Bad Brains (past?) homophobic ways caught on video
Hot on the heels of the “blipster” controversy, another issue arises that forces us to think about the unfortunate existence of hate and separation in the world, and in the music world even….
The audio in the video is hard to understand, but yes, HR Did say, “…I do say unity, but for all people, not for all faggots”.
I was as excited as everyone else when Bad Brains reunited with HR to play three shows at CBGB before it closed. And I was as excited as everyone else to find out that Bad Brains are releasing a new album. You might even argue that there is universal love and respect for the Bad Brains among music fans, fellow musicians, the music industry, and the press.
Wikipedia describes Bad Brains as a “highly influential American all-black hardcore punk band” and “pioneers of hardcore punk”, but makes no mention of homophobia. Most articles don’t bring it up either…
“…the seminal black punk-reggae band…” [NPR]
“…the Brains inspire as many people to pick up instruments as lay them down in frustration… [Rolling Stone]
“On-again/off-again rock act Bad Brains appears to be on once more..” [Billboard]
“…hardcore legends Bad Brains seem to be back in commission…” [Pitchfork]
“Bad Brains reuniting – HR included | 2 shows @ CBGB” [BrooklynVegan]
….though it is documented on the Internet.
I even waited until now to follow up on the comment in this post…
Does anyone remember the controversy surrounding the Bad Brains back in the early ’90s (I think it was around then)? I think they had a lyric that was viewed as homophobic or that the lyric viewed folks striken with HIV/AIDS pretty negatively. I can’t recall much else about it, but I do remember that the band was getting slammed pretty hard for it some zines.
…which ironically was written on the same day as an anti-gay post about fellow Rastafarian Buju Banton.
Obviously the above video is old, and HR is not the same guy he used to be…
…or is he? Has HR gone on record to say he’s changed his ways? Either way, is the exchange in the above video forgivable? Can you enjoy a band’s music while ignoring their beliefs? Even though I’m not sure I know the beliefs of half the musicians I listen to, I’d have to say no. Whatever the answer is, I’m not happy about it.