Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Lack of Color

I've heard a few metal fans ask why there seems to be a lack of ethnic people in metal. Or scratch that-black people. There are the South American metalheads, the Asian metalheads, and all the others inbetween but its obvious which group seems least to be into metal. Have you ever wondered why there isn't any metal festivals in Africa? (besides in Namibia which metal crowd is mostly wealthy white land owners) In general-there aren't many black metal heads. There are even fewer black metalheads who have actually wanted to go into the metal music genre as musicians or singers. I can literally count on my fingers the successful metal bands that have blacks in them. To name the few-Sevendust, (New) Sepultura, Straight Line Stitch, Suffocation, Skindred, Crackdust, Wrust, Living Color. (I wanted to add Bad Brains but they are punk)
Now, there are three main reasons why blacks aren't very much found in metal.
1.) Blacks in general are heavily religious.
No matter if they're African American or African. I've only met one black atheist and that's a close friend of mine. I'll just be honest, we cling to our religion. Is that bad? No. But metal is typically known throughout the black community as 'devil worshipping music'. Nuff' said.
2.) Blacks are attracted to music other blacks like.
Humans are visual creatures. And other humans that look like us that like the type of music we like generally attract other like minded humans. I guarantee if more black people were into metal-it would catch on. I mean, after that song 'Party Like A Rock star' I definitely saw tons of more black people in explore new clothing options as well as music options. People like feeling belonged.
3.) Racism.
Bottom Line. Just like you wouldn't find a white person at a N.W.A concert you certainly wouldn't find a black person at a Burzum concert. Metal has a way of excluding people unless your like them. And the other stereotype about metal is that all metalheads are racist-which isn't true but there are a few bad eggs (As in NBSM bands as well as others) that ruin it for the rest of them.
Of course there are the exceptions but this is what it comes down to. I hate that it's like this. I would like one day to see a metal festival where there are TONS (not just a few) of black metal heads, as well as Latino, Asian, and White-all together to form one huge brutal moshpit. That would be amazing. That would make metal even more powerful and hopefully people would shed their prejudices. *sigh*
A girl can dream, can't she?

25 comments:

Crossophobia said...

I'm a 17 year old, black female into metal, too. I agree that the “black” culture keeps most black people away from metal. We’re expected to like rap, r&b and hip-hop and think of rock and metal as pure “noise.” I don’t listen to any “typical” African-American music and never have. I don’t agree that metalheads exclude people “that are not like them.” In fact, I think metalheads can be very accepting of all types of people regardless of race or gender, because we're used to being judged by how we look. Only Nazi scum refuse to accept that race is not a choice and not a good judge of character. I refuse to listen to NSBM and distance myself from people who support any ideas of racial superiority/inferiority. Also, you wouldn’t find anyone at a Burzum concert, because there are none… One thing I have had to explain over and over again is what “black metal” is and how it doesn’t mean “black people’s metal.”

TheBlackGirlIntoHeavyMetal said...

@ Crossphobia. Glad to see another black female into metal, :)
I'm saying, generally speaking, that you wouldn't catch a group of metal heads hanging out with hipster kids in terms of being accepting. I think they are nice people but metal heads are not normally prone to be great friends with you unless you listen to metal (I mean extreme metal heads-not metalcore, scene kids, etc)
Really? You've had to explain the black metal isn't black people metal? That made me giggle.
Thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

I really respect you you know. This is the first time in my life that I see a black woman who likes metal.I found this blog by searching on google about black metalhhead because I was curious to know if it was just a "myth".I was surprised to find a black WOMAN into it since there was few black men who liked it.I'm a white male metalhead and I think there is a lack of "color" in the metal world.

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Anon-Thanks for the comment! Sorry for the late response. Just know that we are out there-we may not look like we like metal but trust me that there are a considerable amount of black women-hell-people branching out musically. It's not a myth, it's fact. I'm glad that you have acknowledged the obvious racial disconnect in the metal genre-you, among many others, are the key to hopefully change this.

yoyoyo said...

I dont think religon has to do with this. I am christian, and know plenty of other Christians that are into metal. Even if you dont like christian metal, you cant listen to bands and interpret their songs a different way.

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@yoyoyo-Perhaps its subjective. But I've always had girls tell me when I was younger that 'you should stop listenin' to that satan shit white people listen to'. Alot of them said this, not all, but many. I'm not saying Christians can't be into metal but alot of black Christians generally interpret it as such. Anyways,
Welcome to the blog!

Dirugämesh Grey said...

Excellent article. I sometimes randomly look up "Black metalheads" on google just for stuff like this and sift through it for stuff about Celtic Frost vs. African Americans, Africans, Islanders etc. that are metalheads XD

I'm 17 and am in love with all kinds of metal, especially Melodic Death because it's fucken epic, but not NSBM because that is of course, not for me. I don't know how exactly I became interested in metal, but part of it might be to distance myself from the attitudes I see rap and pop fans have and how they can be so ignorant about anything harder than Linkin Park being "Devil music".

