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This piece is from our archives and was originally published on November 30, And not just any white guy, either—a guitar player in a heavy-metal band. Ok, stop laughing. Or maybe it was coming of age at the same time heavy metal reached public consciousness as the Voice of the Disgruntled Adolescent White Male. Even then, I knew that heavy metal was power, and power was irresistible.

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Over the next few years, I embraced my heavy metal destiny. Heavy metal has always been and will always be the red-headed stepchild of rock, much maligned and generally misunderstood. Even my older sister, who is almost ridiculously eclectic in her musical tastes Barry Manilow! But we did know about Quiet Riot and Poison, those mainstays of pop-metal. And yet I think that contradiction was what appealed to me in the first place. MTV Raps inanother part of me—the one that secretly watched Headbangers Ball in my basement every Saturday night—wanted to run away from home and become a roadie for Metallica.

Finding other heavy metal—loving black kids in a Lutheran high school was no easy task. Do you start a support group at the local Y? By sophomore year, I had encountered some kindred spirits. I met my friend Nicole when she noticed the cover of my Metal Dating magazine peeking from my notebook on metalhead way to English class.

It was cool to find people who spoke the same musical and cultural language as I did, girls who read both Essence and Ripwho could talk about the new Slayer video and the pros and cons of relaxers in the same conversation. I felt validated—even though my mom thought I was either losing my mind or suffering from the delayed effects of some childhood head injury, and classmates accused me of betraying my blackness or thought I was flirting with Satanism. Eventually I came to appreciate the fact that black nail polish, shit-stomping combat boots, and Faith No More t-shirts had the dual ability to confuse family members and scare the living shit out of my schoolmates.

My friends and I wore our metalhead status like badges of honor. We all felt like outsiders for one reason or another, and it was no coincidence that we were all attracted to music that made difference into a source of pride and used it as a shield against rejection or ridicule. Teenagers use music to distance themselves from their parents, their upbringing. I can buy that. Metalhe are not casual fans. But if metal fandom is a great big family, I sometimes felt like a second cousin once removed. Though I was drawn to the outsider appeal of the music in the first place, it was difficult for me to forget my double outsider status at concerts, where guys would gawk and point at me and my metalhead clique as if we were Martians instead of black girls and we could count the of black faces Chicago one hand.

But once the lights went down and the Chicago came onstage, we were all headbanging and moshing and howling the words to the songs. The music took over, and we could all share that universal bond of loving the metalhead, if only for a few hours. We want dating be tough and emulate our heroes and start our own bands—but, yeah, we also fantasize about hanging out with the guys, dating them, fucking them. We even had our own magazine, the aforementioned Metal Edge. But the magazine was one of the few forums where female fans could simultaneously indulge our lustful groupie desires and our dreams of being in the band, without losing our hard-core credibility.

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Metal Edge embodied precisely how female metal fans are a subculture within a subculture—but not disempowered by it. But metal did empower me.

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I was someone who felt weird in high school, who wanted a place to belong. Bands like Living Colour and Sepultura took things a step further by bringing a strong antiracist and political tone to their headbanging. Most important, having the music as an emotional outlet made me feel safe to eventually explore my identity as a black woman and as a feminist, and to find strength in that as well. I wonder if they feel as conflicted about race or gender as I did.

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I wonder if they feel like they have to justify their musical tastes to their parents or peers, or if they try to hide it. I wonder if they even think about this stuff at all, and if it seems relevant to them. In some ways, music fandom seems a lot more diverse than it was when I was a teen. Thanks at least in part to MTV, kids of different races and ethnicities have more music in common than even a decade ago.

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But while the appropriation of hip-hop by white guys has become all the rage calling Fred Durst! So instead of taking on the challenge of exploring black rock, mainstream media largely ignores it. I identified with them musically, but looks-wise or anything else, they were completely alien to me. The act of participation in rock music as musicians and as fans is still pretty subversive for black women—for black folks in general, really.

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I hope at some point the music industry will have the guts and good sense to support black rock, and young black women who want a harder sound than Tracy Chapman will be able to find the emotional connection I did, plus something more—a sense of being represented musically, culturally, and politically.

Keidra Chaney is currently paying too much for a small apartment in Chicago. She has moved on from her obsession with dating metal to an obsession with magical-girl anime. Get Bitch Media's top 9 re of the week delivered to your inbox every Saturday morning! I know this article is probaly pretty old and not one soul will ever read this but its great that you wrote this. I always thought that I was from another planet because of the music I like. You helped me realize that I should be happy that I don't follow the stereotype. I have my own idenity.

Now that makes at least three of us, I'm getting older now, so I stopped daydreaming of fronting hardcore metalhead band but I would love to see a black female fronted good metal band out. I'm still not too grown to go to the concerts though. Hey, I'm not female or black but I Chicago at a Metal show and this awesome band called Straight Line Stitch came out on stage. They are awesome!

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They are a Metal Band with a black female singer named Alexes Brown. She is so amayzing. Her voice is like a hip hop angel when singing clean and an angry hardcore matal head when she sings metal. The whole band is awesome. You can catch their videos on youtube. I have never seen a black woman front a metal band.

I was trippin hard when I seen this band cuz growing up I never seen anybody into metal except white people and some hispanic.

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I try to share this band with everybody. Anyway, that's how I metalhead accross your comment. I wanted to know if there were any black people out there that listen to metal, espeacially black women, and what they thought about it. I hope you check em out. I am a 17 year old girl that basically had went through many genres of music. It ranged from classical all the way to death metal. Now I'm focused on METAl thrash, death, melodic, etchard rock, rock, alternative, electronic, and pop. I dating recently found metal bands with blacks in them and it really excites me.

Straight Line Stitch has been my revelation with loving metal. I used to get excited for white male fronted bands but when I saw Alexis both sing and scream on Headbangers Ball I screamed my lungs out. I am obsessed with that group and think it's great to show that African Americans can listen and play metal too. When I first started listening it was something like being in hiding.

My mom and other older people show confusion and revulsion and the peers at my school mostly label me wierd. Metal is my love and when its fronted by both a female Chicago a black person I just have to drop what i'm doing and listen. Look here there is a band called straight line stich and the singer is a black female. So I will hear none of this.

And please go to a show and have a good time I promise we dont care what color you are.