKING FORWARD SLOWLY after a car wreck or KNOCKING ON THEIR DOOR after a car wreck or drag me behind a truck at 90mph or lynch me or burn down my economically independent all-Black town out of jealousy/resentment or shoot my unarmed child in a stairway/in a gated community/in a park DO YOU SEE WHERE I’M GOING WITH THIS?

In Seoul, as far as I can tell, racist people are just idiots with an opinion. You don’t like Black people? So? Bye. You wanna talk shit about Black people? Well I can’t understand it. Bye. You won’t hire Black people? Well there is another place who will. I guarantee it. Here, if you happen to experience racism, first off, it’s hard to be sure because people here legit won’t like/hire you/be polite to you for a million other looks/education/class based reasons. But, if you do, there are just other options here. There are other people. There are other situations. So if you don’t like something/someone/somewhere, go someplace else with someone else and do something else *shrugs*. No place is a utopia and unfortunately there is nowhere on earth that you can go to escape anti-Black sentiment (thanks for spreadin’ that White Supremacy worldwide and earnin’ that El Diablo Blanco title White people!!) but I can honestly say there has NEVER been a 31 day stretch of time in the U.S. or Germany where I didn’t face even 1 instance of discrimination/overt racism. Frankly, the only racism/sexism I’ve faced in Seoul since I’ve been here was from a White guy. Stay doin’ the most, Whitey!!

Anyway, I just wanted to ruminate aloud (or ablog) about my experiences so far. I honestly don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve always been a planning and structure based youth and I have a need for that in my nature but I also give no fucks and do what I want YOU DON’T OWN ME yadda yadda so sometimes I just end up doing things that seem thought out to me but other people are like “What? Uzbekistan? Oh ok send me your new number *sigh*.” As I grow older I honestly could not care less. It’s just exhausting to care all the time, isn’t it? You shouldn’t have to fight for what you deserve. As a Black woman, that’s pretty much our day to day way of life. But it shouldn’t be. I’m not going to fight you to get you to treat me like a person. If you don’t want to do that automatically? Bye.

I think on my gravestone, it will just read “Bye, bitch. Lol” That is my new life motto. I intend to live a life so full that even in death, I will give about -3 entire fucks of a damn about anything. To me, that is truly resting in peace.

So in conclusion, I’m going to the gym. You can find super cheap ones here. So now I guess I will get buff. Stay tuned for the “Meant to Be” music video (BET after dark booty shorts edition.) Ahhh record deal, here I come!

Lineup Segregation? Really? That’s a thing?

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.

This is insane. And I am enraged.

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.

Jane Elliott’s Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes Racism Exercise

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but I’ve never heard of this before today. It’s a pretty incredible thing to view and I urge you to watch the whole thing.

Children’s Exercise: http://youtu.be/8bWlTZZN3DY

Adult’s Exercise: http://youtu.be/f21RGIAtW0g

Entire film (starts at about 2:50): http://youtu.be/xZKNZ3GKWIo

Dealing with this racism thing, you get mindfucked into thinking it’s normal. To the point where you let yourself feel like you’re the one with the problem just for being angry and fed up and wanting to speak out. I fell into that in the first few years of this band because others reactions were so over the top and hostile. But then I read over my blogs and think they’re awesome. So I decided to keep going. Because I know that I’m right, even though most others try to pretend there’s something wrong with the things I say and do. It’s just another mindfuck. Everyone knows this stuff still happens. People know how they feel about Black people. But for some reason they feel like you shouldn’t have a right to speak up about it. Like as a Black person, you have no right to pride or self respect or use of the phrase “Fuck you.”

I don’t think of racism as normal. And I don’t care how you feel about me, no matter your color. Because at the end of the day, it DOES make it easier to know that in your mind, YOU are the one in control. People can do or say whatever they want. But if they don’t get in your head, it doesn’t mean SHIT. It really doesn’t. That’s where Jane Elliott is wrong. It does provide me with strength and comfort. You know how you can put a frog in a pot of water and bring it to a boil and they won’t jump out (PLEASE NO ONE DO THIS. I JUST READ IT SOMEWHERE.) they’ll just sit there and boil to death, because the heat is raised gradually. We’re just sitting here, boiling. This generation of Black people, so fucking happy with their iPads and fro-hawks…like things are different? Like they actually see YOU differently? They don’t. They just put away their hoses and dogs because we don’t fight back anymore. We laugh along. We join in. I see it so much from Black people, especially in this scene but in general as well. Such self hate but just happy to be at the party. Not like you were even invited, you just show up in uniform and stay in your place. “Don’t cause a fuss and remember who’s in charge, THEN you can stay.” “Yes, OK!” Pathetic as fuck. Is this what previous generations of Black people fought for? So you could sit around with some hipster White douchebag who makes Black jokes just so you can feel like you belong?

I guess it’s not en vogue nowadays to actually like being Black or actually like other Black people so I guess I’m out of fashion. But I guess I’m just not that desperate for inclusion anymore. And I’m not that afraid to be out there alone. I will not be intimidated. And I just don’t give a fuck. But most of all, I refuse to let myself be trained to accept the unacceptable. I refuse to just sit here and boil. So even if I sell 10 records or the audience to my films consists of only my mom (just like some of my early shows), I am content with that. I am NOT going to “go along just to get along”. Never been my style.