author: alexa lawlor | staff writer
Oregon band “Black Pussy” raising controversy
Throughout Canada over the past few weeks, there has been a huge amount of controversy over a Portland, Oregon-based band by the name of Black Pussy. People across Canada have cried out over the band’s controversial name, causing certain venues to cancel the band’s show. In Regina specifically, the Exchange had cancelled the band. The Exchange stated, in a post on the venue’s Facebook page, that they decided to cancel because the band name, Black Pussy, is “appropriative and contributes to a culture of objectification of Black people, people of colour, and women.” They also stated that canceling the show “contributes in a small way to increased awareness on these important issues.”
However, the Cloud 9 Live Bar and Grill, located on Broad St in Regina, opened their doors for the band, and they played their show there on Sept. 18, keeping the same date as the show at the Exchange. The owner of the Cloud 9 Live Bar and Grill, Les Fraser, has said that his reason for accepting the band, as quoted in an article from the CBC, was that, “As long as the show is a good show, not an offensive show, we’re happy to have all kinds of artists.”
Dr. Claire Carter, professor of Women’s and Gender Studies here at the University of Regina, when asked how and why the name Black Pussy could be seen as offensive, says that, “I think in this day and age, it would be pretty hard to find people that wouldn’t be able to understand how it’s offensive.” Carter also states, “I understand from reading up on the band that they felt it was appropriate, not only because it pays homage to the Rolling Stones song, but also that they interpret the name as ‘just two words.’ I think that displays not only a lot of ignorance, but both racism and sexism”.
The backlash against the band’s name has been extensive, stating the name’s racist and sexist connotation. Despite that, there are also many people that believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the name, and that it is the creative right of the band to use any name they want.
The front man of the band himself, Dustin Hill, has said, in a different article from the CBC, that “real feminists” aren’t offended by the band name, but rather how “these people [against the name] are reacting.” He also mentioned that the name is “ambiguous” and “just two words.” Even though close to two thousand people have signed an online petition in protest, the band has shown no interest in changing their name.
Carter believes that the main reason why so many people continue to believe that situations like this are okay is because of the “high degree of ignorance and lack of education that many people have.” She states that “particularly for the majority of white, middle class, heterosexual people, they don’t necessarily understand the harm that these words can cause,” because they do not have the same experiences as people that witness the consequences firsthand every day, such as for people of colour and for women.
The band will be continuing their tour, and will most likely continue to garner an abundance of controversy everywhere they go. Even though there are more violent acts of racism and sexism happening every day, situations like this only further the prevalence of these issues.
Dr. Claire Carter states, “As much as I don’t want to give them the media attention, we need to talk about it. We need to think about it more critically.”