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/

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