May 30, 4 36 04 PM, by Becky DiGiglio
Interviews

Black Lives Matter: artists comment on seeking the outcome

May 30, 4 36 04 PM, by Becky DiGiglio
With the horrific death of George Floyd and the global Black Lives Matter protests hopefully becoming a turning-point in the struggle for racial justice, people of various generations are demanding recognition of racism, and firm remedies for it. With the aim to formalize the rightful demands, many seek solutions to the state of the turmoil and inequity.

Having in mind the importance of dialogue and the unique value of punk and hardcore being a platform for protest for decades, we have teamed up with a number of artists to dig into this tough subject matter, ask our guests how can we be better listeners, why Black Lives Matter is hugely important, and share many unique perspectives:

These are unprecedented times. The global protests around race and police violence that have swept the globe in the last month call for both reflection and action. For this article, we asked artists for their ideas on concepts related to Black Lives Matter. It is our hope that their thoughts inspire yours, and that we all take action in whatever ways we deem most effective to move society, and ourselves, into a far better place. – Greg Bennick

PLEASE NOTE: This is a lengthy article, but it is surely worth your precious time. Please consume it carefully, when you can, and  and We would like this to be a dynamic and developing project. We asked many artists who were unable to take part due to time constraints. If you know of artists who you’d like included, drop us a line with their name and how to reach them, and we will make contact and issue follow-ups to this article.

A note on content: for this article, we reached out to people of color first, most of whom weren’t able to devote the time right now to answer questions, as well as a spectrum of other respondents. This article is not complete, nor is it ours. This is YOUR article and your resource. If someone isn’t here who’d you’d like to see represented, reach out to them, ask the questions we’ve asked – or your own – and send those answers in and we will include them. Respondents don’t have to be restricted to hardcore and punk people either. Artists, educators (who in an anti-education world are artists in and of themselves!), thinkers of all kinds, and more should be included. Those here are just a start. We’d like a cross section of individuals and as always amplifying marginalized voices is a top priority. Let us know who you find.


Asa Gillis of Baltimore mathy post hardcore band YUME

YUME

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

Listening to the experiences of black people or giving them a platform to share their story is a great way to help their voice be heard. When you recognize what racism looks or sounds like and the impact it has on people of color, you’ll be better equipped to call it out and prevent it from happening.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

Having lived in Baltimore during the death of Freddie Gray I’m quite familiar with the Black Lives Matter movement. It has been something that I have always supported wholeheartedly. I’m pleased to see how much momentum it has gained. I think it’s really cool the way people are using social media to organize, share petitions, and fundraise for different organizations related to the cause.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

Being a black man, this concept is very personal for me. Saying that Black Lives Matter is granting black people the dignity and humanity that we are often deprived. When you say Black Lives Matter, you’re saying that black people have the same right to live as anyone else.


Rebecca from St. Louis hardcore band REDBAIT

REDBAIT by Niles Zee

REDBAIT by Niles Zee

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

The biggest obstacle we have to listening to and understanding each other is a lack of real empathy. As individuals we see everything through the lens of our own experience and it is exceedingly difficult to take that lens off and really picture the way other people experience the world. If a person of color is telling you they don’t feel welcome or a woman is saying the scene is full of machismo, don’t immediately dismiss those thoughts because you don’t find it to be a problem. 

𝑀𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑎 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑟𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑒𝑓𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑠𝑒𝑙𝑓 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑑𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑒 𝑣𝑜𝑖𝑐𝑒𝑠. 

REDBAIT live

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

I feel like there is a certain creative artistry in a burning police station. I love it when these artists start illustrating for us the connection between capital and oppression, when they start targeting poverty vulture establishments like payday lenders or businesses that don’t hire within the community and just siphon what little wealth there is out. On the 711 that burned in Saint Louis recently, an artist wrote “We Poor, We Angry, Free Shit Now.” I, for one, found this artist’s work quite inspiring. 

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

With any luck the human race will pull our heads out of our collective ass and thrive as a society for millenia to come. Do we want to grow our culture on a foundation of selfishness and cruelty, taking from the weak to feed the powerful? Or do we want to build a foundation of fairness and justice, where all people no matter what circumstances under which they are born, have the same chance at a fulfilling and decent life?

by Becky DiGiglio

Photo by Becky DiGiglio

𝑂𝑝𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒, 𝑎𝑛𝑦 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒, 𝑟𝑜𝑏𝑠 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑛𝑒𝑐𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑎𝑟𝑦 𝑣𝑜𝑖𝑐𝑒𝑠, 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑠, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑛𝑝𝑢𝑡 𝑜𝑛 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑐ℎ 𝑡𝑜 𝑏𝑢𝑖𝑙𝑑 𝑎 𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑓𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛.

The only thing I’ll add is that there is an urge among White working class to poo poo the Black Lives Matter movement because their lives are also hard. They may have experienced police harassment and many of the same ills that BLM is fighting against. Being working class *is hard. Poor people *are oppressed as well. However, Black people are being incarcerated and murdered in cold blood at absolutely staggering rates.It just happens to be a more urgent problem at this moment.

𝐴𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑠𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑑𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑤𝑒 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑤 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑒𝑎𝑐ℎ 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑛𝑜𝑤, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑜𝑢𝑡𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑠 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑢𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑙, 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦.


Anaiah Lei from LA hardcore band ZULU

ZULU by Tim Strong

ZULU by Tim Strong

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

A lot of people immediately get defensive and try to rebuke when they feel they’re being “attacked”. 

All that does is show your racism out. So instead of trying to get defensive, actually take in what’s being told to you. If it applies to you (which it might), actually put in the effort to change that. For those that aren’t racist, you too can still listen up and just take what’s being told. It’s not a time to give your two cents.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

I’ve seen a lot of people properly using their platforms to actually talk about what’s going on and spreading good information to thousands and thousands of people. I will also say that some of it to me is performative and that in itself is wack as heck. But I’m looking at more of the positives and happy to see those supporting us to the fullest like they should!

