Sunday, November 28, 2010

Black Men in Heavy Metal


Thank you all for being extremely patient in waiting for new posts. And also, thanks to those of you who emailed me about the blog with various concerns, comments, praises, and critiques. I appreciate the support. Trust me, it only fuels the heavy metal fire.
Now, I'm sure some of you are wondering who the dudes in that epic picture above are. (although you might already know)
Their name is Black Death (Not to be confused with the Russian band as well as the band from California). Formed in the 70s (77') from Ohio of all places. They are hailed as the 'first all black metal band'.
My experience as a black female metal head, I realized, is most likely completely different than my male counterparts.I have been blogging this whole time sharing my views on metal without taking into account the men who really paved the way.
I realize to many, black guys being into metal is not exactly anything new. (black women on the other hand...)
Metal heads may not be able to name too many all black metal bands but I'm sure you can name bands that have at least one black member. (Now think to yourself how many you can name off the top of your head and post them in the comment section).
I mean, I'm sure it took guts! Just like how being the first to do anything always is. But in such a conformists community (yeah, I said conformist), its not only courageous but possibly dangerous. From not only the metal community but the black one.
And now, this led me to think of even more alienating brands of metal and bands that have black members in them.
I think of Blasphemy (had two black members) and the back lash they experienced with their family and friends. Like I said in an older post-the black community can be very religious and downright superstitious at times. Were they accepted or bashed? I guess its interesting to me because I know that people like that made it just a little bit easier for me to be able to listen to the music I do, go to concerts in rooms filled with faces that look nothing like my own, and write this blog while saying with conviction that at least there are SOME others who are just like myself who play the music and look the part. And it only makes it easier to say I'm a metal head when I can show other groups of people who would think other wise that I'm not strange or the first/last of my kind.
I realize that for the white folks who read this blog, its probably strange to relate this feeling to you. I suppose its kinda like going to your first metal concert and seeing hundreds of people who have similar interests like you do ready to enjoy their time together. That feeling of reckless elation.
I get quite a jolt of pride whenever I go to shows and see another black metal heads (even if they are a bit stand offish) or even performers on stage. I guess its reaffirmation that your not weird or crazy and that you do belong somewhere.
(At least in America) its slowly starting to get into everybody's heads that not all black people have to listen to 'black music' or even can enjoy metal, opera, ska, punk, classical, hell country.
I do believe that it had to take a man to do this though. (I know ladies, it sucks but its true). Since metal is so masculine as a whole, black guys had to be the first to gain respect in the community in order to be taken seriously.
I really hope in the future even more all black bands emerge so that we can have a huge community for our young to look up to and be inspired by-just like I was. I hear about more and more everyday. Just think when we get to the level where we have black men and women together in symphonic metal bands. Should be interesting with our vocal range, eh?
But it takes baby steps.
So if any black men are reading this, no matter what age, tell me your experiences as a black male metal head?
And if your not a black dude-leave a comment anyway. Tell me your opinions and bands with black male members.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Questions? Concerns? Complaints?

(Off-Topic)

I realize some people may be trying to contact me but due to the reason that I have not posted an email they can contact me by-they haven't. So this is it. Thought I'd make a mini post about it as well as put this in my profile.
So-if you have any questions or critiques just email me at:

Theblackgirlintoheavymetal@gmail.com
(I know, how original)

I will get back to you and thanks for visiting!
I will start posting regularly soon and sorry for the hiatus.
Watch out for the next post: Black Men In Heavy Metal.
-BGIHM

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Flavor of The Week: The Objex

Another band that is not metal but I think you guys should know about. The Objex is a punk band based out of Las Vegas with the coolest looking lead singer (nicely named Felony Melony) I have ever seen with the most epic rack...and by rack I mean boobs. The Mohawk isn't bad either. Released in 07', Attack of the Objex is the name of their first official record but they did release a demo called 'Bound and Gagged' earlier that I can't seem to get a hold of.

If your into sort of fun-non committal punk with a bit of alternative flare than I suggest them. (Plus they have a female bassist. Who doesn't love a female bassist?) Here are some links to some vids and the myspace. Take a listen and see if you like.






www.myspace.com/theobjex (Their Myspace-incase your too lazy to look it up)


Yay or Nay? Or perhaps Yanay. You decide.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Wee Bit ot of a Hiatus...NEW POST:Check out Metal:Then and Now

(OFF TOPIC)

If you haven't noticed, few but hopefully faithful readers, I haven't posted in a while. I have tons of ideas for posts but something has gotten in the way: LIFE.

