BlogHer Original Post

Hi Everyone!

My name is Laina Dawes, and this is my first blog as a Contributing Editor to the Race & Ethnicity section. I hail from Toronto, Canada so get ready for some interesting news and views from north of the border.

I mention that - even though Toronto is a 45 minute flight from NYC - is that, when it comes to talking about social and political events from Canada on my blog, my hits go waaay down. And I'm beginning to know why. But the reverse is also true.

I just got back from SXSW where I spoke on the "We Got Naked" panel. Previous to my departure from Toronto, I had just gotten the 'ok' from an editor of a national newspaper to cover the panel. After spending approximately 6 hours putting together the piece, I just got an email from said editor, saying that it was "too American driven" and that no one would know of any of the participants I mentioned. This is the same newspaper whose music and film sections have been filled with tales from the SXSW Festival for the past several days. Oh well. By the way, the Blogher meet up was off the hook!

So while I will be discussing issues concerning race for BlogHer, I will provide content that pertains to all of us, regardless of where we live. Another thing I want to mention is that the fabulous Lisa Stone has given me the allowance to discuss the intersections of race and music, which is my passion. Let me explain this a bit:

I am a die-hard metalhead. And as one, I have attended several concerts where I have been one of the few people of colour in attendance. My musical tastes are organic - part of me, but I have received a myriad of responses - mostly negative - when i am rocking out to one of my favourite bands.

After researching and writing about the lack of black women in rock and metal for a number of years, which includes interviewing several black female rock artists, I have concluded that because of sexism and racism, these musicians are not getting the attention that their white counterparts are getting. But the globalization of Hip-Hop, a genre that originated within the black community, is now geared towards a white audience. If you attend a Hip-Hop show in Toronto or Vancouver, you will find that the audience is 95% white. As a writer who would like to write for alternative music magazines, it has been a struggle trying to convince editors that yes, I know what I am talking about.

Does this really matter? Music, after all, is a form of entertainment available to everyone, regardless of ethnicity. But it is not the same for black folks. If you are interested in reading about this - or the history of the co-optation of musical genres and black culture, my brother, who is completing his Masters in music criticsm lent me Eric Lott's Love & Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class.

Talk to you soon!


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