And may the force be with us all…


Martin Stewart from LA hardcore vets TERROR:

TERROR band

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

I’ve been asked this question a lot recently being a POC and all I can say is do just that: LISTEN. People tend to filter all information through their own life experiences (which is to be expected to a certain degree) and then what comes out in the end is tailored to their own existence and can easily come of as self-serving. I don’t know it all, I don’t have all the answers, I don’t always do the right thing, so I have a hard time when being asked what someone else “should” do, but I can say this:

𝐽𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑛 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑑𝑜 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑏𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑒𝑚𝑝𝑎𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑧𝑒.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

Every little bit I’ve seen has been an inspiration. From merchandise being made to raise donations, music being created, people being proactive, discussions being had, issues being addressed, EVERYTHING.

𝐸𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑡𝑙𝑒 𝑏𝑖𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑒𝑓𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑏𝑢𝑡𝑒𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑠𝑐ℎ𝑒𝑚𝑒.

City Hall, LA, June 7th, by Becky DiGiglio

City Hall, LA, June 7th, by Becky DiGiglio

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

As an Afro-Latino born & raised in Los Angeles it’s as important as my right to just be alive. I learned at a very young age the police force’s best interest doesn’t lie within my protection or well being. I’ve been terrified of them ever since the first day I was an early teen in a car being pulled over for what could’ve only been for racial profiling (2 bald brown guys in a car) and the officer got my attention to roll the window down by tapping his gun on the glass. They’ve always scared the shit out of me & that’s something that non-POC don’t deal with in the same way that we do. Cops are scary IN GENERAL in my opinion, but even more so when your skin is dark. But this isn’t only an issue of police brutality; the current explosion of defiance seems to have been ignited by perversions of law enforcement which is why I think a lot of the focus is directed there.

𝐼𝑡’𝑠 𝑎 𝑔𝑜𝑎𝑙 𝑡𝑜 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑘 𝑡𝑜𝑤𝑎𝑟𝑑𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡’𝑠 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑐ℎ.

Something to tackle in the beginning of a long and HUGE game. So long story short, BLACK LIVES MATTER to me is simply a call for people to look into our history, into our current climate, into themselves, and realize that POC are still (400+ years later) disproportionately treated unfairly. It’s not an issue that existed but was eradicated, it merely adapted & evolved. These issues are still rampant in this country, just not out in the open as much for the last half a century, but very much still alive within the very fabric of this entire nation.


xDaniel Austin, author, athlete, powerlifter, and vocalist of solo project Mainländer and Texas hardcore band DIE YOUNG

Daniel with DIE YOUNG by @shutterhappyjose

Daniel with DIE YOUNG by @shutterhappyjose

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

I don’t think there is anything too tricky to this one, unless you’re just a narcissist to an unhealthy level–to which, I’ve got to say: Hey, we know you want everything to be about you, but this one really isn’t. It’s time let other people shine and not co-opt this moment in history from people and communities who need to be heard first. Being a good listener is probably the best thing you can do as an ally, especially as a white person in the social climate right now. It’s definitely what any of us allies need to do as a starter.

If you are a narcissist (and let’s face it, it seems more of them/us are out in the open than ever thanks to social media) this would be a good time to take inventory of your own personality. Can you name a triter nuisance than the white person who still wants to be everyone’s hero, especially right now? Instead, we need to bring humility to this forum with true open hands.

And hey, I’m not putting the narcissists down, exactly. We’re all on that spectrum, and perhaps some of us can’t seem to help the degree to which we are narcissistic, but either way we need to try to help it–to be more rational and objective about ourselves to develop the capacity to really listen.

May 31, 11 11 34 AM, by Becky DiGiglio

May 31, 11 11 34 AM, by Becky DiGiglio

I’m not excluding myself here either. For a long time, I’ve been paranoid of being a toxic narcissist (note: there is such a thing as healthy narcissism, too, and it’s an important part of healthy integrated character). I’ve been paranoid about this after reflecting on my experiences as a young lonely kid who grew up to tour in hardcore bands. I likely developed tendencies toward megalomania due to not having people around to check me on my crazy ideas and running wild with my own creativity. Later on, I was always headstrong and authoritative as a band leader, as a songwriter (at practice, in the studio, on stage), and I was often told I was domineering–that I didn’t always do the best job at listening to my friends and bandmates, that I’d sometimes talk down to them (even though I really didn’t mean to or know that I was doing so), and all that often strained our relationships unnecessarily by making people feel I just wanted them to do my bidding on a mission that was ultimately all mine. That’s not the kind of environment most people want to be a part of, yet creating an environment the most possible people want to be part of is an important component of social change. I’ve heard the about personal traits at times in regard to my intimate relationships, too, so I have tried to account for all that feedback, and I have taken narcissistic personality tests from time to time (aside from therapy) to try and get a more objective look at how I tend to project myself onto the world.

Just Google search “Narcissism quiz” and try a few of the quizzes you find to see what patterns emerge about yourself. This is going to come in handy when you are putting your best foot forward to help the cause you care for to organize and mobilize with others, because you’ll know a little more about what strengths you have to offer, as well as the personality weaknesses you need to be on guard for.

And on the flip side of the coin, if you find you score very low on a narcissism spectrum, you might be the kind of person who has trouble speaking up to even challenge or engage family members about their obtuse, quasi- or outright racist ramblings, let alone strangers. But that would also be good to know about yourself, because we could all learn how to be better listeners and communicators in general right now.

Mainländer - Daniel Austin

Mainländer – Daniel Austin

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

I am most impressed by the sheer energy and passion people have brought to the streets, which for once in my lifetime seems to have visibly shaken the power structures we live in. Local governments are making bold talk of changing things according to the people’s demands for justice. District attorneys are prosecuting violent cops who in the past would have most likely not even been held to trial. We have yet to see how this all plays out, or what lasting changes (if any) this time of resistance and upheaval will yield, but the mass of people showing up to speak up has been inspiring and hopeful. It seems Ferguson and Baltimore got suppressed too soon after those rebellions gathered steam, and the movement didn’t take hold in places beyond the local epicenters of the cases in question (of Mike Brown or Freddie Gray). This time, though, wow, the country erupted. I am also deeply impressed by how many white people have shown up for this cause, and likewise, how people of color have often stood up for white people to be a part of this movement as a people’s movement. After all, police brutality absolutely affects all of us and undermines what little faith we may have left in America’s core institutions.

