One of the best books I read last year was What Are You Doing Here? by heavy metal journalist and photographer Laina Dawes. It's a book about her life and experiences in the heavy metal rock music scene - something which I admit I know very little about.
And one other thing - did I mention that Ms. Dawes is black as well?
Though she may seem to some, to be an anomaly, there are, in fact, quite a few black people who love and play heavy metal (like those wunderkinds Unlocking the Truth HERE). But, needless to say, it hasn’t been an easy road for Ms. Dawes and other black people who are involved in the heavy metal scene.
As Laina says herself “I realized I was different from the time I was five. The realization that you are only, the only black person, or only one of a few black people, you always feel like an outsider. So I always felt like I didn’t really belong there. … It was tough and I felt like I didn’t have anyone to talk to.”
And, of course, she’s gotten a lot of negativity from black people as well, because of their attitude is that her musical tastes made her “less black.”
“There’re a lot of issues within black communities, in terms of resistance and letting their children really listen to not only a diverse set of music, but also be involved in a diverse set of cultural things. And that was a huge issue.”
But writing her book was a good thing for her because she connected with many other people, especially black women, who love metal, and that, now, she “feels less alone, and it really legitimizes that in some ways you’re normal for just wanting, being passionate about a certain culture … that you’re not a weirdo like you were told you were for so many years.”
And there are many black heavy metal performers, such as New York based singer MilitiA Vox, who can very easily relate to Dawes’ experiences, and who has her own stories of struggle and triumph.
And, of course, as I have said with Unlocking the Truth, Ms. Fox has been, as she states, “totally ignored by the black media since 'she doesn't do what black people are supposed to do'."
So just in time, this Saturday on Canada Global TV network, its long running popular weekly investigative show 16X9, will deal with Ms Dawes and her personal journey, and more wide ranging black involvement in the heavy metal music scene. The new episode is entitled Black Metal.
Of course, for those not in Canada who want to see the program, you can watch it the following week on 16X9’s video page HERE.
Here’s a clip from the show with MilitiA Vox discussing some of the struggles she’s been through, while performing the music she loves: