Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hi James,
I hope all is well.

After having shown the movie some of the kids in my community
criticized me because they felt attacked by me - and because they claimed I was creating racism by touching upon certain issues like
black invisibility in our local scene( and on flyers etc.) - and giving this absence of non-white people special attention.

Other people said that the movie changed their perception of black youngsters - usually you see black people on stage only.

The black pals I grew up with mostly got drawn into the R&B - Hip Hop Scene - however, I am sure that some of them are as much into punk and rock but might be too shy to come to a show (given the fact that they might get extra attention which they might not want. I need to find out).

And that is my personal point: people should not feel invited because they are black - but because they are curious an interested AND they should feel comfortable, welcome and at home. I asked one black guy who is much into punk and he said the biggest mistake people make is that they are afraid of asking the wrong questions and doing the wrong things this creates and adds a lot of tensions and some issues remain unadressed. I believe we actually should take an active approach.

Perhaps it is a bit of a weak analogy and self- centred - but as a woman I feel better around guys who have already been thinking a lot about sexism - they are usually less controlling, more sensitive and feminine themselves, and allow women to get more out of the box. And maybe the black kids I know might feel better when they know that people are more self-aware. Most guys I know are only gentlemen on the condition that you act as they see fit(->sex-centered standarts of evaluating social scenarios).
That is what I saw in White Lies Black Sheep: the kids were very controlling and they seemed to have a hard time letting go of stereotypes and letting him be just the way heeee wants to be and get out of the "MTV gangster rap" - box.

Mathew, the brother of the cypher lead singer, backed and supported me and I felt like okay - some people might react that way because I have touched a soft spot in them and
they don’t want to deal with it and thus deflect it( and make me the bad guy:-o)) - Mathew helped me to get back some of my self - esteem.

It is what you said in one of your interviews: some of your white friends deal with animal rights and sexism, homophobia - but they are not ready to deal with their own racist tendencies. It is true: we have animal right and queer activist here and I am the only afropunk activist- but it is the same with sexism: the jobs were not done by women only. Feminism is a mans job as well. And racism can only become overcome when everybody does his/her job.

What I believe should be done is to let people talk who are concerned and listen to them and exchange ideas. Your movie is brilliant because it gives people a voice who might have remained unheard.

I believe that it is relative whether it is special to be a black kid on a punk show. Given the fact that punk is rooted in Afro-American music and that it has heavily been influenced by black artists -it should not be something to write home about. However, if you experience yourself as an alien on a gig because you are the only black person - than this feeling of being "the only black in the scene" is valid, strong and very real. Creating an Afropunk community is the only way through which people can share and at the same time heal their emotions that were caused by feelings of isolation.

However, I have seen the white lies black sheep movie and I don´t believe that anyone in my town or in Stuttgart would react like the white kids in the New York movie. I am bewildered - to me it seems that the dialogue is so much based on a lack of contact between white and black indie kids. According to my personal experience it that people
who are not in touch with other ethnicities easily get confused.

Kind Regards,


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saul Bewllow
„Ich glaube nicht, daß sich das Vermögen des-Menschen, etwas zu fühlen oder zu tun, wirklich vermindert hat, noch glaube ich, daß die Menschheit an Wert verloren hat. Ich möchte eher annehmen, daß die Menschen kleiner erscheinen, weil die Gesellschaft so ungeheuer groß geworden ist. Größer als alles andere sind die Ängste, die uns umgeben. Diese machen es uns schwer, unseren eigenen Wert und die Bedeutung unserer Handlungen zu ermessen."