Tucsonans protest Hipster Racism at 4th Avenue’s Surly Wench
A bunch of White musicians calling themselves Black Pussy are playing at the Surly Wench, on Fourth Avenue, this Friday, December 29th. If you don’t think this is okay, please call and/or email Surly Wench and ask them to cancel the show.
Tell them: “I am deeply offended and troubled that Surly Wench would provide a venue for the band Black Pussy, whose name is an example of sexist racism. Dustin Hill, the band songwriter, claims he is not racist, and then turns around and accuses Black Lives Matter of being part of an agenda to spread racism. The band has also in the past posted on their facebook page, an ad for one of their appearances that featured a burning cross. Please cancel this show.”
And if you want to take your action further, contact the Fourth Avenue Merchant Association:
Phone: (520) 624-5004
Send them a message online: http://www.fourthavenue.org/contact/
Tell them: “Fourth Avenue should be a place where people of color and targeted communities can feel safe and welcome. It troubles us deeply that on Friday, December 29th, at the Surly Wench, the band Black Pussy is playing. Dustin Hill, the band songwriter, claims he is not racist, and then turns around and accuses Black Lives Matter of being part of an agenda to spread racism. The band has also in the past posted on their facebook page, an ad for one of their appearances that featured a burning cross. The Fourth Avenue Merchants Associations needs to take proactive steps to assure that the Avenue remains inclusive and open. Already we have merchants who have come out in support of the racial profiling and anti-immigrant law SB1070. Something must change on Fourth Avenue if it wants to remain a place that all Tucsonans can enjoy equally. FAMA should declare the Fourth Avenue a sanctuary zone and ask merchants to respect basic principles of inclusivity.”
No Matter What Black Pussy and Their White Defenders Tell You – Hipster Racism is Not Cool
There are a whole lot of White hipsters who will assure you that neither the band Black Pussy, nor their name, are racist. And there’s a chorus of Tucson and Arizona musicians, critics, and comedians who will do the same. They want us to get over it and join them in their fantasy “color-blind” world. But that world doesn’t exist. We live in an era where oppressed peoples are targeted and hate-fueled violence is on the rise, police brutality against Black people and indigenous is the norm, and our president regularly re-tweets White Supremacists. Hipster racism helps make extreme racism more acceptable.
Dustin Hill, band leader and song writer, asserts that he and his band are not racist, but that the Black Lives Matter movement, on the other hand, is part of “an agenda to make more racism”. But it doesn’t take much digging to find evidence (besides the name) to the contrary. If you go to the Black Pussy Facebook page and scroll down to their October 11 post advertising a show in Carlsbad, California, you’ll see the image of a burning cross. Nah, folks, that doesn’t conjure up any kind of legacy of racism and hate at all, does it?
Unfortunately, there are all too many White scenesters who will jump in to defend Hill and his band.
According to the Tucson Weekly, “no, they’re not racists or sexist, just button-pushing irony dorks from Portland who know how to work the PR machine like a strap-on.”
Jed Henry of the Tucson Monthly let’s us know that, “Black Pussy is a group of rock n’ roll pot-smoking fun-loving long hairs that are passionate about art, creativity and the dynamic human spirit which refuses to submit. Black Pussy DOES NOT condone or endorse any sexism, racism, ageism, violence, or any other douchebaggery that has been spoiling the party since the party started.”
Comedian Doug Stanhope is apparently a big fan. He opened for them when they appeared at the Fun House in Bisbee and devoted one of his podcasts to their music.
The only thing more offensive than Black Pussy’s racism is its clueless arrogance. In a rambling interview with the Seattle Weekly, Dustin Hill tries to make sure we understand just how smart he is, how psychedelics will enlighten us, and how he himself is not racist – but Black Lives Matter is. You just can’t make this stuff up:
“I’m pretty educated…politically and economically, I’m very educated at a very crazy level…. I dare…people to do a heroic dose of psilocybin, go in, and then see if Black Pussy is sexist or racist…. Do DMT, this won’t even matter…. The Black Lives Matter movement, it’s a great movement, it started out of those police shootings…. But Black Lives Matter, if you research it, George Soros is funding it [a groundless assertion, besides which, BLM is not an organization but a movement]. So, there’s this agenda, I think it’s an agenda to make more racism.”
On Black Pussy’s Facebook page, there’s a comment where someone asks when they’re going to come to Austin, Texas. The band replies saying they are apparently not welcome in Austin. Hey, Tucson – why can’t we do the same and make bands like this unwelcome in our town?
But the fact is, right now, the Surly Wench, by bringing them back yet a second time, are contributing to a truly unfortunate situation that must be addressed. The problem isn’t just about this one show.
The Surly Wench is located on Fourth Avenue which, along with next-door downtown, makes up Tucson’s primary entertainment zone. The heart of Fourth Avenue is just a block away from Roskruge Bilingual Middle School and Tucson High School, schools that have large populations of Chicano, immigrant, indigenous, African American, poor, and working-class students. Fourth Avenue has long had a reputation for inclusivity and for being a haven for all kinds of people to celebrate and enjoy our many cultures and sub-cultures.
But that reputation is under threat. Consider that when Arizona was getting ready to pass the racial profiling and anti-immigrant, anti-Latino law SB1070, Tony Vaccaro, owner of the Sky Bar and Brooklyn Pizza, went out on a limb to call the Arizona Daily Star and declare his support for the legislation. Any Latino person that goes to these places should know that the owner apparently thinks it’s okay if ICE questions you based on the suspicious activities of being brown and speaking Spanish.
If one looks at the make-up of the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association, you’ll see officers and employees who are overwhelmingly White. What kind of programs are in place to encourage minority ownership and representation? Will FAMA enact policies to keep Fourth Avenue inclusive and open? It’s time that FAMA take proactive steps. FAMA should declare Fourth Avenue a sanctuary zone where ICE agents are unwelcome and asked to stay away unless they come with warrants in hand, and it should encourage its merchants to adopt basic principles of inclusivity.
Hipster racism is not cool. It helps open the door up to more extreme forms, to make them more acceptable. We need to put a stop to it now. For starters, Surly Wench should cancel this show.
Following are links to some other articles that effectively address the problem with the band’s name: