What Are You Doing Here?

Laina Dawes


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2012, Bazillion Points

Metal can save your lifeā€”or at least your sanity. What Are You Doing Here? investigates how black women musicians and fans navigate the metal, hardcore, and punk music genres that are regularly thought of as inclusive spaces and centered on a community spirit, but fail to block out the race and gender issues that exist in the outside world. Laina Dawes walks readers through her lifelong love of metal, her subsequent ostracism in the black community, and the very real racism and sexism she and others have encountered while in pursuit of metal's community spirit. Yet she remains headstrong and devout in arguing that black women need the emotional catharsis that metal delivers. Her keen observations are buttressed by stories shared by dozens of other black women headbangers and punks. You will never look at heavy metal fans in the same light again.

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