The freaking cold, tender reality of living.

These past few months I've been away, I've been trying to prepare for a move. I'm moving somewhere...alot better. Lets just say that. So thats what I've been consumed by and haven't had the energy to post.

But be patient and I will continue this blog because I love it and I think I'm doing something good here. Small but good.
So sorry and I will get back to you all....
-BGIHM

Monday, March 1, 2010

Metal:Then and Now

How did metal get from this: Nazareth 70's metal band

To this: Poison 80's hair metal band
Then finally to this: Five Finger Death Punch -Modern day douche bags in a band. DEATH TO FALSE METAL! Your guess is as good as mine.

(Sorry any FiveFingerAlign CenterDeathPunch fans who read my blog)

First off, I just want to thank everyone who is old and new to the blog, who posted their opinions of which I have yet to respond. I value it all-be it praise or critique. I'm glad that people feel comfortable enough to really say what they mean to say and not feel awkward or tense about it. Keep it up-yes that even goes to the Lord Toph fans (*read earlier post) I love interesting conversations even if we both don't necessarily agree. But really, thanks for coming back and checking up to see if I'm still there and for being very patient. Now back to the main topic:

I think having an understanding of how modern metal has come to be formed is important for any metal head. Quite honestly I still am not really sure how it has all come to be. I call myself a metal head yet when faced with this post I found myself doing research and realized that I really don't know shit about it. Or perhaps, rather, that I had only skimmed the surface of a genre that has alot of depth. Far more than a self proclaimed music geek like myself even thought there was.

Recently, I have been into alot of music history and such and I had always wondered how and why the metal that I've become so familiar with (from radio friendly to underground) came to have that certain modern sound I just can't quite place but know by ear. Or even if a metal purest could even consider the hair/glam metal bands of the 80's pure 'metal'. What really is the heavy metal sound? Or what makes a song classified into heavy metal? Drop D tuning? Heavy fast drum work? Or gut wrenching vocals?

If you look at when heavy metal was in its first pure form-its alot different than what we would even consider metal today. I was browsing Youtube the other day and had an argument in the comments section (I know, pathetic) with some being who thought that a song was only metal if there was screaming in it. Of course, my nerdrage kicked in and I argued about various classic bands being metal w/ out the whole pig squeal, growling, etc vocals. And alot of people agreed with the plebeian. So I had to ask them if they thought Black Sabbath wasn't metal to which they responded 'Whats Black Sabbath'? That's when I realized I was dealing with children and logged off. I mean, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple didn't scream-and they are famous metal bands. Had they come out today? They would be considered at most, hard rock.


Lets fast forward to the 80's. Hair metal has arrived. But what I find very interesting is that also during this time, the first wave of black metal arrived that progressed from thrash metal. So at this time bands like Celtic Frost, Venom, Mercyful Fate, and Bathory came to play. Which is probably a result of wanting to be apart from the commercial metal that was emerging in America with the bands like Poison, Stryper, Ratt, etc. This sort of L.A brand of dare I say, pop metal? It's just amusing to me that Europe was like 'Fuck that' and went all black metal. (Not to say there aren't European hair bands. *coughDefLeppard*)

Let me make a point that during all this time, Underground metal (thrash, speed, death, power, doom, etc) is alive and kicking. I suppose I should now go into the awkward 90's fusion metal brand that emerged where it all just sort of got scrambled into many things. Metal fused with rap. Metal fused with rock and punk. Cross over thrash. Metalcore. Prog.You name it. That "nu-metal" sound.

And now? There is so many metal sub genres that it starts to hurt my brain when I think about it. I still don't even feel like I have a definitive grasp on metal as a whole. I wanted to go into more of how it came to be with the history of what was going on around the time but that is another post. This is just the skim of the milk. I can say that it has definitely evolved musically into many things. So much that if you don't like a certain type then maybe you could like another. That is what is great about metal. There could be an audience for anyone and everyone.

So I have to ask:what is metal to you? Or even, what does it do for you? Perhaps then we can fully grasp how and why it became what it is today.



