Black Lives and Hardcore Music


A lot of punk and hardcore folks get involved with Anti-Racist Action

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I listen to a lot of hardcore- a loud, fast, heavy style of music somewhere between punk rock and heavy metal. The music and messages of bands, artists, fans, and writers in this genre, have been an inspiration to me for over 20 years.

A conversation has sprung up surrounding race relations within the hardcore scene. A man who has personally inspired me for the entire time I’ve been listening to hardcore goes by the name of Civ. He’s vegan, straight edge, and a father. So, we have a few things in common. A while back, I posted a video of me singing along into his mic during a 2011 Gorilla Biscuits concert.

Last week, Civ gave a short speech on unity, which some took as a dig against the Black Lives Matter movement. Full disclosure: I didn’t see it that way. The speech was an introduction into his band’s most outwardly anti-racist song, Degradation. I saw his speech as genuine words coming from someone who is sick of the fact that the theme of Degradation is still applicable today, almost 30 years after the song’s release. Perhaps throwing the parts on about media and schools conflated the issue. I suggest anyone who cares check out the video itself before drawing their own conclusions.

A similar conversation broke out after a Chokehold concert in Canada. So, just like in the general public, this conversation has been building in the hardcore scene.

I’ve been conducting a few short interviews with other folks who love hardcore. I’ve asked them to share their thoughts on his words, and on the relationship between hardcore/punk and Black Lives Matter.

I’ve never really combined the Black Lives interviews of this site with the hardcore interviews. But, I’m about to start. I bring a hope that we will hear each other’s words and feelings.  I aim to keep it civil. If it leads to new dialogue- great. If it doesn’t lead to agreement, that’s fine. This website will play a tiny role in a larger conversation. I believe that’s worthwhile.

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