Black Women Who Love Heavy Metal Are Victimized From All Sides

In the past on Yell! Magazine, I’ve considered blacks in heavy metal and women in heavy metal, but not really black women in heavy metal. I mentioned one black woman on the former list, but what I had to say there was nothing as extended as the feature report that Canada’s televised newsmagazine 16×9 ran on January 18th.

Watch the feature in the player above.

The 16×9 report told the story of two black women tied to the heavy metal world and their unfortunate set of experiences. First there’s Militia who fronts the New York-based all-female band Judas Priestess. The second is Laina Dawes, who’s a heavy metal journalist and has recently published What Are You Doing Here?: A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal with Bazillion Points (paperback – $12.45 or kindle – $8.95).

Despite coming at the industry from different angles, both of these women encounter the same sort of prejudice. Since Militia and Laina started out as fans, there’s no doubt that there are other women of color, or girls, who are experiencing the same sort of ignorance.

Admittedly, I’m usually surprised when I see anyone of color at a heavy metal venue, and I’m not in a small, unicultural city. The fact remains, however, that the majority of heavy metal’s fanbase is white and male. But that’s no reason for some of the horrible comments these women have received.

As soon as I saw this story, just a day after we published 5 Reasons Why We Listen to Heavy Metal, I knew I had to share it with you — especially after hearing Laina’s comments after 6:15:

I’ve been quite honest about, if it wasn’t for metal I would have killed myself … because you need that outlet for your anger.

The greater message in my article was that, for the most part, we’re drawn to heavy metal because of our sense of alienation.

Aside from some inappropriate comments from drunken, beligerant fans at a concert, it’s unbelievable that in this day and age that a record label would insist that a black woman wear a wig and/or straighten her hair in order to appear less “ethnic.” This is Militia’s experience, and I’m happy to hear that she hasn’t caved.

Watch and learn.

Rock Hard \m/

More Articles Like This

Have Your Say Leave A Comment

  • Jack

    Metal is a white art form. We don’t need blacks appropriating the culture.

    • Dead_Time

      We didn’t need you trying to imitate rock n roll but you did that didn’t you? Idiot. An Metal is not white culture, most white people don’t even listen to Metal so pop and country would be white culture if you want to put it that way.

      • Donald Doc

        Actually most white people in Europe do listen to Metal/Rock.

      • Jack

        Rock was never a black art form.

        You should not give credit to negroes where credit is not due. Where
        do you think negroes acquired guitars, pianos and brass instruments?
        Do you think they came over on slave ships? They weren’t developed in
        Africa, they came from Europe, along with the concepts of melody,
        harmony, modes and scales, and the written form of the bass clef,
        treble clef, time signatures and key signatures. The only thing
        negroes brought to America was an instinct for rhythm, the ability to
        make simple percussive instruments, and rudimentary “field hollers.”
        They did not bring music, only the crude and bizarre chanting and
        rhythms that characterize today’s (c)rap music.

        Beginning with Gregorian chants through the Classical forms and folk
        idioms (Celtic, Scotch-Irish, French, Germanic, Spanish etc.), all
        American music can be traced to Europe. Even the rock-and-roll backbeat
        had origins in Celtic music. The only original music of a non-Western
        origin involves the microtones (intervals smaller than a half-step) of
        Eastern music. What one refers to as “blues music” is simply
        flat-thirds, flat sevenths, and the passing tones of diminished fifths
        and sixths, all of which came from modes of natural, melodic and
        harmonic minor scales, WHICH WERE CONCEPTS OF THE WHITE MAN long before
        America had been discovered. There is no historical evidence that
        Africa had any concept of the octave or twelve-tone scales.

    • I’ll take the name bait… Jack must be short for “Jack-Ass”

  • Dee Dee Nolan

    I’m a black and African-American woman and I’m proud to be a metalhead. Growing up in the midwest that’s the only music that I was into and helped me make the person I am today.

    • Music is music. Yes, we here at Yell! have a strong preference for heavy metal, shunning most other genres, but at least we’re wise enough to know that music knows no boundaries, race, color, or religion. Metal for life m/

  • Giggle Tasha

    Yes! I love metal and rock… I have had people tell me that I should listen to rap because I’m black. I said, “I listen to whatever music I want thank you!”

    • Good on you for having a free will and choosing to listen to what is right for you and not what others think you should listen to. It is madness how many people think that their choices activities and interests should be based on Age, Race or Gender.

      • Music knows no borders or boundaries!

      • Giggle Tasha

        Exactly… Some people don’t get it. However most people don’t care. Good music is what I care about.

  • Giggle Tasha

    I agree!

  • Serena Bergstrom

    Im as far as I know white and like punk thrash metal/speed metal hip-hop/rap and non rave electronic music and other stuff and feel you choose what you like I’ll choose what I like no more no less anyone talking appropriating metal is just a control freak PERIOD

    • The spice of life! Good music is good music, and that’s in the “ear of the listener.” People will always, always, always try to point to where a certain sound originated… I think that’s just part of human nature

      • Serena Bergstrom

        That’s no excuse for racial supremacy!

  • Serena Bergstrom

    If anything different cultures bring a different twist which is nice not bad so celebrate diversity in music instead of laying claim I don’t know these women but if I did I wouldn’t shun them over liking metal I would just be ok enjoy!

  • Serena Bergstrom

    If that ass posts garbage ignore em delete em and move on!