... the other Black experience

'Being a black punk is like a weird fukin feeling' by Yumii of The Breathing Light

Ever go to a show and just get a... type of feeling. Yumii of the experimental rock/punk group The Breathing Light gives you his take on how sometimes traveling and performing as a punk band of black kids can get well, pretty fucking weird.


By: Yumii, Contributor

Being a black punk is like a weird fuckin feeling. To be more specific, it’s like weird as hell. It’s weird when you are at a show that some of your white friends invited you to, but you really can’t tell if some of the bands on the bill are white power. It’s weird as fuck when you are at a white power punk show but the only reason they don’t fuck you up is because you are punk first, which magically erases your color. It’s weird being black and alone in a place where
the freedom to be racist and fucked up is granted without a thought. It’s also weird when the so-called colorless black punks feel like they have to be more fucked up than the whites in order to prove themselves to be more punk.


It’s a weird feeling when people always assume you, in all of your blackness, know exactly who the fuck the “Bad Brains” are, as if they are the only black punk band to exist on the face of the fuckin earth. It’s a weird feeling when you start a band and the only permissible comparison allowed is the “Bad Brains”. It’s weird when you get shows in small towns that have nooses hanging in their back woods and you actually try and debate whether or not to go because you might reach someone with your music LOL... I dare you to imagine being a black punk at an HBCU (historically black college/university). It’s beyond weird. It’s dangerous at times. To many people, you are a walking target for harassment or beatdown. It’s a fucked up feeling when you put on shows at said black university and at the start of your set the moment you turn on your distortion, more than half of them storm out cursing and shit. Imagine trying to figure out if all the other kids there with “misfits” shirts actually listen to them. It’s weird when you are in the skinhead life and can’t tell until waaaay later that some of your “S.H.A.R.P” white skin friends are actually fence-walking closet fucks who side with Nazis on the low and call you all the jigs and niggers when they are drunk…but they still LOVE reggae, ska, and black women.


It’s weird when you see a black skinhead and he’s a fuckin Nazi ready to whoop your ass with his white Aryan brotherhood friends. It’s fucking weird when some black skinhead/punk’s politics are so fucking Left-Wing they are actually fascist and Right-Wing as fuck.

Now imagine how weird it feels being black in an all Latino punk scene trying to relate and understand their struggles in comparison to your own, It’s a weird feeling when even some of them don’t accept you. Imagine your passion and your fight being suppressed by a dominant majority of people surrounding you, you are forced to take on their fight and their politics. I always got the weird feeling when they talked about immigration and deportation they weren’t talking about my family from Africa or the folks from the West Indies. I also get the weirds when white opinion is forced upon you, “preventing” you from killing the vibe with your black reality. It’s weird to see other black punks/goths around and at shows and not actually meet them until a whole year goes by. It’s really fuckin weird when they tell you they don’t see color which means they never saw your ass in the first place. It’s weird to actually realize the reason most of the other black kids won’t talk to you is because of the whole colorblind bullshit scenario, or more likely, they have absorbed white stereotypes about you and themselves. I admit some stereotypes are better than others, but it’s fuckin weird when you are always getting hit on because the other person wants to know what it’s like….

It’s weird going to goth parties and realizing there’s just a sprinkle of black people in that genre and wondering why, but deep down you already know why. It sucks when you meet other black punks and they stand you up for their white friends. It’s weird when you have to defend being black and proud from other black punks and skins who only see it as reverse racism.

It’s weird when you realize all the bands people ever big up are always all white bands. For a lot of people the only "safe"  black rock are made up of only bands that have some white membership. It’s weird when black rockers make lists of the sexiest rockers on earth and there is no drop of color anywhere.

It sucks when black people can’t see the beauty in being black. It’s sad when you realize that a lot of people would rather date white racists in their subculture than other black people or other people of color. It’s sad that some even allow themselves to be dehumanized and dehumanize others just to fit a rock n roll/hipster/ whatever white subculture image is popular at the moment. Sometimes it’s weird to see black rockers Legit Worship white artist when there were black artists who originated that particular style. It’s weird when you take another black punk out of their scene and bring them to your all black neighborhood in which they are somewhat scared to go in because of all the stories they heard from white people in their scene.


It’s whatever though, if you’re punk, goth, skin or whatever the fuck it is and you’re willing to endure the bullshit, well there you go, be exactly who you are. Whatever, it’s time to build! Fuck all this white supremacists bullshit. We’ve been conditioned beyond conditioning. If you are in this rock shit you deal with the supremacist ideology directly.


Time to build!

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Comment by Lightning Pill on December 16, 2012 at 5:07pm

"To many people, you are a walking target for harassment or beatdown. " That's the thing about being any kind of punk. That's what we are from the start, but once you know where you stand and what you believe, then you suddenly don't mind being a target. Instead of being a target for nothing, you are a target because you stand for a whole different kind of person. You are who they are afraid to be.


Nicely written!

Comment by Donyelle Headington on December 3, 2012 at 10:08pm

Everything you said. Everything.

Comment by Mamadoc on December 3, 2012 at 10:52am

What a great use of words. Very well said!

Comment by Jorge Cuascut (Cheeko) on December 2, 2012 at 11:42am

well said

Comment by Inez Lindsey on December 2, 2012 at 11:23am


I've never gotten much into punk -- more like indie, mod, ska, funk and r n' b. I'm glad you're speaking out and fighting everybody including other blacks. Being in a punk band is the best weapon you have to break down people's racism, prejudice, hypocrisy and misconceptions about being black AND being a black punk. Like who said blacks couldn't be punks? Black culture practically invented rock music. We were punk (the blues) before the term was created. I think the punk ethos is creative. Build bridges only with bands and fans who will stand by you no matter what.


Comment by Marc Antione Montfleury on December 1, 2012 at 6:37pm

For the record tho I dont consider myself a black punk or rocker r any of that shit. Im just a dude with a guitar thats carrying on a tradition that my people started .

Comment by Marc Antione Montfleury on December 1, 2012 at 6:34pm

This is some real shit my friend. I deal with it every day. Im glad that someone else is saying it cuz I was starting to feel like the only one that is asking wtf is wrong here?.


Comment by Ra'Shanda on November 30, 2012 at 7:25pm
This is some powerful, beautiful shit, man!
Comment by hanumansboi on November 30, 2012 at 4:40pm

I guess my experience was different. I fought racist skins and went to white power shows only to fuck them up. I use my blackness to my advantage. I liked that the white punks were scared of me. Punching people in the face was one of the reasons I became a punk. The music and fashion was important but fighting was as much apart of the scene when I was young just like drugs and graffiti and poking multiple holes in my face. I was one of the first in my little city, so when new black punks popped up they kind of circled around me. I couldn't even imagine how cool it must be these days when there's so many of us there's a actual website!

Comment by Jennifer Sawyer on November 30, 2012 at 4:27pm

I agree truth is be who you be. I dont want to be labeled im whatever I feel like being that day. I like some things punk i like some things goth, i love tech i love rap its whatever. Dont put a basis remark  nor stereotype on what I am. It is what it is. thank you for such a great post.


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