𝐼𝑡 𝑡𝑜𝑜𝑘 𝑎 𝑙𝑜𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑔𝑒𝑑𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑏𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑢𝑠 𝑐𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑜𝑔𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟, 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑖𝑡 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙𝑠 ℎ𝑜𝑝𝑒𝑓𝑢𝑙 𝑠𝑒𝑒𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑡𝑜𝑔𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑖𝑛 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑒 𝑢𝑛𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑒𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑤𝑎𝑦𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑚𝑦 𝑙𝑖𝑓𝑒𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒.

Daniel Austin

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

I think Black Lives Matter is important, both personally and culturally, because it seems to be the most vital rallying point to fight the militarization of police in the western world right now, and in terms of history, it has been at the center of the largest and most widespread civil rights protest turnouts we’ve ever seen. It’s also the driving campaign to address the economic inequality of the West right now, because criminal justice and policing issues are absolutely linked to education issues to employment and wealth issues, and other issues like drug policy, reproductive rights, health care, and on and on and on.

𝐴𝑠 𝑎 𝑚𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡, 𝐵𝐿𝑀 𝑐𝑎𝑛𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑏𝑒 𝑖𝑔𝑛𝑜𝑟𝑒𝑑, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑎𝑠𝑡 ℎ𝑎𝑙𝑓-𝑑𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑑𝑒 𝑖𝑡 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑎𝑚𝑝𝑎𝑖𝑔𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑝𝑢𝑠ℎ𝑒𝑑 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑠𝑜𝑐𝑖𝑒𝑡𝑦 𝑝𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑎 𝑡𝑖𝑝𝑝𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑝𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑎𝑐𝑐𝑒𝑝𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑑𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑧𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑠 𝑞𝑢𝑜 𝑜𝑓 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑎𝑔𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑙, 𝑝𝑖𝑣𝑜𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑤𝑒’𝑣𝑒 𝑠𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑓𝑒𝑤 𝑤𝑒𝑒𝑘𝑠.

There seems to be a ton of confusion about what Black lives Matter is really about, and it makes me think most people complaining about Black Lives Matter haven’t read the ‘What We Believe’ section on their website, which plainly states:
“We work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people.”
It’s ironic that the people crying “All Lives Matter” in opposition to Black Lives Matter can’t grasp that BLM is aiming to unite us all in a fight against police brutality and economic inequality. Well, of course, we all know why anyone who continues to rebut with “All Lives Matter” does so…


Noble Brown of Austin, Texas post hardcore band BLACK MERCY

Noble Brown by Mike Manewitz

Noble Brown / BLACK MERCY, by Mike Manewitz

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

I feel like one of the first steps in being a better listener would be gaining an understanding of what many Black Americans must deal with on a daily basis. Hardcore kids should also not be afraid to hear about the injustices and inequalities that are ever present in our communities. It seems like many white people never want to hear about these things because they feel some sort of guilt for the atrocities that have occurred. I think that these feelings of guilt or feelings of being the bad person or villain get in the way of actually trying to listen and understand the issues at hand. Maybe once people are willing put these thoughts and feelings aside, they will be able to truly listen and try to gain some sort of understanding.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

I was honestly overwhelmed when I saw that the protest had gone global. The George Floyd protest were not only held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but they also happened in all 50 states within the United States. But then I also saw reports of protest happening in other countries. I found that show of global solidarity to be amazing. The situation that caused these global protests was horrible, but it was great to see the world come out and say, “we stand with all black people, and we need to recognize that all black lives also matter.”

Noble Brown by Mike Manewitz

Noble Brown / BLACK MERCY, by Mike Manewitz

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

While the answer to this question may seem simple, but it’s honest. MY LIFE FUCKING MATTERS! My life is just as valuable and important as any other person. I deserve just as much respect as any other person no matter their race or class.

𝑆𝑜 𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝐼’𝑚 𝑏𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑘, 𝐼 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑏𝑒 𝑙𝑜𝑜𝑘𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑡 𝑎𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑟 𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑠𝑡. 𝐼 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑏𝑒 𝑠𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑎𝑠 𝑎 𝑝𝑜𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑐𝑟𝑖𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑙. 𝐼 𝑑𝑒𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑡𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑎𝑤 𝑎𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑦 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑐𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑧𝑒𝑛 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑈𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑠.


 

Nashville hardcore band THIRDFACE

THIRDFACE by diana zadlo-min

THIRDFACE by Diana Zadlo

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

Being a better listener requires understanding that one’s life experiences are not universal. If people truly want to be useful for marginalized communities, they should listen to those communities to find out their wants and needs.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

I’m very happy to see so many bands and artists around the country teaming up to OPEN. THAT. PURSE. There are a lot of great organizations on the ground doing big things that need FUNDING to be able to do what they do. Lots of donations streaming in is a great thing.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

As a black woman, Black Lives Matter, as a sentiment, is something I’ve always known to be true. Black Lives Matter, as a movement, is working to dismantle the power structures that be to make that a reality for everyone.


South African / Australian Tyronne Gietzmann from fastcore punk band PERSECUTOR (ex-REBIRTH and RIGHT MIND)

Tyronne Gietzmann - xtgrxart / PERSECUTOR

Tyronne Gietzmann – xtgrxart / PERSECUTOR

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

In the context of race. I think that we need to destroy the commonly held belief that racism is purely an individual phenomenon and a moral flaw. Racism needed to be accepted as the systemic and societal issue that it is. Due to its deep seated roots within our western society, everyone has some form of racist unconcious bias because they were socialised in an environment that is inherently racist. This bias can be internalised racism even within pople of colour which often takes the form of self loathing or colourism.

Accepting Racism for what it is in its entirety will help eliminate the garish and cartoony version of racism most white people perceive when people called out as being racist. (I acknowledge that there is still very real examples of this in the world of course such as Neo-Nazis, Alt right fan boys and the KKK to name a few). The ‘phantom evil’ people conjure in their minds helps reinforce their cognitive dissonance when being called out for being racist, as they would never see themselves as a “racist”. Only when we eliminate this phantom idea of racism and deal with the fact that everyone learns racist behaviour through socialisation, only then will we be to be comfortable working through racist behaviour.

𝑊ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑤𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑛𝑜 𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟 𝑑𝑒𝑓𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑣𝑒, 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑤𝑒 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑛.

