How has being a black woman in a predominantly white male music genre
affected you and your music? How did you come to be a part of the scene?
First of all i have to say how simultaneously ironic, amusing, exciting, and inspiring it is that the "black rock scene" is even being acknowledged at all in so many ways lately, let alone being documented and studied. My entire life has been about my intimate, if occasionally unhealthy, love affair with rock&roll and my own drive to live my life as a rock musician.
As a young girl growing up in what turned out to be an incredibly hostile environment, I learned early on that I was an outcast simply because of the color of my skin. It didn't help matters that I was a year younger and a head shorter than my classmates. I went to elementary school in a suburb of Houston, Texas where I was one of maybe 3 black kids in the entire school--and no one in my family explained to me what that might mean. what it did mean was complete alienation, verbal and physical abuse from my schoolmates, and relentless rejection at every turn. I had to figure it all out on my own...but by the time I did I had already latched onto my personal savior and imagined fairy godrocker in the form of Joan Jett. She taught me by shining flawless rock&roll example through her own life: the once laughed at outcast who became a huge success without compromising her unique self. She showed me how to not give a damn about what people thought of me, cuz they were the idiots, and I should be in fact PROUD of a "bad reputation."
I had already figured out what I wanted to do with my life around the age of 5 when I saw a Diana Ross concert on tv, and the light in my soul came on. It was at the ripe old age of 8 that I discovered Joan and really knew exactly what I had to do and how to do it. You see, I was already an outcast no matter what I did, so it didn't seem as unusual to me as it should have that a black female pre-teen in texas in the early 80's (or ever) would be a passionate rock&roll lover and aspiring rock guitarist. I had already been completely rejected (thank god) from anything mainstream, so being different just stopped being uncomfortable as a matter of practicality, freeing me to develop (gasp!) my own personality and direction.
Of course the reactions I would get when I first started playing out at age 17 initially stemmed from a place of shock, or cynical reactions to what was expected to be a novelty act... but I wasn't aware of any of that at the time. they may have started watching with folded arms and a smirk, ready to shake their heads at the joke onstage and walk away laughing, but that quickly shifted into shock over how hard they just got rocked.
By the time I got to New York City I was used to the freak show factor, I came to
appreciate it even. watching peoples' tiny little minds get blown open cuz I'm onstage in front of them.... seeing them go from snickering rubberneckers to awestruck fans by the end of a set... just because I AM the oddball, I am able to show folks some shit they ain't ever seen before, and feed it to them in a way they didnt know they were craving. I'm already something new just climbing onto a stage... 4 skinny white guys, 4 skinny white guys, 4 skinny white guys, *ME*. All I gotta do is deliver, and I change peoples' lives!