Black Origins of Punk Music

Black artists have played a prominent role in punk rock from its beginnings to today

Black origins of Punk
Credit: Courtesy of FairPlay

June is Black Music Appreciation month. This month we’ll be celebrating the musical contributions of Black artists, including those from Jacksonville. And, with the help of our friends at FairPlay, we’re offering readers a deeper look into the Black origins of various popular music genresfrom country to shoegaze, punk, reggaeton and more.

From proto-punk pioneers Death to seminal feminist frontwoman Poly Styrene to Dean Pleasants’ influence on the SoCal hardcore scene, Black artists have played a prominent role in punk rock from its beginnings to today.

The British band X-Ray Spex loomed large in the nascent UK underground music scene, sharing the stage with some of the most recognizable acts of the day. The band was fronted by Poly Styrene, who commanded the stage with her powerful voice and biting lyrics.

Credit: Courtesy of FairPlay

From HC to SoCal thrash to bubblegum punk and heavy metal, Black artists played prominent role in the various sub-genres that borrowed from punk.

From HC to SoCal thrash to bubblegum punk and heavy metal, Black artists played prominent role in the various sub-genres that borrowed from punk.
Credit: Courtesy of FairPlay

Founded by brothers David, Dannis and Bobby Hackney, Death was well-before their time, remaining largely unknown before the 2012 documentary A Band Called Death exposed the group to a wider audience.

Founded by brothers David, Dannis and Bobby Hackney, Death was well-before their time, remaining largely unknown before the 2012 documentary A Band Called Death exposed the group to a wider audience.
Credit: Courtesy of FairPlay

Emerging from the Washington, D.C. hardcore scene of the late-’70s, the all-Black group Bad Brains remains one of the most influential groups of all time.

Emerging from the Washington, D.C. hardcore scene of the late-'70s, the all-Black group Bad Brains remains one of the most influential groups of all time.
Courtesy of FairPlay

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