To be a good listener is to actively engage with the speaker. To have full attention to the person speaking their experience. Trying to foster and hold empathy with the speaker. To try not to have agendas during the conversation such as playing devils advocate or stepping in to offer unsolicited advice. Be mindful that the experience described may be something that is entirely out of your experience and that you are their to learn. A point around this is also not to assume that just because someone is sharing their story does not give admission for them to act as your teacher. Use the experience to validate any knowledge you may have and continue to conduct further research to help better your understanding.

Stop Killing My People banner, by Becky DiGiglio Photography

Stop Killing My People banner, by Becky DiGiglio Photography

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

I have always enjoyed the lessons that punk taught me. That music at its best, is a medium to share experience and knowledge. So it’s great to see this happening at a time where it is crucial that people are not staying silent and using their positions to platform the Black Lives Matter movement.

Also seeing lots of designers creating infographics and artists creating illustrations, paintings that have flooded social media to help educate, highlight and document the events unfolding and breaking the meaning and history behind it. I also want to mentioned that seeing the graffiti throughout the protests is also extremely inspiring as artist expression of the movement. When ever I see red paint on a monument I enjoying thinking about the deeper meaning that been portrayed in a single expression.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

As someone of the African Diaspora who has experienced racism first hand. the Black Lives Matter movement is giving much needed exposure to the racism that is intrically tied into our society. People who have never thought about racism are beginning to wake up to these facts that many of us experience repeatedly through our lifetime. In saying this, I come from a mixed background so I am afforded a privilege of being lighter skinned than others.

Black Lives Matter is an important concept as I have heard my father and his families accounts of extreme racial oppression in South Africa. I know from South Africa’s history that direct action against oppressive systems is necessary to instigate a change. That continuious mass demonstrations (both non violent and violent – when nessesary), boycotts and united allyship are the only way to topple racist structures. In my mind this is what the Black Lives Matter movement is today. It is not just fringe and failed political movement (such as the Occupy Movement). It is an organised yet organic response to the systemic issues of race in America. That being said, due to how globalised the world is, many aspects of the movement can be applied to all parts of the world affected by colonial and imperialist rule. The fact that captialism needs nationalism, racism and white supremacy to function and continue the exploitation it needs to sate it’s unsustainable greed. Many countries are applying ideas within the movement into their own socio-political environments. An example of this in Australia is the use of the BLM movement to highlight the similarities between the treatment of African American people in America and the Aborginal peoples of Australia through police brutality and deaths in custody. The fact that the movement has gained such attention has helped bring often quite ‘radical’ concepts such as defunding the police and prison abolishnist thinking into the mainstream is something I have not seen in my life time.


Justin Pearson of Three One G Records, THE LOCUSTDEAF CLUBDEAD CROSSPLANET B.

Justin Pearson with DEAF CLUB, by Becky DiGiglio, @yourethenight

Justin Pearson with DEAF CLUB, by Becky DiGiglio, @yourethenight

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

Well, this is a loaded question. Especially in realtion to hardcore, and especially in relation to the current state of the Black Lives Matter movement. Let’s face it, hardcore is predominatley white, which is unfortunate. Still to this day, in 2020, I see the bands who identify as hardcore, mostly being white dudes. So as much as you’d say that “our voices are heard”, a lot of the voices could benefit by pausing and listening, and really actually try to understand certain things that white people will never fully understand. Even in disagreement, and especaily with hardcore, whcih tends to be agressive musically and otherwise, there is an echo chaimber of content and dialogue, that at times falls flat in attempt to create actual change. Sure, there is value in wearing a t-shirt that says something as simple as “end racism”, but I think we need to dive into the root of the problem and focus on the systematic reason for issues of oppression. Where it’s our job as artists to reflect on the world we live in, and try to set it straight, we need to completely rework how we all live, and change the system from the roots up. This is a massive, massive topic, and I’m not even exactly sure where to start or where you want to go with this question here. Do we talk about class issues? Do we talk about empathy or lack of it? Or do we talk about capitalism? Or what about how we are taught to hate downwards to enable forms of oppression?

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

Here are some links to people who have been informative, inspiring, and also revolutionary:

As for what I have been doing, I have been trying to stay active in creating art that speaks truth, also I try to be out in the streets at protests in solidarity, as well as trying to reflect and think about systematic racism, and how I might be aiding in it without even knowing. This isn’t all that creative on a large scale, but doing something as simple as figuring out where you spend your money is an obvious thing to consider. Corporations are often in bed with lobbyists, who have a political agenda. We can do our homework and see who we are feeding and who we can starve out. This will certainly aid in helping a diverse demographic, specifically small independent businesses and people of color. And let’s face it, creativity relating to innovation comes from the ground up.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

It’s not a concept, it’s way more than that. It’s a movement birthed from an obvious part of humanity that has been missing since the colonization of the Western world. More specifically, it’s the reaction to a cancer that has plagued America from its inception.

𝐵𝑢𝑡 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑎 𝑞𝑢𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑡𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑟; 𝑖𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑣𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑖𝑠𝑡 𝐷𝑁𝐴 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝐴𝑚𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑎, 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑖𝑡 𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑒 𝐴𝑚𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑎?


Flint W. Beard of Texas straight edge hardcore band LIFE FORCE

LIFE FORCE by Jeff Lasich

LIFE FORCE by Jeff Lasich

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

Obviously there is a huge number of folks in hardcore that believe in and endorse the idea of our scene being a safe and inclusive place for hc kids of all ages, all races, all orientations, all genders, etc. However, the fact remains that this scene, like American society on the whole, is still made up mostly of folks who look like me, which is to say white people. In order for us white folks, in the scene and in society in general, to learn and grow and acknowledge our faults and our errors during this time (and believe me, we’ve all got em) is to take a step back and simply listen to what our POC friends and families are saying right now. The last thing we need at this time is grandstanding privileged white people speaking over those that truly aren’t heard otherwise, whether those white people are well meaning or whether they’re virtue signaling, the result is the same. It’s time to listen to the opinions, experiences, and wishes of those communities most negatively affected by systemic racism, and absorb that information into our own lives moving forward, instead of drowning them out or playing ally for a few weeks and then falling back into the same old ruts once it’s not in the spotlight anymore.

