Photo Credits: Honeychild Coleman (Photo by Ed Marshall Photography NYC), Kathy Foster (Not sure, but if this is yours please let me know!), Shingai Shoniwa (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images), Tracy Wormworth (Not sure, but if this is yours please let me know!
This is the last part of a four part series exploring Black Women who are in punk bands. Last but not least to be featured are the following talented ladies.
Honeychild Coleman (top left): From Kentucky, Honeychild Coleman’s influence has extended across various well-known bands, including “The Slits, Greg Tate’s Burnt Sugar Arkestra , Mad Professor, Apollo Heights , Death Comet Crew (with Rammellzee), Gregor Asche AKA DJ Olive and Raz Mesinai’s Badawi” (1). Besides being a solo artist, she also plays guitar. Her music was featured in the groundbreaking film Pariah. Suggested Song: Echelon (Live) (Website – Facebook – Twitter)
Kathy Foster (top right): Kathy Foster is best known as the bassist for punk band The Thermals, and plays drums for All Girl Summer Fun Band as well. She is original from California, but moved to Portland, Oregan around 1998. Suggested Song: A Pillar of Salt (Live) (Kathy Foster Wikipedia)
Shingai Shoniwa (bottom left): Shingai Shoniwa is associated with post-punk band the Noisettes, where she plays bass and provides leading vocals. According to Wikipedia, her first name means “be bold/courageous/strong” in the Shona language, which is a Bantu language native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe. Shingai met future Noisettes bandmate Dan Smith at the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology (located in Croydon), which she attended. The Noisettes have reached critical acclaim, having been praised by Rolling Stone, the New Yorker, and others. Suggested Song: Never Forget You (Live) (Wikipedia – Instagram)
Tracy Wormworth (bottom right): Tracy Wormworth comes from a family of musicians — her brother Jimmy Wormworth is a drummer for The Conan O’Brien show, and her father and sister are also musicians (a jazz drummer and vocalist, respectively). Tracy herself plays bass guitar, currently as a member of the B-52s, but originally as a member of new wave band The Waitresses. She has toured with many well-known acts besides the B-52s, including Cyndi Lauper, Sting, and Phyllis Hyman amongst many others. Suggested Song: I Know What Boys Like (Wikipedia)
Osa Atoe is a punk powerhouse and multi-instrumentalist who has been featured in several bands. Osa is also behind the Black Punk centered zine Shotgun Seamstress. Bands she’s played in include New Bloods (along with Adee Roberson – another black artist), Firebrand, and Negation. Suggested Music: Firebrand – EP (2011)
Ally Lowe is the lead singer of Texas punk band The Atomic Tanlines. With her growling, power house vocals, Ally calls to mind great punk singers like Lux Interior from The Cramps, or Kathleen Hanna from Bikini Kill/Le Tigre. Punk’s not dead, and you’ll believe it after taking a listen at this band. Suggested Song: Dirty Queer Rocknroll (Bandcamp – Facebook)
Rachel Aggs, the lead singer and guitarist of bluesy rock band Trash Kit hails from London. Trash Kit’s music evokes the mood and sounds of the early 1980s post-punk wave (think Public Image Ltd), with a shot of the blues. Suggested Song: Medicine (Facebook)
Joy Vay fronts and plays guitar for NJ based punk band TV Tramps. Anyone who’s a fan of the classic skate punk/pop punk sound will thoroughly enjoy this band. They play fast and hard! Suggested Song: Keep Your Mouth Shut (Bandcamp – Facebook)
Lynette Vertilus is the lead singer for hardcore/powerviolence band Venkman. Check them out if you’re into stomp your face in style hardcore punk — you won’t be disappointed. Suggested Song: Dead End Job (Bandcamp – Facebook)
Kayla Phillips is the lead singer for powerviolence band Bleed The Pigs. Brutal, bold and in your face, Kayla will instantly melt your face with her vocals, and who doesn’t like that? Suggested Song: White Washed (Tumblr – Bandcamp – Facebook)
Felony Melony, one of the first Black Women rockers I’d ever heard about, is the lead vocalist for Las Vegas, NV punk band The Objex. A former Suicide Girl (which, if you have to ask who they are, you’re too young) and an all around bad ass, Felony Melony and her band once performed in front of a faction of the Aryan Brotherhood. Her band’s another one to get into if you like the skate punk/pop punk sound. Suggested Song: Kill Your Stereotypes (Bandcamp – Facebook)
I had this post on ice for awhile, so I no longer have the photo credits for these images. If one of them is yours and you wish to be credited, please comment here or email email@example.com.
