In the United States in the 1970s, a film genre called ‘Blaxploitation’ rose to notoriety. With so many films starring white characters (and being made for white audiences), Blaxploitation movies were low budget films that were directly aimed towards black audiences, looking to exploit their interests.
It’s from this that Austin punk band BLXPLTN get their name and indeed, some of what they stand for. The band serves as a means for its three members (Khattie Q, Jonathan “Javelin” Horstmann and TaSzlin Muerte) to speak up and speak out about social injustice. Filmmakers preying on black interests for money is just the tip of the iceberg.
Using their “politically charged electronic punk”, Khattie Q explains that “I want to talk about what it’s like to be living in a ‘progressive’ city with a diminishing African-American population. Segregation is alive and kicking here in Austin, yet people would rather discuss the food cart phenomenon.”
Meanwhile, BLXPLTN drummer and vocalist TaSzlin Muerte adds that they can also help the conversation just by encouraging more people of colour get into the genre:
“When you go to rock shows, you don’t see many people of color. We’re here to build a community, and to say ‘We’re here, and we’re not going anywhere.’”
BLAXPLTN’s music is especially important in a time like now when people are finally realising that the the United States of America is not an idyllic ‘post racial’ society where the colour of your skin doesn’t matter, and that racial issues have instead just been swept under the rug. Every 28 hours an unarmed black person is shot by police, the KKK is still alive and kicking across the country and people of colour are still denied access to the same opportunities as white people. That’s about are far from post racial as you can get.
Things are gradually getting better (and I use that term lightly) but the conversation is on-going and it’s one that needs to be had. Nothing will change unless we continue to discuss why inequality happens and how it can be fixed and BLXPLTN, with their music and with their own writings on the subject, are helping those discussions continue.
You can find out more about BLXPLTN at blxpltn.com.