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Laina Dawes

Laina Dawes is the author of What Are You Doing Here? Black Women in Metal, Hardcore and Punk (Bazillion Points Books, May 2012). A music journalist, critic, and concert photographer, she writes for metal publications Exclaim! and Hellbound.ca, and is a contributing editor in the Race & Ethnicity section for Blogher.com. She resides in Toronto, Canada.

 

Abstract:

"'Black Metal is not for n@#$s, stupid b@#h!': Black Female Metal Fans' Inter/External Culture Clash"

Within the past three decades, thanks to the advent of music video stations and the relative ease of online technology, a cultural and ethnically diverse populace has had unlimited access to a myriad of musical genres and cultures. Despite this, musical preference for certain genres of music is still thought to be based on race and economic class lines in popular culture, and those who choose to avoid those lines and participate in musical cultures outside of what they are perceived to listen to, are often regarded as race traitors or ‘racially confused.’

This paper will highlight research I conducted in preparation for the writing of my book, “What Are You Doing Here?” which focuses on Black women who are involved in the metal, hardcore and punk scenes. While my research and interview respondents are involved in the extreme musical cultures and well-versed in their own racial authenticity, the conflict they face within their families, communities and among other participants in their chosen musical scene can serve as a deterrent in enjoying and participating in their passion. I will also discuss the role that extreme musical genres has had in shaping not only the cultural identity among Black female listeners, but has also assisted them in boosting their individuality, self-esteem and has served as a healthy outlet to express anger and frustration in a healthy way.