May 30, 5 03 43 PM, by Becky DiGiglio

May 30, 5 03 43 PM, by Becky DiGiglio

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

In regards to direct action going on right now in response to the George Floyd murder and ensuing BLM demonstrations, the most inspirational thing I’ve personally witnessed was when my fiancee and I marched alongside Floyd’s family here in Houston, along with 60,000 other people, to city hall to demand accountability and reform in policing; during that protest I saw three men standing together, the man on the left was holding a red bandana and represented the Bloods Gang and was holding that bandana in one hand while raising his other fist in the air, the man in the middle was holding a black bandana in both raised fists, and the man on the right was holding a blue bandana tied on the other side and represented the Crips Gang. Watching this moment happen in real time was profoundly impactful on me, not because I have any personal experience with life in a street gang and navigating the struggles of living as a black man in america, but because it’s such a strong visual of two groups who have historically stood in such stark opposition to one another putting aside their differences and acknowledging a movement that is bigger than their disputes. I think that all Americans, especially white Americans, can learn from this inspiring visual demonstration of solidarity and unity.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

The concept behind the genesis and ongoing action of the Black Lives Matter movement is so painfully simple, and so painfully obvious, that I’m genuinely blown away by the amount of debate and ridicule that I see being CONSTANTLY lobbed at it. It seems like it should be such a low bar: black lives matter just as much as any others, they don’t deserve to be discriminated against based on the color of their skin. That’s such a simple, positive concept, and I say “low bar” because it seems like that should be a no brainer, something that should immediately be acknowledged and accepted as truth. Of course that should be the case, but unfortunately it’s not, and black lives haven’t mattered on the same level ever since people who looked like me brought black people to this continent in chains, and unfortunately there are people (again, who look like me) that have benefited from that disparity in the treatment of black folks ever since, and they are very resistant to embracing the SYSTEMIC changes that are necessary to allow us to grow and evolve our world to put an end to this horrific American tradition.

May 31, 11 11 34 AM , by Becky DiGiglio

May 31, 11 11 34 AM , by Becky DiGiglio

So, to answer the question, on a moral level it’s important to me because I know that it’s the right thing to do, and I know that while we as a society are very late in attempting to implement changes in this regard, there’s no time like NOW to start making those changes.

On a more personal level, it’s because I can’t just look away and refuse to acknowledge the systems and traditions of oppression that are active on all levels of society concerning the prejudice toward black bodies, even if I have not experienced those myself, especially knowing I have black nephews, black cousins, black friends, and black colleagues who have…

…𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑚𝑦 𝐷𝑈𝑇𝑌 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐼 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒 (𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑎𝑠 𝑎 𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑎𝑙 ℎ𝑢𝑚𝑎𝑛 𝑏𝑒𝑖𝑛𝑔) 𝑡𝑜 𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝑚𝑦 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑙𝑒𝑔𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑎𝑖𝑑 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑙𝑖𝑏𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛.

LIFE FORCE by Gray Muncy

LIFE FORCE by Gray Muncy

𝑀𝑦 𝑏𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑟𝑎𝑑𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑁𝑒𝑤 𝐴𝑔𝑒 𝑅𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑟𝑑𝑠 𝑟𝑜𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑟 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑖𝑝𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑛 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑡𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑠, 𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑓𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑏𝑒 𝑑𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑏𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑘 𝑒𝑚𝑝𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑐𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑙 𝑟𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡𝑠 𝑜𝑟𝑔𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑧𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑎 𝑚𝑢𝑙𝑡𝑖𝑡𝑢𝑑𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑤𝑎𝑦𝑠, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑑𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑏𝑙𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑦 𝑖𝑛𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑑𝑢𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒.

If you haven’t done the same, I urge you to get in contact with your local BLM organization and ask how you can best help. Whether it means just showing up to a demonstration in solidarity, providing a ride home for those arrested, bringing a case of water to protestors, donating your money or time, the list goes on and on for ways that you can contribute to the cause, regardless of your situation. I urge you to get involved in literally any way, and know that you contributed to this movement that represents a critical turning point in our history.

𝑌𝑜𝑢 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑎𝑖𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑖𝑛 𝑖𝑡𝑠 𝑔𝑜𝑎𝑙𝑠, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑠𝑖𝑑𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 ℎ𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦.


Jung Sing from Mexicali noise post punk band SILENT

Jung Sing from SILENT, by @timfears / Tim Fears Photography

Jung Sing from SILENT, by @timfears / Tim Fears Photography

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

Well I think we need to start to see what is around us this days and focus to be a better human beings, quit our phones and social media for a second and start to care about all the problems with society is happening right now, we see racism, violence, pedofilia murder on social media all the time, we normalized that, we just think in our heads wow that’s bad, then we continue with our lives like nothing of that happened in real life, we kinda feel that happened in my computer our my phone but it’s kind out of my reach, but is not like that, we need to care more, we need to be in the front of the problem, because all of that bad stuff is happening out there can happen to us someday, so I think if we get more involve and we try harder to be more a better person in society even in life that’s gonna make us a better listeners on every aspect.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

Everything is happening right now inspires me, a lot of artist and musicians I know are bringing super interesting works, because they wanna talk true their work, they want to be heard and for me that’s awesome, during the las 5 years I saw painters, musicians, writers,etc, create a different aspects with what they do and that’s makes me want to be heard to, of course the situation about the immigration problems and the us government trying to denigrate the latino race, the black people having the same fucking problem in 2020 still, is frustrating, plus the mexican government still sucking the blood to our country, inspire me to create something with meaning, is the same thing that happens to other artist for me that’s rad because that makes you create something strong what is going to live forever and is gonna to let something in somebodies head for the rest of their lives and that’s creative.

May 31, 8 34 29 PM, by Becky DiGiglio-min

May 31, 8 34 29 PM, by Becky DiGiglio

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

Well to me is important because at this moment say those words (black lives matter) represent all the people who is tired about racism, those are words of no more, I can’t believe that still happens true all this years, we know that is wrong, even kids know that, but the president trump, with all the words he says all the time, he inspires to be like that, racism was always there but people start to think if my president thinks like that is not that wrong, so fuck it!, so all the supporters of that idea start to appear more, we have to make conscience about what is happening right now, it is the prefect time to do it, people stands up I saw it, I saw their faces on the news the society is fucking tired, not just the black community the world is tired about violence, iies, hungry, diseases, latino culture racism.

Those words right now have to be heard everywhere, so those who things different about black community, learn how to respect everybody the same, no as black, no as asian, no as mexican, no as latino, respect as a human being, we are all the same in this world and all we live in it!!