Metal makes me happy, and I take great pride in it, and am not ashamed to love it despite the fact that I'm not in the majority. :) Being an outcast is great. Haha! It's awesome to see another sista spreading the disease. \m/

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Wrathchild Thipe said...

Well, im a metalhead from Botswana, southern Africa. Metal has no boundaries, whether blacks or whites or of any kind of religion. Am a big fan of Metal and Rock n Roll in general, music unite people of different cultures, different religions or different backgrounds. We do have a lot of metal bands in our country, there are lot of Metal bands in South Africa and Namibia. Our shows are fucking crazy accompanied with moshpit. There is nothing to do with racism in Metal, im a black man but my most favorite band of all time is ManOwaR, the main man behind Manowar Joey Demaio is a white man. I love and give respect to his work. Only stupid motherfucking posers brings racism to Metal. A true metal-head is humble before other metalheads. only posers talks nonsense. Those who brings racism in metal go and fuck yourselves. They know nothing about Metal music. Jimmy Hendrix's guitar techniques has influenced a white man's way of playing metal. Lets not preach shit as if we dont have the common senses. I have been staying in Malaysia for the past two years, i attended one of the biggest shows of my life in Singapore in April by Lamb of God, a show full of white people. No one has shown a sign of racism. Have tht in mind: He who brings racism to metal music is a poser, no matter how great his music is, he is still a stupid motherfucker. I havent been to north africa and i dont knw about their metal scene but as for the southern part of Africa like Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, the metal scene has really grown and its impressing. Hei guys just go to South Africa to host some Metal shows there, u wont be dissapointed. Up the Irons and Respect

viagra said...

I believe it has more to do with a cultural stance rather than personal choice. I bet that if black people got more in touch with Heavy Metal they will find much more than what they think. and that probably will lead to an increase in black metal heads. but it will take a long time, am sure.

Anonymous said...

I just finished watching a heavy metal documentary. It was two hours long,and I did not see one person that wasn't white. I was curious to see online if there are people of color;any color that like this music,and I found this young lady's page. Keep on rockin girl,I too am black and I love metal. it's amazing how taste in something like music can change your life,from the guys you date to what people have to say about you. I am sad to say I have only experienced racism from black people,because I'm not "black" enough,nice to see I'm not alone out here..I'm sad for people who are so ignorant..

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

Anon:Your not alone! There are many of us! (look up Afropunk or the Black Rock Coalition)
I think everyone who is in this scene has experienced some 'disagreement' from our own black people. It's really unfortunate but thats why we have to stick together and make a difference just by being ourselves!

generic viagra said...

I just like pop and rock, but I really hate reggaeton and I can pass metal, about this, well people it's just ignorant because if you smoke they even think you are a drugaddict of worse, but I don't really care about what people said to me, because I work and pay my own life.
Thanks, nice post.

darknessofqueen said...

I come from togo(a west african country no one cares about lol) and moved to new york two years ago. and i'm an hardcore fan of metal (mainly black metal, death metal, folk metal, epic metal and viking metal). i'm an atheist and have been labeled as crazy, satanist, not black enough and all kind of nonsense! i saw the documentary afropunk i loved it! and i think that they should make a doc named afrometalhead as well! and i love ur blog it's so rare to see a black female metalhead :-)

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@DarknessofQueen-What!? I care about Togo. My father is Ghanian and has friends in Togo so naturally I know where your talking about. Cool! Another West African metalhead.
I know how that is, being labeled and called evil, yadda yadda. Just put some headphones on and blast some viking metal to ward those feelings away.
And its so rare to see African (pure Africans, you know what I mean, lol.) Into metal.
Thanks for the comment! And welcome to the blog!

iSapien 1956672 said...

I'm white, and I like the group Body Count still. Recently I posted the lyrics to "There Goes The Neighborhood" and got called a racist. I also used to listen to 24/7 Spyz and Living Colour back in the late 80's early 90's. If I posted the lyrics to "Cult of Pesonality" would they then call me arrogant, egotistical? I think it's just uptight white people who are just looking at any opportunity to make themselves look better to their black friends to prove that they're not racist out of their own insecurities.

Anonymous said...

