The Miscellaneous Goings On Of Tom - 🀘🏻🀘🏼🀘🏽🀘🏾🀘🏿


All We Want Is Justice, Equality & Unity

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" - Jimi Hendrix

As you can tell by the emoji's in the title, you know what this is going to be about. If you think this post will offend you then I implore you to read no further, and take a long, hard check of yourself in the mirror before returning to my blog. I actively try to keep politics off of my social media, but the series of events that have unfolded in the United States of America are too much to sit radio silent on. Whilst I fully acknowledge that I am not educated enough or ever will be to speak for black culture or American politics, but by educating myself on it I can hopefully gain an understanding. Ultimately though, this comes down to each and every one of you's sense of humanity. Of course I want to see justice for George Floyd, police brutality is disgusting and a phenomenally irresponsible use of power, and this has also brought about the larger more hideous issue of centuries of institutionalised racism and bias and the fact that more lives are taken Every. Single. Day. Whilst I can't speak for the USA, I can speak for the UK. WE ARE NOT INNOCENT. As many of you know I am a strong advocate for learning from our past, more disappointing however is how much of our own British guilt has been covered up, dismissed, excluded, expunged, deleted and destroyed (in some areas) in an effort to make ourselves look angelic. 400 years the British Empire stood, 400 years of oppressing, degrading, enslaving and attempted genocide of vast quantities of native peoples. This isn't taught as much in schools as it should be as we are indoctrinated into the British idea of imperialism and prosperity through conquering. This attitude is still, sadly, prevalent in some people. Even through the 1950s and 1960s we had segregation as the Windrush generation came in to save our much loved institutions like the NHS and Transport Networks, as we ourselves were too lazy to do those jobs ourselves. Anyway, I'll leave it down to your own responsibility to do the further reading, so I don't turn this into a history lesson. Whilst the UK has had some shining moments, we must not ignore our dark parts, so we can build a better future for this very broken country and ALL who live here. 

One quote that has particularly resonated with me today was from Lamb's English blog;

"Yes, it helps to know a culture if you want to speak on it, but you don’t have to speak for black culture, you have to speak about white culture. You don’t have to march, to write signs, to revolt – you just need to not be silent, and for this you need to know yourselves.

This takes me back to straightforward, fundamental humanity. It is all our responsibility to look at this and instantly know that what is going on is not ok and never will be. If you find it hard to understand then, please, listen and learn. 

What will forever infuriate me about this country's response, is those that use the horrific murder of a British Soldier, Lee Rigby and the vile almost decapitation of 7 year old girl, Emily Jones to spin, twist and encourage hate. Random acts of terrorism IS NOT the same as centuries of institutional racism and systemic bias! This has to be made abundantly clear. If you are one of these people, please revaluate what is means to be a human. 

Now after offering an overview as to how far I've got, I am still trying to educate myself on the more deep rooted aspects of the situation, but as many of you know music is very important to me and this is the medium I feel I can best show my support outside of petitions and protesting. I wouldn't have picked up a guitar if it wasn't for Jimi Hendrix, I wouldn't have felt the deep emotions of blues if it wasn't for Albert King, B.B. King, Otis Rush, Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, Howlin' Wolf and a whole host of others. Hendrix and the blues have been central and incredibly valuable to how I learnt about music, how I learnt to process and express my emotions through music. Much of the music we listen to has come from Black music culture, so I feel as a musician and as a human to use my medium to fight for them. The riffs that I write, the grooves I create, the solos I've improvised are directly and/or indirectly linked to those musicians. 

Whilst I am aware that some areas of the rock, metal and punk scenes have got some very undesirable people in them. I know we as a community will actively ignore those people but we often fail to suggest artists to them that could change their view, I am guilty of this shamefully. After seeing a thread on Twitter of black artists in the metal scene I had to share it with you all. Originally started by @M3talcor3shan3 and with loads of contributions from the metal community, I encourage all of you to take a look at some of the amazing artists featured in this thread;



The a couple of playlists are also featured in the thread, where you can listen to all the artists mentioned;





This is just a small part of Black music and art, but Black art and music as a whole MATTERS. There is  nothing stopping me or you blasting their songs. Some of these lyrics hit damn hard and you'd have to be heartless to not acknowledge the place where they came from. For me this feels like the best way to support the movement, by supporting the people who create and put forward their fight through their music. The best bit about art and music is that EVERYONE can do it. From streams to likes and retweets we can all support creators so they can amplify their voice and make their message loud and fucking clear!

A famous Jimi Hendrix quote that still resonates with me to this day;

"Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music."

I have visually seen the fight for change represented in the form of protests, and I firmly believe that the voices singing and chanting at these protests is the music that will help change the world. 

I want to draw your attention to a particularly poignant and haunting song that has never left me from the first time that I heard the original. Billie Holiday's 1939 rendition, based of the 1937 poem Strange Fruit by Abel Meeropole, in college I felt a pain that I had never felt before. The song protests American racism, and particularly the lynching of Black Americans. I have never been so unnerved and haunted by a song, Billie sung it so sorrowfully, thinking about it brings a lump to my throat and a tear to  my eye. The song resonates harder now, more than ever as history seems to viciously repeat itself with vulgar regularity. So, to hear it sung by a metal band has given it new meaning. Oceans Of Slumber, fronted by the amazingly talented Cammie  Gilbert, it has made Billie Holiday's song even more prevalent and profound way. Please listen and support the band;



I want to thank all my friends for raising their voices and turning me towards the right resources where I can educate myself and join the fight for justice in a proactive and positive way. I know I haven't posted much until now but I now have a medium through music to fully and whole heartedly support the movement. 2020 has been an unforgettable year so far, and we should now use it as the catalyst for change. Together we can win this fight.

The best way to throw your horns is side by side with ALL! 🀘🏻🀘🏼🀘🏽🀘🏾🀘🏿

#JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatter #BlackMusicMatters #BlackArtMatters #NoJusticeNoPeace 


References

Lamb's English, (1st June 2020), A Letter To My White Friendshttps://lambsenglish.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/a-letter-to-my-white-friends/?fbclid=IwAR3xGyHP1EGlw2cV5t-ziAPMhOP_cHw9N1aAOqFmpHPaSOpBXWDpE8ab_WU

@M3talcor3shan3, (3rd June 2020), A Thread Of Black Fronted Bands In The Heavy Music Scene, Twitter, https://twitter.com/M3talcor3shan3/status/1268017279234646016

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