Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cultural Wealth in the Hood - Interview with Oxnard, CA's first powerviolence label DIY Noise

Well it's been a while since the last post. Like about 7 months or so? Sheesh!!! My apologies!!! Chalk it up to an inability to effectively manage time, being stressed about about teaching, not asking others for help, busting a (I guess it's 'masculine') lone wolf approach to life, etc. That said, the print edition of Staycool (aka STC) Fanzine is about 70% done. Yes, despite all of the challenges to producing an 'old-school' style fanzine I will remain true to the DIY Hardcore Punk fanzine aesthetic of cut and paste. At least until it becomes too much of a headache and my creative pursuits clash with some of my 'professional' responsibilities. The ultimate goal is to intertwine both of these interests/responsibilities and create a curriculum by which youth can express themselves through writing, critical media, and art.

That said, in our first installment of DIY Noise we look at the hardcore punk phenomenon of "powerviolence". Powerviolence is a more extreme, abrasive, and spastic incarnation of punk. It's pretty much the personification (to an extent) of punk rock/hardcore parodies, where folks are just playing fast while screaming lyrics in a spastic and unrestrained manner. Critical/radical deconstructions of the punk subculture (see White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race) tend to look at the way in which whiteness and the varying manifestations of racism (overt, colorblind, casual, etc.) interact and intersect within a self-proclaimed radically progressive and revolutionary subculture, one in which whiteness itself is an identity that can be traded in for a 'punk' identity. Some critiques of punk focus solely on punk as a 'white' counter-cultural expression and negate the tremendous influence and role people of color have had on this subculture since its inception. In fact, Punks of Color continue to exert a revolutionary role, truly embodying the universal ideals of rebellion.

Currently, the Chicano/Latino punk scenes, the Afro-Punk scene (, the Pakistani punk scene, the Indian punk scene, the Central American/Caribbean and South American punk scenes, the multiple Asian and Pacific punk scenes, and the African punk scenes all push the parameters of musical expressions to its limits (it is also crucial to mention the role of queer folk and wombyn in all of these scenes, they ultimately go above and beyond punk). Relying on an anti-corporate and sometimes de-colonial aesthetic punk scenes established by folks of color remind us of the tremendously vibrant and dynamic nature of communities of color throughout the world. They remind us of the tenacity of these communities in the face of social and institutional hurdles, reminding us of the Mos Def lyric from Mathematics, where "hip hop passed all your tall social hurdles like the nationwide projects, prison-industry projects, working class poor better keep your alarm set, streets to loud to ever hear freedom ring". The lyric rings solemnly true.Youth of color in the United States, and worldwide, continue to face perilous realities, the school to prison pipeline, racist criminal justice system, unequal schools, historic deportation rates, racialized War on Terror, Islamophobia, under-served communities, disproportionate unemployment and underemployment, failed Drug War etc. At least in the United States we are living in the age of what legal scholar Michelle Alexander refers to as the New Jim Crow where our African American communities are subjected to punitive and degenerated systems of law. We are living in an era where African Americans and Latinos continuously become incarcerated or die because of an unjust and ineffective Drug War, one in which banks (HSBC, Wells Fargo) play a direct morbid role. With the weight of history, poverty and internalized hate makes our people do heartbreaking things.

Despite this, our communities remain as places of resilience. We create art, culture, and beauty from struggle, inequality, and pain. I suppose this can be healing in some instances.

We only hope we were able to situate the importance of subculture produced by folks of color, specifically Punks of Color. Under this context, we present to you our series, Situating Subculture - Cultural Wealth in the Hood

¡Viva Juchari Uinapikua!

Cultural Wealth in the Hood: Interview with Oxnard, CA's first powerviolence label DIY Noise

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