Laina Dawes "What Are You Doing Here?" Book (2013)
Details: Introduction by Skin, of UK heavy-rock, metal, and punk band, Skunk Anansie. Canadian author [Dawes] writes an informative and important bibliography stemming from her and others experiences as people of color within and while contributing to local heavy metal and punk scenes; reflections on finding your musical heroes; racism; gender exploration; culture; inclusion/exclusion. Highly recommended and important read.
Short Description: "Laina Dawes is not always the only black woman at metal shows, and she's not always the only headbanger among her black female friends. In her first book, the Canadian critic and music fan questions herself, her head-banging heroes, and dozens of black punk, metal, and hard rock fans to answer the knee-jerk question she's heard a hundred times in the small clubs where her favorite bands play: "What are you doing here?"
Grade: M (new stock)
Full Description: "What Are You Doing Here? investigates how black women musicians and fans navigate the metal, hardcore, and punk music genres that are regularly thought of as inclusive spaces and centered on a community spirit, but fail to block out the race and gender issues that exist in the outside world.
“I wanted to find other black women like me: metal, hardcore, and punk fans and musicians that were rabid about the music and culture and adamant about asserting their rightful place as black women within those scenes. I wanted to find other women who put aside the cultural baggage that dictates that we must listen to certain musical styles, and simply enjoy the music that influenced us, not just as black women, but as individuals who grew up in an era when, thanks to technology, a large variety of music is accessible and available to everyone. I found many black women and have shared their stories, but I also realize there is still a lot of work to be done.”—Laina Dawes
Author: Laina Dawes is a music and cultural critic, and a Ph.D. Candidate in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University. Her writings and photography can be found in various print and online publications in Canada, Europe, and the United States. Born and raised in Ontario, she lives in New York City.
Press: “Essential reading for those who have never felt the blow of intolerance, and for those who have felt it far too often…its themes are universal”—PopMatters