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Monday, May 21, 2012

Bad Brains and Homophobia

Posted by on Mon, May 21, 2012 at 1:01 PM


Daryl Jenifer, the Bad Brain's bassist, answers this important question:
I got to ask you this because I think it's important. You'll be playing this weekend and at the same time the Gay Pride Parade will be going on in the city. A lot of people have written about and speculated on the whether the Bad Brains are homophobic or anti-gay. I was hoping you could address that and tell me exactly why the controversy exists, maybe put it to rest.

Check it out. All the things I've been telling you about the road and path of The Bad Brains, there was an era that lead into us discovering Rasta and Jah, and these things that were part of us being black and recognizing this part of our culture. Like with anything, say you're a young Krishna, there's a tendency to be over-zealous. We were over-zealous in our views about homosexuality, due to our ignorance, and the fact that we hadn't matured to a certain level. Just like anyone getting into anything. Every member of The Bad Brains are loving and we have nothing against any of god's creatures. In our growth and in trying to become wise and see life for what it is, without judgment, we went through a time where we did judge. Anyone can remember a time and say, "oh you remember when I was like that." A doctor can say, "Remember when I first worked the ER and was all nervous and people were looking at me when I was crazy." So when you're coming in as a young Rasta and discovering it, just like in Christianity, homosexuality isn't accepted. So being young Rasta and studying the religion that's what you see. But if you still continue to study and mature you'll find other texts that say, "love all god's creatures." So you can't just make your own thing and say, "This guys black, or this guys homosexual, I don't like him." The Bad Brains had a period of time where we might have said some things. Meanwhile, we were in a band and were popular, so it got out there. But someone took that and ran with it.

Fair enough. But the Bad Brains should do what the Beastie Boys did: Make an official apology. It matters. Bad Brains' influence was and still is huge. My experience of BB's records is far from orginal. I was one of the many lives changed by their music—its heaviness, its energy, its originality. "Pay to Cum," "I Against I," "Re-Ignition," "Return to Heaven"—these tracks exploded my understanding of culture. It was not fixed, it was not genetic, it was not destiny; it was fluid, mercurial, plastic. Culture was, for me and many others, permanently ungrounded by BB. Daryl Jenifer in another interview linked on Punk News:

When the Beastie Boys came down and saw four black dudes from D.C. shredding this punk, and then when they see Cool C or the early rap days [and] they say they want to rap: "If the Bad Brains played punk, I can rap."

If Bad Brains has officially apologized, and maybe this apology is in the new documentary (which I have not seen), then forget this post.


Comments (8) RSS

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HR should come out of the closet already. it'a not a very well-kept secret.
Posted by legacy builder on May 21, 2012 at 5:39 PM · Report this
Posted by legacy builder on May 21, 2012 at 5:39 PM · Report this
If memory serves, the way that it's addressed in the movie is not dissimilar from the way the topic is approached in the quote above. And Ian Mackaye (tip of the hat) is not having it.
Posted by Dod on May 21, 2012 at 10:59 PM · Report this
Larry Mizell, Jr. 4
anybody else stoked to see Cool C's name
Posted by Larry Mizell, Jr. on May 22, 2012 at 1:25 AM · Report this
@2: I think the 1st commenter is Italian, so you may as well retract your grammatically anal/anally grammatical post.
Posted by Fat Albert Camus on May 22, 2012 at 2:54 AM · Report this
(D'oh, they're both the same person. Oh well, it's still funnier to pretend it went down how I first saw it, so i'm sticking with that)
Posted by Fat Albert Camus on May 22, 2012 at 3:10 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 7
It "got out there" because they were HUGE dicks about it to the Big Boys. It wasn't like someone said "I heard HR call someone a FAG. Homophobes!!!" (It was the 80s after all - some corners of the HC world were gay friendly but most weren't.) Oh, and they wrote a song about it, too...
Posted by Matt from Denver on May 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM · Report this
Nipper, DJ Riz and I discussed this on one of Nipper's earlier posts:…

The problem with claiming it was simply the band being zealous is incongruous given their 1989 song "Don't Blow Bubbles." It's one of those things where I want to not care -- their early shit is amazing -- but it I can't let it go unless they address it properly. Riz doesn't seem to mind. Nipper -- he just hates MDC. Tim Kerr is a friend, so I have a harder time letting it go.
Posted by carnivorous chicken on May 22, 2012 at 5:50 PM · Report this

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