My piece for Hyperplum's first show THIS IS US.
People of color always exist in a performative space, either being forced to assume specific mannerisms or change our appearances to reinforce, circumvent, or completely break through stereotypes and expectations surrounding our race. However, in spaces designated for performance, the performer is always under the scrutiny of the audience, making the job of the musician/artist/poet two-fold. They must not only 1) curate their body of work to be relatable content, but must also 2) curate their own image to make that content relatable and easily accessible to the audience. For musicians of color in the indie/rock music scene, (a genre dominated traditionally by white people), navigating these requirements can mean attempting to completely strip certain aspects of POC identity from their work.
For POC, fitting into white spaces on a day-to-day basis is difficult enough. Our inability to control our perceived image in totality often means auditing our behavior to fit in. The pageantry and exploitation of POC in performance spaces is nothing new, and similarly, the entertainment value of musically-inclined animals has been exploited in culture since the day we taught a monkey to clap a cymbal.