I meant to post this on Friday, but I forgot to. Anyway, now is better than never.
So, for those of you who don’t know, Hot Topic is this store in the mall where you can buy things like Tripp pants and metal band shirts and piercings and things that are either black or in some loud, sometimes neon colors. You can also get t-shirts with cartoon characters that are enjoyed by people who aren’t in the TV show’s intended demographic.
I used to go to Hot Topic all of the time because I liked the music and enjoyed sifting through those band shirts that were on clearance, and because it was one of the few stores that had things that I liked. Recently I went there and things were pretty much the same, there was some Led Zeppelin playing, I saw some black jeans, and a cd by For the Fallen Dreams (which makes me feel old because I have their first demo).
But I got this feeling, the same feeling that I always got in Hot Topic. Like I had to justify myself. That I wasn’t in here just to get a cool wallet, or some cartoon stuff, or a Lil Wayne shirt. That I, a black girl, like alternative rock and heavier and like the apparel not because some celebrity wore it and it’s popular but because I actually like it.
And it really sucks to feel this way. But it’s the same thing when going to a show, or being around a group of people who are “hardcore” or some other metal subgroup, or anytime that music is in discussion. I have to justify myself. That I like people other than Jimi Hendrix. That I know albums other than Dark Side of the Moon or Led Zeppelin IV. That I have been to shows, and have rock music on my iPod and know the words, and that I don’t like a band because they were recently featured on a soundtrack for a movie (I’m looking at you, new Soundgarden fans).
And even then, it takes some serious convincing on my behalf for people to take me seriously when it comes to music that isn’t mainstream. And it’s really messed up because the foundation for rock music comes from jazz and blues, a music dominated and originated by Black people.
And yet I, for the past 10 years of my life, have had to justify and explain why a black girl from southern Louisiana can enjoy and be a fan of rock music and all of its subgenres. It’s so frustrating.
“Do you need help? Are you looking for something?”
Yes, I’m looking for someone to take me seriously.
I am black; I am in total fusion with the world, in sympathetic affinity with the earth, losing my id in the heart of the cosmos […] I am black, not because of a curse, but because my skin has been able to capture all the cosmic effluvia. I am truly a drop of sun under the earth.
— ― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (via wordswoman)