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.