I reviewed Laina Dawes’ book What Are You Doing Here? A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal for Souciant. The book deals with the autho’s experience as a black female metalhead and contains some thoughtful and critical insights into the position of black people in metal. In my review I tried to broaden out the context of Dawes’ argument a little, reflecting on whether and how it might matter that so few black people are into metal. I conclude:
Hopefully Dawes’ book will help erode barriers to black women’s entry into metal even further. Perhaps we are near a tipping point when the last remaining citadel holding out against metal’s global dominion will fall. Perhaps having more black people in metal scenes and making music will reconfigure what ‘black music’ means. Perhaps the exclusion of what we currently think of as black music will give way to the inclusion of a form of black music we cannot now even envisage.