Hey, While I am a White Englishman.
This might sound weird, but I feel the same but on diffrent grounds, I am Christian and take the faith extremely seriously, I have also been listening to Heavy Metal for like over 12 years and was a huge fan, I was listening to old school NWOBHM bands from the late 1970s and the 1980s like Angelwitch, Tank, Tygers of pan tang before they started having a resurgence of popularity in the metal community again due to the Internet, but now I find people are hostile to the fact I am Christian, but mainly from Metalheads themselves, but also alot of Christians. What mainly makes me laugh is younger "metalheads" making out you cant listen to Metal if your Christian, when I was listening to it on my record and CD player before they even realised this music before the widespread Internet use, Even some of my younger friends have this attitude, even the ones I actually Introduced to the music in the first place!!!!
While I find metalheads accepting on the whole, alot do seem preoccupied with their image, sometimes so it clouds there judgement, some think about "posers" and "Selling out" more than just Rocking out.
Also I think Metal has become so stylised the music seems to simply exclude people who arent deemed "metalheads".

whatsername said...

I just wanted to thank you for writing on this subject. My niece is mixed race (black/white) and she's been getting into metal/emo/punk lately (she's 12). I think it's cool but it also stresses me out because I see the racism in some of it and the overall prevailing Whiteness and I worry about its effect on her (I mean that's the world in general right? but every little bit counts...). So anyway, thanks for mentioning Straight Line Stitch, I think I'm gonna get her their cd for her birthday. :)

Anonymous said...

I am a 18 year old black female and I love Metal, Grunge, And Heavy Metal :) my friend "who is white" he's in a metal band and he was shocked when we first met and I told him my fav bands (Pantera,Trivium,Slip Knot etc etc) my family thinks it werid seeing as they all love Hip Hop and Pop its ok to be different :) its what makes us human :)

button design said...

I personally think that colors are only just for identification not for justification because there are a lot of chances that a black man or woman can act better then a white man or woman so i don't think we should justify anyone from his color. We should justify people from their deeds their behavior not colors.

Sham said...

Even weirder than "black metalheads"- I'm asian! But not the asian that first comes to mind- I have Indian roots. Though my family is pretty un-traditional in their views and generally pretty laid back, my mum can't seem to get her head around why I choose not to listen to her Tina Turner and BeeGees albums. :/ Dad at least gives into some old school metal every so often, but what sucks is that not a single person at my school shares my taste in music (white, black, brown, no one!) Everyone is into either hip hop or electro or dubstep- and every time metal or even hardcore comes into focus, people are so ignorant they just say "Oh, you mean all that screaming and shit". (no i do not mean screamo.) When are people going to become more open minded? Not just to the skin tone of metal heads but to metal in general?

difkindaredneck s said...

First off let me say this..I though black female metal heads were a myth..you have made my day!!
You got a white redneck here who is into black women. Seeing/hearing one rock out on stage is one of the the most beautifull experiences on the planet. And the more that are into metal the better. Those that oppose anything different than the norm are just afraid to be shown up. I tell my kids...racism is ancient dumass for scared shitless!
ROCK OUT LADIES!!

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@windsor302: Ah, the plight of the black metal head.
Yeah, finding relationships with black metal heads is a hard thing to do. I personally know only a handful but they are dear friends. I love when I meet new ones though!
I wear what I want and don't really care how anyone perceives me because its really too much of a hassle to care what everyone things. But, you grow a thick skin.
Hmm, as for meeting black metal heads, try the website Afro punk. It's a haven for alternative black people but I know there are quite a few metal heads there. Otherwise, if you see any at shows are around, introduce yourself. Most of the time, people are feeling the same way as you!
And your black metal girl is somewhere in this world, in YOUR city.
I know this didn't really help but it makes me happy that I see comments like these. It makes me feel like this blog wasn't for nothing.
Thanks for the comment, friend!

Nerrito Mario said...

Hell Yeah!! At last what a great post. I'm born Mozambican black man living in South Africa! Well I was reading all the comments and all of them are non-phobic at all which is great. At least in my native country Mozambique there are a lot of metalheads there! But I must say I got shocked to see that in South Africa are very few black metalheads. That way makes us uniquely made. Its awesome meeting u guys n girls from allover the world loving metal regardless of skin colour or culture. The racists should me buried alive and forgotten! Metal has nothing to do either one is black, white, yellow, blue or whatsoever colour! Its passion we have towards this type of music. Yes I have been labeled as demonic worshiper when people find me listening to black metal bands like Dimmu Borgir, Immortal or death like Inflames, Dark Tranquility or even metalcore like Caliban, Heaven Shall Burn, etc...I don't give a damm, we love what we love and its how we were uniquely made! Let's enjoy every minute of it. Stay melodic! By "Enthroned Light"

Foxyfoxy said...

I'm multi racial but I classify myself as black. My parents are from guyana in South America. My parents listen to hair metal and classic rock. My parents lived in South America and they played rock music on the radio a lot in the day. My grandmother used to listen to Janis Joplin and the beatles. I listen to mostly metal. Rap music today is a modern minstrel show. Most kids these days same to be wiggers so metal is more underground now. I have met a lot of racist metal heads. I went on Korn. Com. Most of the people there are racist. I prefer death metal anyway lately.