Bobby Bray from THE LOCUST / INUS:

The Locust by Becky DiGiglio

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

Great question! I think the first way to be better listeners is to actually listen. Before quickly posting memes on social media and being accused of virtue signaling, take some time to dig deeper. There are many bubbles of existence that people inevitably become part of: geographic; academic; socioeconomic; and yes, musical subcultures too.

𝐿𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑛 𝑡𝑜 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑜𝑢𝑡𝑠𝑖𝑑𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑏𝑢𝑏𝑏𝑙𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑐𝑙𝑢𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎𝑛𝑦𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜𝑜 𝑞𝑢𝑖𝑐𝑘𝑙𝑦, 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛 𝑖𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝑑.

For example, (if you haven’t already) listen to Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, on the excellent podcast Deconstructed.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

There is a concept called the Overton Window that American conservative think tanks have been using for a couple of decades now. Basically it describes the range of accepted political positions on a given subject, and if you want to move what’s accepted in the center you can start talking about positions far to one side of the spectrum which can then move the window towards that direction. What is inspiring is to see this tactic being used by BLM!

Making a call to “defund the police” is a rather extreme position/phrase compared to what was recently accepted in contemporary American public discourse. Coupled with mass protests it seems to actually be yielding some policy and social changes. For example, some local police departments are banning chokeholds, the Los Angeles Police Department is cutting up to $150 million out of its budget (of $1.8 billion), and the propaganda television show Cops was cancelled.

An even more impressive example involves putting Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey (Democrat) on the spot and asking if he would support defunding the police, while stressing the fact that he would be up for reelection next year. (He answered that he would not.) The next day the Minneapolis City Council actually pledged to dismantle the police department. That would have been unheard of a month ago.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

The American political system does not include proportional representation of political parties in congress. So that inevitably leads to many people voting for the lesser of two evils when it comes to local representatives as well as presidential elections. The left-leaning party (Democratic party) often seems to lump Black Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ Americans, Native Americans, and people with disabilities into a sort of monolithic voting bloc that’s supposed to fall in line simply because the opposing option is worse. Black Lives Matter as a movement shows that agency still exists and power is possible. You can take a stand and move the Overton window, regardless of who holds elected positions!

In addition, BLM has been very effective at pointing out systemic racism, which is a fundamental problem in American politics–not only regarding domestic issues but foreign policies as well. This is especially true when it comes to the supposed War on Terror. If America can finally start to value Black Americans equally, maybe it can start valuing the citizens of other countries as well when it comes to things like drone strikes.


David R. Green III from St. Louis death metal band EXTINCIONISM

Extinctionism

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

I would say to focus on hearing the voices of the Black and Brown people around you. Let go of your experience and bias and focus on the voices of others if they so need you to. And try to gather as many of these experiences as humanly possible. Also respect those who do not want to share or can’t right now; as much as this is a hopeful time for many it’s Extremely draining at the same time. Keep in mind that if you’re reaching out to those who you don’t regularly communicate with your attempt to listen might come across as less than genuine. It’s never too late to apologize to those who you’ve never cared to actually listen to before.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

I’m sure that none of us have seen so much outpouring of affection or empathy over social media as there has been the last few weeks.I think its easy to say this is what’s been building over the last decade. It’s finally reached a head and people are doing whatever they can possibly do to help. It is extremely hopeful to see so many white people put their own bodies in the way of physical harm by violent cops by marching alongside Black protesters.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

Black lives matter is essential to me for the world to understand how important we truly are for society as whole. The world as we know it has thrived off Black culture and our people without truly making sure we were adequately supported or cared about it. If people have been ignoring our plight before it’s almost impossible to do so now. Black Lives Matter means not only being represented as a human being but also being celebrated as important facets of society that will no longer be ignored. Post the protest in Ferguson BLM became almost a dirty word in the mouths of the conservatives in this country. Thankfully times have changed for the better and now Black lives matter, the sentiment and the movement is finally gaining acceptance. I have never seen so many people in not just the hardcore scene which I expected there to be support, but also in the metal and adjacent scenes to outwardly support the movement and Black people.

𝐼 𝑜𝑛𝑙𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑡𝑤𝑜 𝑓𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑟𝑒𝑔𝑎𝑟𝑑𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑢𝑟𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠

1) That the movement slows down and the actual progress speeds to a halt here in a few months.

2) I am afraid that all of the corporate support BLM has received is only being done to protect the image of these companies and ultimately protect capitalism at all cost.

We have to keep the corporations accountable not in just their social media support but in actual changes that their employees can see. If in a few months things go back to the way they were and the companies now make even more money in supporting the idea of Black Lives Matter, nothing will have honestly changed. We will see the push to rename buildings and products that should’ve been corrected decades ago, all of these changes are quickly pushed through if they believe our modern society will get back to the status quo faster. We cannot let this momentum die down, if they truly believe Black Lives Matter give us the same means to build true generational wealth for our families that the white people of this nation have been able to generate. By helping us escape the class vacuum we were thrown into real change and can begin to occur and not just nice sentiments. . I am hopeful that as more people get used to the idea of defunding the police that in the next few years it will become a countrywide reality.


Kolby Hawkins, a multi-instrumentalist and music producer from NYC, by way of Baltimore

Kolby Hawkins

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

Media and news outlets have an interesting role in this whole situation. I think there’s a definitely a balance between being quiet, avid listeners and also using the platform that you have to spread information you’ve retained and be leaders in that sense. I mean, this interview is a great example. It’s the use of your platform to amplify a greater message that otherwise might not be heard. The best way to be a listener as a person, specifically, is to take yourself out of the equation and start with empathy.

𝐼𝑓 𝑒𝑚𝑝𝑎𝑡ℎ𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑐𝑢𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛, 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑜𝑙𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑖𝑠 𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑣𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑏𝑙𝑒.

