Shotgun Seamstress: An Anthology
by Osa Atoe Author
In 2006, Osa Atoe was the only Black kid at the punk show in Portland, Oregon and created Shotgun Seamstress to capture that experience for others. Quickly, the zine was a filter to interpret punk through the lens of a Black, queer woman. Each issue featured photocopied essays, interviews, historical portraits of important artists and scenes, reviews, and perspectives, each paying tribute to musicians and artists that typify free Black expression and interrupt notions of Black culture as a monolith. It's got a little bit of everything, including a piece on Go-go music in D.C, which is all wrapped up into a story called the "Black Punk Zine That Never Happened." This book shows that rock’n’roll was and is Black music at its core, featuring Vaginal Cream Davis, the 70s Black punk band Death, Poly Styrene, Bay Area rocker Brontez Purnell, British post-punker Rachel Aggs, New York photographer Alvin Baltrop, Detroit garage rocker Mick Collins and so many others. It's a blastbeat mixtape where radical politics are never sidelined for an easier view; to show what Black punks express, represent, and document. Osa helps us to understand why we shouldn't dis RuPaul, treats us to a Northwest scene report, and lists bands past and present that feature people of color. It's “all of our possibilities instead of allowing the dominant culture to tell us what it means to be Black.” We'll be the first to acknowledge that unfortunately, punk today attracts few people of color proportionally, but zines like Shotgun Seamstress will certainly aid a change.
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