On Mar. 12, The Daily Dot reported that there was a petition on Change.org to force Portland-based rock group Black Pussy to change its name. According to the site:
"Last week, a petition began circulating on social media calling for Portland, Ore., rock band Black Pussy to change its name, or face a boycott of all the venues that book the band.
As of today, the petition has garnered more than 360 signatures. Outraged posts accusing the band of racism and sexism have also appeared onTwitter and Facebook. One San Francisco event listing suggested people call and email the local venue Bottom of The Hill to ask them to cancel the band’s Mar. 5 show."
Well, it was at 360 signatures. Now it's hovering closer to the 1,100 mark. The Daily Dot gets Leila Hofstein, Youth Program Coordinator at PFLAG Portland Black Chapter, in on the article too and asks why she thinks the group should have to change its name.
“To take a really explicit name like that just says, hey, we don’t give a shit about you and the safety that you feel on the street every day. We just want to exploit it.”
Yet the band's Facebook profile explicitly states the group "does not condone or endorse any sexism, racism, ageism, violence, or any other douchebaggery that has been spoiling the party since the party started. If you are offended by the band's name, please refer to the following video." The bio even states the the group's name is a reference to the Rolling Stones song "Brown Sugar," which is an anti-slavery jam. Up to this point, and even everything else you're about to read that comes from the collective mouth of the group, paints a calm and cool portrait of a bunch of dudes who understand the controversy surrounding the name and don't quite understand the sudden animosity.
Then, on Mar. 16, the group reached out to MetalSucks to state that a show coming up on Mar. 25 in North Carolina had to be cancelled.
"Black Pussy is fully supportive and respectful of every opinion in the growing conversation regarding their name, and welcomes fans of every race, gender, creed, sexual orientation and preference of intoxicant to join the party. With that said, it is with deep regret that we must announce that there have been serious threats of violence and vandalism against the promoter, the staff, and the venue of The Pour House in Raleigh, North Carolina, and out of respect for the venue and the safety of everyone involved, the March 25th show has been cancelled.
We live in a country where it is absolutely imperative that every voice is heard and everyone is encouraged to not only speak their minds but also fully exercise their right to protest what they believe is wrong. However, it is VERY important to recognize the grave irony of a situation where those protesting nothing more than the contentious name of a band that has never stood for anything but positivity and love are the very same people threatening physical harm to others and their property. The band is taking this very seriously. Stay safe out there and make sure you’re spreading nothing but love. – Black Pussy."
I can see the feminism aspect of this to the extent I can possibly see it coming from a male perspective… but here's the catch- there's way, way worse music out there at a much higher level that nobody seems to have a problem with. Bob Marley's music is absolutely, unabashedly racist, yet we play it at bars and public spaces. Foster the People wrote a song called "Pumped Up Kicks" that was played incessantly on radio, and it was about a kid shooting up a school. I'm not saying that those kinds of things make it okay, but you have stuff like that floating around and yet a band who just wants to play some rock and roll is getting annihilated because its name is offensive to some.
I'm just saying that these guys seem like a bunch of regular dudes and the reaction might be a little overbearing on just a name. Lyrical content and calls to action, sure. Get mad and stop that shit! Just a band name? C'mon.
In related news, the band's new album, Magic Mustache is out today and streaming in full courtesy of Noisey.