It’s when the pride, selfishness, and defensiveness come in that the listening stops.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

I’ve seen so many artists, visual and musical, using their art to generate capital for donations. I recently raised over $400 for Campaign Zero through donations on my Bandcamp during Bandcamp Friday. Not sure if this is a creative approach, but just the sheer amount of positive support I’ve seen and received from people inspires me to no end. That little serotonin kick will definitely get the morale going.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

Black Lives Matter is important to me in many ways. It is a civil rights movement happening right before my eyes. It’s not something I’m reading about in a textbook. I’ve never felt more connected to previous generations than I have now. It’s sad that it has to come this way, but I appreciate the perspective and understand what they were fighting for so much more. It’s also important to me because it is just the foundation for what is to come. “Matter” is a minimum requirement. We need black lives to be cherished and loved and appreciated, not simply matter.


A long-time animal rights activist Jake Conroy “the cranky vegan”, rethinking the strategies & tactics of the grassroots animal rights movement.

Jake Conroy

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

First off, I’m a white het cis man with a US passport. I’m perhaps in one of the most privileged demographics in the world. And as such, I think it’s important that myself and those within that demographic have difficult conversations amongst ourselves. We need to recognize that the country we live in has been rooted in and built up on white supremacy. And because of that we are afforded an enormous amount of privilege. So to that end, we need to hold each other accountable and enhance our political education. But at the same time allow each other to make mistakes, because there will be a lot of them. But if we all can grow together, we will be more strongly rooted in building equitable solutions for everyone.

We all know how to listen, and we just need to figure out who to listen to. And in this critical moment in history, as a white man speaking to other white folks, we need to be listening to black folks. We need to be searching out the voices in our communities and neighborhoods and circles and not just listen and learn, but amplify them; use our platforms to project the voices of those who otherwise get drowned out and silenced in our communities.

But it can’t end at listening. We need to re-learn our history, reexamine our present, and re-strategize where and how we move forward. Read history books and study struggles of the past. Practice being a solid ally and all that entails and avoid performative action. Think about how we move ourselves forward into the future by fighting for more equitable spaces, communities, and countries. And fight against those things that strip away that equity, like militarized police forces, the prison industrial complex and the judicial system.

𝐿𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑛, 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑎𝑙𝑠𝑜 𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑛 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎𝑐𝑡.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

While Black Lives Matter is just one chapter in the civil rights movement, it’s an inspiring one.  Starting with a simple tweet from Alicia Garza in July 2013, the movement has accelerated at a massive rate.  They have moved hundreds of thousands of people to take the streets around the world to fight back against systemic racism, moved some of the biggest corporations to react to their demands, they have sat down with a president of the United States, they have seen racist landmarks and statues and flags and paintings be removed from public spaces, multiple police forces defunded or deplatformed and successfully ran people around the United States for political office, just to name a few.  They have done it with a somewhat decentralized platform, strong campaign strategies, and by embracing the idea of collective liberation and intersectionality to build not by themselves, but along side a wide range of other social justice movements.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

It’s a simple concept but it’s an important one – we all feel pain and suffering and terror and we all deserve the ability to live a life free of those things. We also share the ability to love and feel happiness and joy and we all should be afforded those opportunities to do so. We all need to support one another in fighting for those opportunities. Right now, the 4 alarm fires of systemic racism are raging out of control in the black communities, and it’s up to all of us to help put them out, so we can move on to the next pressing fight.


Dallas Ware of ARDOR and synth infused power pop rock act Night Hums.

Dallas Ware

Dallas Ware

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

It starts with hearing someone out and not dismissing a single statement. There was always this saying that says “we listen to respond and not to understand.” It’s about time to start understanding. Open your ears and eyes and shut your mouth.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

I haven’t heard or seen many but I think that the fact that the more people (artists and corporations in particular) with bigger platforms are constantly pushing this movement. Hell, even the commercials are finally getting in on it.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

Because BLACK LIVES DO ACTUALLY MATTER. A lot of people are purposely dismissing the facts that us as blacks are actually treated less of a human. No it does not mean only black lives matter, and that’s another thing people are dismissing. They KNOW that we don’t mean only black lives matter. It’s just a motive against the movement to try to disprove the actual meaning. All lives don’t matter until black lives matter. Simple math. They know what we mean, they just don’t want to help the cause because they want to be apart of the problem.


Anthony Francoso from experimental / noise act GERONIMO

Anthony Francoso from experimental / noise act GERONIMO

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

When we listen, we need to truly listen, and we need to listen with intention and radical empathy. We need to support what we hear. We do not question, cast doubt, or contradict the experiences of Black folx. After we listen, then we need to act. We act in ways to support and amplify the intentions of our Black brothers, sistes, gender non conforming and non binary folx. We need to center the experiences of Black folx, and act as co-conspirators in the process of dismantling white supremacy. Our actions are dependent on the listening, they go hand in hand, they action cannot be separated from listening.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

There is so much that inspires me. Black Mama Bailout, an organization that raises money to bail out Black mothers from prison. Critical Resistance, an organization that focuses on abolishing prisons, Youth Justice Coalition, which organizes high school students to challenge the prison industrial complex. And since I am from Los Angeles, BLM LA continues to inspire me everyday, from camping out in front of LAPD headquarters demanding a meeting with the LA police chief, to showing up City Hall every week to demand D.A. Jackie Lacey’s ousting.I also really loved BLM LA’s boycott of 24 hour fitness, as well as Black Xmas, which develops community through economic support of Black owned business. There recent list of demands has also been inspiring. These elements specifically: Taken from here.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

No one is free until all Black folx are free! Black folx have been at the center of a genocide since the first African was stolen from Africa. The movement to liberate Black folx and communities has been waging in the United Snakes, home of the thief, land of the enslaved, for hundreds of years. We saw Black movement to abolish slavery, we have seen Black organizing to challenge jim crow, we have seen Black resistance to challenge lynchings, Black activism to clap back against police abuse, and now Black radicalism to abolish the prison industrial complex. The tradition of Black radicalism is the foundation for all movements of resistance, Black freedom struggles are connected to all liberation struggles throughout the U.S. and the world.

Short term:

– Income supplement of $2000 per month per adult and $1000 per month per child for all Black residents for the duration of the pandemic and economic fallout.

– Employ properly-equipped, non-violent, community care workers as neighborhood resources, instead of expanding patrols by funding police and law enforcement.

– Funding for neighborhood-based community care plans in Black communities throughout the County, especially South Central Los Angeles, Watts, Skid Row, Compton, and Inglewood.

– On-demand, safe housing and supportive resources for unsheltered people and those fleeing unsafe conditions in unused hotel and motel rooms and vacant housing units.