Monday, January 25, 2010

Blacks In Videogames/Anime



I'm sure most of you know that I have a geek side to me but I'm not sure if you guys realize the extent of my geekdom. I like alot of geeky things. I collected D.C and Marvel cards when I was younger, read comic books and manga, watched anime, and most of all play videogames. I'm sad to say I haven't changed much (but I don't collect cards anymore). Most people are shocked when they find out how much of a nerd I am because I guess I don't really exude that vibe but I am.



Now because of my nerdyness I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the next topic. But first I am going to share a story with you.



I was recently playing a video game called Mass Effect (It's a sci fi rpg on the 360 that is freaking awesome. If you haven't played it you should and if you have, get the 2nd one too!) and my little cousin was watching me play. In the game, you can create your own specific character design. I created a character that was a black female (naturally since I am one). My little cousin took one look and asked me, "Can you make your own person in this game?" I replied 'yes'. He nods and responds "I thought so because there is no way they'd have a black girl as the main person"

I was shocked by how astute his observation was. This led me to think of black people in videogames/anime and they're existence in the virtual reality world.

I always wondered why in anime, specifically the ones in the 80's-early 90's (Think Sailor Moon, Revolutionary Girl Utena, The Roses of Versaille,etc) ,featured people with very Caucasian features as major characters and yet these cartoons where created by Asians? Or even video games. If you've ever played any of the games in the Final Fantasy franchise, (specially final fantasy 12), most characters have fair hair and fair eyes.Now, there is nothing wrong with that but I've always noticed it. Perhaps its because popular media from the Western world (which admittedly is dominated by whites) would be a huge influence on these people. So add that on top of the fact that most of the media I indulge in is produced by Asian/white developers and the representations can get sort of screwed.


But I'm not just blaming them-I'm blaming us too. We allow ourselves to be portrayed stupidly on television (example-watch an hour of VH1 reality television or Maury). Sure, we can blame the media for only showing this side of us and not the affluent African Americans we never hear about, but there comes a point when maybe we have to put the blame on ourselves to allow these images to be circulated through out the world then be surprised when a foreigner depicts us in such a way. Also-unfortunately, (I can say this because I'm black), a lot of black people have a stick up their butt for no reason. I'm not saying other races don't but if my boss, who's a black woman, tells me that she loves black people but sometimes we can be just plain mean to others as well as each other-something is bat shit wrong.
I'm so afraid now that these stereotypes and depictions are so far ingrained in our culture that we can't even dig ourselves out of it. It's a double edged sword. Because if we act ghetto, mean, and uneducated it's expected but if we act normal, educated, nice, then we are being weird and assimilators. But I digress.

In the typical video game and/or anime we are usually either portrayed like Mr. Popo in DBZ (completely black, featureless besides for bright red/pink lips and white eyes ala black face) or some jive turkey cool cat gangster type. *sigh*. And its considered okay and not offensive.
We mainly fit into these roles:
*Tough, big, slightly imposing, but loveable black guy (Think Barret In FF7)
*Funny, comic relief sidekick
*Hyper sexualized, tough, power bitch (Afro Diva-Cowboy Bebop)
*Dark skinned, light haired, not really sure if they are black but we'll just throw them in there so we can have someone ethnic looking-girl.
*Jive turkey Villain

I mean, Nadia The Secret of the Blue Water, the main characters (who's name is central African) is black and the writers/developers originally drew her with kinky hair but they instead made it wavy because they didn't think Japanese people would take her as a main character.
In the upcoming FF13, one of the sidekicks-who is a black guy-carries around a little bird in his 'bird nest' hair and is the comic relief. Maybe I'm taking it all too seriously but c'mon!




I attribute all of this to plain simple lack of exposure. But it IS getting better. I've started to notice a lot of newer anime/manga has a more positive representation of blacks which makes me think we are going in the right direction. (Which may make future cosplaying easier. Although I haven't had the guts to cosplay yet...might be too nerdy).

I'm definitely going to make a pt. 2, probably regarding the Princess and The Frog and other animations I wanted to cover but I ended up not getting to. This was really just skimming the topic but I would like to go more in depth. Anyways, I want your opinion. White or Black, offensive or not. Talk to me.




(BTW-if any of you have a 360 you should totally give me your GT and I'll message you)

Friday, January 8, 2010

I'm No Racist, I'm a Nationalist!


I apologize for the hiatus. I've just been super busy as of late and admittedly lazy. I've noticed a bit of new comments and I'm sorry I haven't gotten to you guys yet. The clear winning topic of from the poll was the difference between racism and nationalism so that's the one I'll start with.


