Welcome to the back of my mind. This is a diary of sorts
TITLE: The First 7-inch Was Better: How I Became an Ex-Punk (2008)
AUTHOR: Nia King
ORIGIN: Denver, CO
DESCRIPTION BY STRANGERDANGERZINES.COM:
Nia (Angry Black-White Girl and Borderlands) comes forward to declare her status as an ex-punk. She criticizes anarcho-punk and many activist scenes for its ignorance and the lack of inclusion of folks of color, women and queers. Nia refuses to leave a part of herself at the door in order to adjust to the whiteness and maleness of a musical scene that she once truly enjoyed. The zine also includes a pull-out portion in which you can take along to your next show in order to challenge yourself, your friends and other bystanders.
Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP) is responsible for scanning and making Nia’s zine file available online. POCZP helped to “liberate” this publication as an embeddable file for International Zine Month #IZM2013.
READ NOW (OR DOWNLOAD FOR FREE):
THE MAKING OF ‘THE FIRST 7-INCH WAS BETTER’
Excerpt from POZCP touring member Osa Atoe’s interview with Nia in 2009 for Maximumrocknroll:Osa: Come on! You’re at a punk house right now hanging out with a girl that we both just randomly happen to know through punk… Just admit it you’re still kinda punk!Nia: [laughs] BUSTED! Well, I don’t feel punk. I feel really alienated in punk spaces. Lo Mas Alla, where Luisa and some of my other friends live, feels kind of different. Most of the people who live there may still have love for punk culture, but they also view punk with a critical lens. At some point, most of them have told me they are growing out of punk. I could try and defend it further but it feels silly. I am staying with punks at a punk house. Fact. Am I a punk? No.Osa: Yeah, well the point I’m trying to make is half-silly and half-serious. I do feel strongly about the fact that people of color end up relinquishing so much to white people just because white people take up all that space. I mean, how many times have you talked to another black girl who’s like, “I’m not a feminist because I feel like feminism is for white women”? And I’m thinking that feminism is an important tool, just like punk is for me, and I’m definitely not going to let white people define what it means to be punk or feminist. I’m going to use those words, those tools, in ways that benefit me.Nia: I feel that, but defending punk and feminism can be a lot of work, and a lot of the criticism I’ve heard of both is valid. I guess trying to hold space for POCs in punk is exhausting, not because they’re not already there taking up (some) space, but because being the only POC in a room is fucking exhausting in my experience. I wanted to retreat to spaces where I didn’t feel like I had to fight for visibility or have to call people on their shit all the time, and for me punk was not that. Not that I was the lone voice of reason or the lone POC, but often enough, it felt like it. I have nothing but respect for women of color who hold it down in punk rock and call shit out, and make records and write zines, but it’s not for me anymore. Orat least I’m a lot pickier about the ways I engage with it and the situations I put myself in. You feel me?Osa: Yeah I do. I think that’s why it’s so important to have this conversation because I can see how we’re coming at it from such different perspectives even though both are valid. I totally relate to feeling drained to the bone by being in predominantly white “progressive” spaces. And it wasn’t just punk. Going to college for women’s studies with all those well-meeting white liberal feminists almost gave me an aneurysm. At the same time, for me, it’s not about defending punk or feminism. I just am those things in my daily life. I feel like I did give up fighting for visibility and correcting ignorance and oppressive dynamics in punk scenes. But that just meant that I spent more time hanging out with the brown kids and cultivating those relationships.
Read Osa’s full interview with Nia here.
ABOUT NIA KING
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how many of us, as children, have had creeping thoughts of “i think i have a crush on somebody of my own gender” or “i wish i were the other gender” and dismissed them so swiftly and so effectively because those ideas were unnatural and unconscionable that they never had the chance to grow into our identities? how many more of us, when finally told from childhood that queerness is a real and good option, will be queer and will love it?