– Cancellation of rents and mortgages, and replacement of rental income to non-corporate Black property owners until the pandemic and economic fallout subsides.

– Immediate release of all people who are pretrial, bail-eligible, elderly, youth, pregnant, infirmed, immuno-comprimised and those held on parole/probation violations or infractions/non-serious misdemeanors from jails or detention.

– Immediate release of all people who are parole-eligible, parole-suitable, elderly, youth, pregnant, infirmed, immuno-comprimised and those held on parole violations or non-violent felonies from prisons.

Long term:

– Reparations

– Universal, quality, accessible healthcare.

– Vouchers for fresh produce for Black residents of Los Angeles County that are universally accepted at all places that sell food.

– Funding for culturally-competent healthy eating and food preparation classes run by Black-led organizations.

– Declare housing as a human right and provide universal permanent housing for all.

– Funding for and prioritization of alternatives to incarceration. Free, quality, universal childcare.


Sean from Baltimore emo pop punk rock / post hardcore act LIKE FIRES EVERYWHERE

Like Fires Everywhere

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

I believe simply listening isn’t enough anymore. Now it’s about truly understanding another perspective. I believe this can be achieved by seeking out information, having an open mind to learn. A lot of problems occur because some just assume they know when in reality it’s much deeper than what’s being shown on the surface. Dave Chappelle even dropped a netflix special on YouTube entitled “8:46” where he talks about the issues blacks deal with in America.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

I’m from DC which is a very diverse city and is rich in historical movements. Seeing everyone come together for such a great cause was truly inspiring. Seeing different cultures and different backgrounds unify peacefully in DC and support Black Lives Matter was just amazing. It showed that strength in numbers play a significant role in making changes happen.

Dave Chappelle also has release a Netflix special on YouTube entitled “8:46” where he talked brutally and honestly about black issues in America. As well as shedding light on things that I wasn’t aware of.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

It’s important because it brings awareness to many issues that African Americans face in this country. As a black man myself, when I see “Black Lives Matter.” it puts a smile on my face, despite the world’s flaws. I know they are people who will speak up for me when I’m exhausted, fight and stand with me. It’s a simple concept but a concept that needs to be heard. Unfortunately, BLM was created in the wake of unarmed blacks being killed and no justice being served. I think BLM shows again what strength in numbers can really do. Despite criticism from the media, they continue to stand strong and speak for justice.


Valentine KLIPFEL, owner of the punk website and PR agency What Happened to Your Band? (WHTYB Press)

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

There’s so many things we still don’t know. We need to pay closer attention, to learn and most importantly, we need to listen, especially when people who have been discriminated are speaking.

Music has always been a supportive environment for me. And I hope to be able to bring together several people around this same cause through the charity compilation. In addition to my personal donations, this is my way of helping.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

I really enjoyed the #ShareTheMicNow Instagram takoeover white celebrities created to amplify the voices of Black women. I tried to follow as many stories as possible and it was both amazing and sad to learn more about their journey and what these Black women had to go through growing up or during their career. I really appreciated this opportunity to learn and get educated.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

It’s way more than just a concept. This is a movement that needs all of us. In the US (mostly) but basically anywhere in the world, Black people have to live every single day facing racial injustice or violence. As a white person, I can’t understand what it’s like to live like that.

That being said, I have never judged anyone for their skin color, their religion, who they love or whatever. This movement taught me many things that media were sometimes hiding. Thanks to social networks, I was also able to discover stories told by black people themselves. If I can help, even just a little bit, I’ll do it. I feel like I NEED to do it and be part of it.

The most beautiful thing that we can do, according to me, is to remember the names of all these victims, never forget them, keep on saying their names out loud and most importantly… educate our future generations to be tolerant and open-minded.


Graphic designer Laurence Crow, author of the cover art for “Underground Against Racism”, new charity compilation from WHTYB

To be released July 3rd 2020 via Bandcamp. All proceeds will go to the George Floyd Memorial Fund, as well as other victims of racial injustice such as Jamee Johnson, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

Hearing everyone and their viewpoint is definitely Important especially today, every voice deserves to be heard even if you don’t agree with them, as it can help build your own argument further, and help towards building a stronger community if togetherness, something which is really important in the music scene.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

I’ve seen people doing skateboard marches, where they roll down high streets for BLM, I think that is such a strong showing of unity within a community and shows the togetherness we have in this.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

Black lives matter is an important cause to me, because every single person deserves a chance to have their voice heard and to he respected without the fear of violence. Every life is important, and there are so many people who could change the world with their music, with their politics, with their thoughts, if only they had the chance to and weren’t discriminated against purely because of skin colour.


German yoga instructor and former tour manager / photographer Mascha Artz

Mascha Artz

1. How can we be better listeners? We always make sure in hardcore that our voices are heard but now is a time of paying closer attention.

Reach out to people who you think might not be well or just to people you haven’t talked to in a while. Check in with friends, share how the situation has made you feel if they seem to have difficulties opening up. Offer to listen. Maybe make it a habit to message or call one person you haven’t been in touch with a day.  And if e.g. you see somebody on social media talk about struggling with something, reach out to them even if you don’t know them personally. Sometimes it just takes one person showing that they are there, that they are willing to listen, to help somebody feel better or find a different perspective on things.

2. What creative approaches have you seen or heard about which inspires you about this moment in history and for the movement?

Educate yourself, read up on (the history of) the topic, talk to people who have dealt with the issue first hand, have conversations with people about their experiences, discuss ideas on how to make a positive change, get inspired, inspire.

3. Why is Black Lives Matter important to you as a concept?

The BLM movement is more important than ever. So many of us still shut their eyes to the fact that in 2020 POC are still constantly being mis/judged, mis/treated and killed. In a world where so much injustice happens to POC because of the way others see them, everyone of us could be judged and treated and killed because of our appearance. Isn’t that a really scary thought? Being afraid, scared for your life just because you are the way you are? Those of us who feel little or not affected by the issue are still part of the problem. We can’t just stand by and watch. Nothing will change if we don’t collectively speak up and act to change things fundamentally, for everyone but especially for those who are suffering the most.

Black Lives Matter: artists comment on seeking the outcome
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