WORDS: Gugulethu Khumalo
FROM: CALIFORNIA, USA | FOR FANS OF: NAILS, BLACK POWER VIOLENCE
Between the events of 2020 and the racial tension that has been bubbling and boiling for the last decade, the world/ the alternative world especially has come to realise the value of some of the contributions that black people and people of colour have made to the scene, discovered magazine spoke to the rising ZULU collective about, social media, inclusion in the music space and covid.
For decades the rock space and the general alternative space have been dubbed as a ‘white people thing’ or having an entire genre of music proclaimed as belonging to and being started by one race when that isn’t the case. punk pioneers coming in every colour of the rainbow and along the course of time their legacy has been erased and ignored and painted over with broad strokes of the whitewash brush, isolating and excluding kids of colour, the descendants of the rock pioneers “most people don’t realize how this hard music wouldn’t exist without black folks. We’re the reason rock music is a thing straight up yo, definitely just taking back what was ours… It’s about time people started recognizing that white people tried to take it over and claim it for themselves, but we made this. So yeah we’re taking back that power and letting people know what’s up.”
“most people don’t realize how this hard music wouldn’t exist without black folks. We’re the reason rock music is a thing straight up yo, definitely just taking back what was ours…”
The adoption of the name, the Zulu comes from both their interest in early hip-hop culture where various groups and collectives employed music and art as means to spread messages of black pride and black consciousness, “ I just wanna make some hard-hitting music about being black. Mainly for my fellow folks, and for those that aren’t black to understand things we’ve gone through. There’s ALOT more to it than just anger and I wanna get that through people’s heads.” they wrote to Discovered magazine. Which perhaps can be the most important vision or mission for anyone for the longest time people don’t allow black people and people of colour to be seen in a three dimensional light like everyone else gets to be seen in essence their music and art can be seen as a process to humanise black thoughts and emotion.
Social media has played a huge role in creating a cyber group and community of all types of black and alternative kids of all types to connect, providing comfort and safe space of sorts for people of similar experiences and journeys to connect with each other in ways they have perhaps never done before, yet social media and its impact is a double-edged sword of sorts “A little of both… It’s a weird space for sure, not to mention all the racists that are on social media just fighting people in comment sections. ”
“Straight up, don’t listen to anyone and do what you wanna do. Don’t wait around for people’s approval and acceptance, do what you do and say flip the rest.”
For smaller bands such as this, there is a certain joy in performing and spreading a message in a live venue packed wanting to share and express that joy. connecting with like-minded people. Covid has affected smaller bands and collectives more than any other people in the music and creative space, which is an industry that has been hit hard in general, this band like many has been hit by the pandemic affecting more than just live gigs and events.
And although the industry is slowly opening up and acknowledging the value and the contributions black kids have been making in this scene for decades there are still huge barriers preventing kids from finding and being their authentic selves in a space that is not supposed to judge and leave these kids with a message of positivity. “Straight up, don’t listen to anyone and do what you wanna do. Don’t wait around for people’s approval and acceptance, do what you do and say flip the rest. It’s cheesy I know, but that’s how we gotta do it. As much as people wanna try and “include us”, we’re always gonna be outsiders. All we got is us!”
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