Rockabilly is thought of as being a white thing. With Elvis as its biggest star, it’s already ripe with issues for some black people. I know I and other people of color I’ve talked to, were raised with the myth that Elvis publicly said black people were only good for buying his records and shining his shoes. Research showed me he never actually said that but in a way it doesn’t really matter. The damage is done. He’s a reminder of the way whites have long appropriated black culture. Add to that the fact that many fans of the music and the scene use the Confederate flag in their outfits and it’s easy to come away with the message “you don’t belong here.” By no means is rockabilly music or the scene inherently racist, and from what I’ve seen, on the West Coast the scene is heavily Latino. Still, it bears noting a white person once asked me, “But why do you like rockabilly? It’s not really a black thing.”
I disagree. For every Elvis, there are dozens of black artists whose skin color meant they never got off the chitlin circuit to get the recognition (and money) they deserved. Because for all the black people who have said Elvis and others stole rock ‘n’ roll from black people, so few have actually taken the time to really revel in the artists that inspired him. That saddens me. Going to these parties and listening to this music, I’ve learned so much about pre-Motown black artists who’ve had a big, loud influence even if they don’t have biopics. In dusting off forgotten 45s, the rockabilly community pays homage to the black artists who packed so much into a two minute, 30 second recording.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter who’s making the music or running the parties. The point is, I’m there to enjoy myself with everyone else and that should be enough. Instead of being noticed as one of a handful of black people at a show I would rather just be the girl you can’t stop looking at because her dress is perfect. It happens anyway. I feel myself being noticed and it’s hard to shake the habit of counting the other black people in the room.
It takes courage and the fighting of a lot of small fights to be a person of color somewhere it seems you don’t belong. Our communities sometimes tell us not to embrace our perceived weirdness. And as much as rockabilly has a rebellious spirit, there’s a decidedly not rebellious status quo that agrees it’s only for people who look a certain way. My ’50s skirts and cat-eyed liner end up being a small political statement for better or for worse. [Read More]
How the Logic of "Friendzoning" Would Work If Applied in Other Instances:
*Man walks into a store and finds employee*
Man:Alright, I've had enough. Why haven't you guys hired me?!
Employee:Uh...well sir, when did you put in your application?
Man:I never filled out an application.
Employee:Well sir, we can't consider you for employment if you've never filled out an application.
Man:No, that's bullshit, because I've been coming here for years now, and every single time I tell you all how much I love this store and how much I appreciate your customer service, unlike some of your other customers might I add!
Employee:Well, but that doesn't-
Man:AND I even told you that I didn't have a job!
Employee:But sir, that doesn't indicate to us that you would like a job at our store. And again, if you've never filled out an application, we can't consider you. Besides, we're not hiring.
Man:OH! Not hiring, HA! What a laugh. I see your store go through seasonal workers all the time. They come and go like nothing, but you won't consider me as a part-time employee even though I KNOW you've been looking for workers to fill positions? That's insane!
Employee:Sir, we've been looking to hire a few people for management positions. Do you have any management experience?
Man:Well no, but what does that matter?
Employee:...Well sir, that's what we're looking for. You won't be suitable for the position without management experience.
Man:Oh that's such a load of crap. You know, you'll be waiting around a long time for a manager if you don't lower your standards a little. Who cares if someone knows how to manage a store? I LOVE this store and I'm willing to work here, that's all that should matter to you.
Employee:That...doesn't make any sense.
Man:NO! I'm done. This is over. From now on, no more Mr. Nice Guy.
Someone with an IP address sourcing to the House of Representatives just edited the Orange Is the New Black Wikipedia page with the telling summary of “not a woman.”
That’s right, this Congressman edited out a sentence hailing the show for including “the first ever women-in-prison narrative to be played by a real transgender woman.” What did he replace it with? Hate speech.
The Congressman called Cox a “man pretending to be a woman,” and linked to an offensive article by National Review Online aptly titled “Laverne Cox Is Not a Woman.”
The change has since been reversed and the IP address has been banned from editing Wikipedia for a month, but you can see the original edit he made in the link above.
The change was spotted by a Twitter bot which tweets out links any time a Congressional IP address edits Wikipedia.