First Row: Toni Young (photo by Jim Saah), Santi White (photo by Jonathan Wood), Fefe Dobson (photo by Bill King) 2nd Row: Libby Hodges, Yvonne Ducksworth (photo by Denis Barthel)
Toni Young: Toni Young was the bassist for 80s hardcore punk band Red C. The band was part of the 80s Washington DC punk scene, and was featured on the pivotal hardcore compilation Flex Your Head. Tragedy befell the bend in 1985, when Toni died of complications from pneumonia. Suggested Song: Assassin
Santi White: Before Santi White burst onto the indie scene as Santigold, she was in a punk band based out of Pennsylvania called Stiffed. Formed in the early 2000s, the band released two albums – Sex Sells (2003), and Burned Again (2005). Santi also had ties to another black woman rocker Res, helping to co-write and co-produce Res’ debut album How I Do. Santi started her solo career as Santigold in 2007, with the release of her solo debut Santogold. She still releases music as Santigold, with her latest album 99¢ having been released in 2015. More Information: Wikipedia. Suggested Song: What You Gone Do
Fefe Dobson: Fefe Dobson entered the music scene as an 18 year old in 2003, riding the pop punk wave that was in fashion at the time. Her early sound was comparable to other acts out during this period, such as Avril Lavigne and Kelly Osbourne. She’s had a stable career since, having released her last album Joy in 2010. Originally destined by Jive recording executives to be a pop artist, Fefe wanted to take her music in a different direction and left the label as a result. This led to Fefe releasing her debut self-titled album on Island Records instead. More Information: Wikipedia. Suggested Song: Take Me Away
Libby Hodges: Libby Hodges formed the punk band Girl Trash in 1983. The band was all women, and featured Libby as lead singer along with her sister Doni on Guitar, and Julie and Robin Kerry on keyboards and guitar respectively. Libby was influenced by punk bands such as Dead Kennedys, Plasmatics, and black punk band Pure Hell. The band tragically and abruptly ended after the Kerry sisters were attacked and murdered. More Information: Livejournal post, slashmeup post Instagram: vampirelibby
Yvonne Ducksworth: Yvonne is the lead singer for punk/metal German band Jingo De Lunch. The band was formed in 1987, and released several albums in the late 1980s and early 1990s, in addition to live albums in the late 200s. Jingo De Lunch broke up in 2012. Yvonne was also a singer for other punk bands in the early 1980s, including Combat Not Conform and Manson Youth. She is also an actress and TV presenter, appearing on the 1994 show Metalla (which focused on the hardcore and metal scenes) on the German TV channel VIVA. More Information: on Jingo De Lunch – on Yvonne Ducksworth. Suggested Song: Seen and Done
The site hasn’t been updated in nearly a month, but never fear! I’m working on putting together another genre feature series, this time with all of the incredible Black Women in Punk. It’s a massive list. Stay tuned!
Hi Folks! Following their stunning debut LP Update Your Brain, The Tuts — everyone’s favorite British punk-istas — are going on a UK tour this May! I haven’t been able to see these ladies live (yet – come to the US, The Tuts!!), but they look like they put on a good show.
UK Peeps, get your tickets at The Tuts’ Official Website — they’re going fast! Tour dates are listed below.
At last, the original RiotGrrl is getting her own documentary — or will, if the funds can be raised to make it happen.
Poly Styrene was the first black woman rocker that I ever knew about, and her band X-Ray Spex was the band that got me into punk rock and changed my life forever. Her story needs to be told, and I am urging anyone that can contribute to this project to do so.
The currency being asked for the campaign is the British pound, but you should be able to donate regardless of your location. I was able to donate in dollars.
Let’s make this happen! The Indiegogo page is here: Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché | Indiegogo
If you like that Plasmatics-type punk/metal sound, then you will love Erzulie.
Hailing from Chicago and featuring GoldGrrl as their frontwoman, Erzulie has that dirty, gritty sound that makes listening to metal fun (at least for me!).
If you’re in the mood for something witchy, then go on over to Bandcamp and check out The Black Blood: Genesis EP. You can preview the single “Suffer” below.
The Selecter and The Tuts – Goodnight Encore (Live)
Listen/purchase: Venkman / Horse&Deer Split 7″ by Venkman
Following on the heels of several previous singles and EPs, @thetuts have finally given us a full-length album – Update Your Brain. This LP does NOT disappoint; It is the same high-powered punk pop you’ve come to expect (and love!) from this band. The album’s sound is sleek and polished, and grrl power oozes on every single track.
A couple of old faves have been re-recorded for the new album (”Dump Your Boyfriend” and “I Call You Up”), and they mix in well with all of the new songs like “1982″ and “Let Go Of The Past”. Full warning – this album will have you dancing and will also leave you wanting more. Pick it up today!
Get Update Your Brain: Bandcamp
Black Women in Active Alternative Bands. Ft. Straight Line Stitch, Light Asylum, Bleed the Pigs, The Objex and Skunk Anansie.
Fire Party, DC, Maryland USA
New Bloods- Portland Oregon USA
LIBBY HODGES – I have been a punk since the Summer of 1982, learning about bands such as Dead Kennedys, Plasmatics, and the all Black punk band Pure Hell. That helped me out a lot with my parents because they kept saying Black kids do not listen to this music or dress like that. They and I did not know at that the punk distinctive dress (leather, jackets, shaved heads, combat boots) was borrowed from Black/Caribbean dock rockers better known as the rude boys of England back in the 1960s, a/k/a the teddy boys or original skinheads. My dad who was an American who played Reggae/Calypso music in St. Louis, MO down on Gas Light Square also borrowed the rude boys dress code. Later on he became a Black Muslim but kept the rude boy dress code. Even today in his seventies he still wears the combat boots, cuffed jeans and a t-shirt. When I adopted the dress for myself my friends always commented, “your dad dresses like a punk but acts like a nerd.” In reality we were dressing like him and were too young and uneducated about history and the world to see the connection. I was a band in St. Louis called Girl Trash. The members were Jill Rossman, lead guitar, Lisa Anzalone-bass, Donalda Hodges-guitar/vocals, Libby Hodges-lead vocals and back up vocals, drummer unknown (I do not remember her name, only that she left St. Louis to play with another band in Chicago), Julie Kerry- keyboards/lyrics, Robin Kerry-lyrics, guest vocals. We played from 1987 to 1989. Julie Kerry and Robin Kerry were both raped and killed.. After Julie and Robin were killed I completely gave up music myself and turned instead to writing vampire novels. I really enjoyed playing in this band and it would be great to find the rest of the living members. (Libby Hodges, firstname.lastname@example.org) [New Entry 11/28/06] http://www.roctober.com/roctober/blackpunk2.html
Cameroon Rock- Karine Beyala, righteous guitarist Cameroon Africa