Avenged Sevenfold made no secret of their conservative views in the past, like in the song "Critical Acclaim," where vocalist M. Shadows exclaimed “If you don’t support the war, you don’t support the troops.” But in a new editorial, Shadows explains that he has matured and his viewpoints have changed, and he wants his fans to know he supports Black Lives Matter.
In a new op-ed for Revolver, titled “Why I Stand With the ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement,” Shadows acknowledges that his band's fan base has "very few black Americans" and takes accountability for past actions :
“I am aware that in the past Avenged has antagonized with some of our lyrics and imagery. We have also used confederate flags in our artwork while paying tribute to artists we grew up listening to or simply trying to start controversy. I’m sure we will be called out, and rightfully so, by people reading this. No excuses. But everyone grows up at some point, and I feel grateful that we have an audience that has allowed us to evolve with them.”
But he makes his intentions clear:
“I have no interest in sending a neutral message proclaiming ‘riots aren’t the answer’ or ‘hurting innocent people doesn’t help the cause.’ We all recognize that, and if that’s the only message you are focused on during this dire time then I ask you to dig deeper.”
Shadows goes on to add that this is not a black problem but a problem for all Americans:
“If you are white and have been sitting on the sidelines of this situation, we need you to stand up. Taking a stand for our fellow Americans does not mean you condone the riots. It simply means you are listening and want to help. If you posted in opposition of the riots yet were previously silent on the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among too many others, please ask yourself why. It’s time to show our fellow Americans that we hear them and feel their pain. This can’t be about your political alliances. This can’t be about what your friends or family are going to think of you. This is not a fight our fellow Americans should be going through alone. If someone says, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and your response is ‘All Lives Matter’ then maybe take a look at the core of that reaction. Every life is valuable — that is a given — but right now the lives of the oppressed require our undivided attention. Yes, the police have an incredibly daunting job, and many uphold the integrity of their position, but if that is your point of contention, I say AGAIN: the lives of the oppressed require our undivided attention right now.”
“We can be the ones — the rock and metal community — to reach out and show the compassion that I know is in us all to help raise up our fellow humans. I, for one, enjoy black American culture. The music, art, films, clothing, sports, food. All of it has made my life better. I have no doubt we are a better country because of the black American influence. Hell, Chuck Berry was the Father of Rock & Roll! Standing against inequality and systemic racism is the very least we can all do.”