Special One Night Screening at Warehouse >>
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Punk rock is black music.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
So say two interview subjects in James Spoonerï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s documentary Afro-Punk, including Carla Mad-Dog, who has been deep within the punk rock scene since it began in the 1970ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½In short, this film [reflects] my life story,ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ says Spooner, ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½I felt that I needed to validate my experience as a black person in a predominantly white culture.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Afro-Punk,ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ which has been an ongoing project for the past five years, features a number of interviews and depictions of various protagonists from within the black punk and hardcore community. One of which, ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Moeï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ we see come to Howard from Long Island, where he fronted a hardcore band. The film juxtaposes his life at the all-black Howard with his life at punk shows, often the only black person there.
Spooner, 29, grew up between New York and California an avid skateboarder, where he noticed the chromatic difference between the two punk scenes from an early age.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½In New York, the majority of any audience would still be white, but youï¿½ï¿½ï¿½d have a much greater black and hispanic presence,ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ he said, ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Outside of New York, DC, and other places on the east coast, though, Iï¿½ï¿½ï¿½d really notice the discrepancy.ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
Spoonerï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s experience within the punk scene runs deep. He had been influenced by SST bands such as Black Flag and The Descendents early on, and by the time he was 17, he began Kidney Room Records, which grew to prominence by releasing the first Swing Kids 7ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½I still get that ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Wow! That was you!?ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ reaction all the time when I mention that,ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Spooner laughs.
Today, having completed the film a couple of years ago, Spooner and his partners often organize events related to the project around their home base of Brooklyn which turn out a predominantly black crowd. In the past two years, the film has been screened over 200 times all over the country.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½The film has definitely created its own scene,ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ says Spooner. This Friday night, 7 PM at the Warehouse-Washington Downtown Arts Center, anyone from the DC area has the opportunity to become a part of it. The screening will be hosted by Visions in Feminism, and sponsored by Positive Force.