I think tons of folks' LOVE to throw the whole racist crap askew(yes black people I'm talking about you-although we aren't the only ones to do it)-but instead of just whimsically throwing this very serious ideology as well as accusation around, lets separate racism from prejudice as well as nationalism.


I'm going to be honest with you all because I dislike sugarcoating.


WE ARE ALL A LITTLE PREJUDICE.


I think in a post before I said that everyone was a little racist but I take that back. I don't believe that the black race, or any race, is better or superior to the others.


But I am a very prejudice person. I openly admit I judge some individuals based on not necessarily their race but how they dress, talk, what they listen to, and yes-race sometimes is a factor in this.I'm sorry but if I'm at a red light, its 2am, I'm alone in my car and a big dangerous looking guy starts walking up to my car-I'm going to lock my door. I would do so if he was any race. My point is that I shouldn't feel any guilt for it if he was black. Prejudice can keep you alive but being politically correct can leave you dead. Prejudice is, at least to me, normal. It's instinct. Call bully on me all you wish.

But sometimes I wonder to myself-how can I be asking society not to judge a person like me when I myself am contributing to the very cause I'm fighting against? That's another post though.


Racism, as we all should know, is the belief that your own race (or maybe perhaps a race other than your own-in that case you have some serious issues) is superior to another or all others.


Nationalism- how I interpret it-is a fierce sense of pride in ones own homeland or country. Basically Patriotism. In the non political sense, Ethnic Nationalism would be the collective pride of an ethnic race. Let me stress PRIDE. Not a superiority complex.

For example, I'm proud to be black. I love African, specifically West African, culture and heritage. I am proud to be a part of it. But I don't think I'm better than anyone because of this.


The problem with these three terms is that the line continually seems to be blurred when the line, at least from my point of view, is pretty clear cut.

I think historically, people have always seemed to put their own interpretation on a belief to fit their own intent. Nowadays, if someone hears Nationalism they have a negative and nearly hostile reaction to to the word. We've become so conditioned to associated pride with racism that we can't even differentiate between the two.

Then if you put ideals of Nationalism and cultural pride into a extreme state of mind-the line can definitely be blurred into something very ugly. I believe these bad seeds are the ones that create this sense of sensationalism as well as danger in the term.

In terms of metal, I'm not very bothered by a band with nationalistic lyrics. Although I've had black and white people tell me that I should be-as if the thought of me listening to music that they are not listening to would offend them. As I've mentioned before I'm a rather large fan of Folk/Viking metal. I can easily rock out to Ensiferum, Finntroll, Tyr, Windir, etc and sleep soundly at night.


But what pisses me off is National Socialist Black Metal uses the term Nationalism as a sort of nicer/politically friendly way of defining themselves as Racist. But, as I said before, a clear line should be forged between the two. Of course, there is more to NSBM as a genre and their ideologies that include Paganism, Odinism, Nazism, etc. I'd like just make sure everyone knows that NSBM is practically a minority in Black Metal despite popular belief. Black Metal, or Satanism, touches on individualism and thinking for yourself rather than the collectivist mentality that NSBM shares that includes their beliefs of race.


What I'm trying to say is that NO ONE should feel ashamed to be a part of an amazing culture as well as heritage. Nor should anyone feel the need to not to keep the heritage homogeneous. I know tons of folks' shout 'mixing races is beautiful' yadda yadda. And it is. But I can understand why a lot of people would like to marry within their own race and keep that line strong. Not out of racism but out of pride and love of your own people to keep the differences that make us all interesting the same for years to come.


A comment was left by Nonworshipper T-zine (sorry to call you out but the comment was too good-welcome to the blog btw) that seemed to sum all this up fairly well:

"I've discussed the difference between racism and nationalism to many people, even speaking outside of metal terms. Oftentimes, the two are used interchangeably and it's because many enter a nationalistic viewpoint with racism on the mind. It's like how a lot of Viking metal fans become Odinists, some getting entrenched in that subtle/not-so-subtle racial superiority brainwashing. Nationalism is being proud of your country and heritage, racism is thinking your race and likely your country and heritage along with it, are the elite. This automatically oppresses others due to them instantly becoming sub-par (or sub-human) in your eyes, since you'd view yourself as superior, the cream of the crop. Yet, when nationalists get too out of control with their politics, nationalism can easily turn into racism."


Oh, humanity...