WHAT GOES THROUGH MY HEAD (LITERALLY) AT EVERY ROCK/METAL/PUNK CONCERT:
- Lemme get out of the house before my folks make a joke about my demon music.
- Oh gosh do I look cute? Do I look stupid?! Nah I look fine.
- I hope there’s other PoC at this concert!
- AYYEEE BOUT TO SEE MY BAND.
- …And I’m in a sea of ivory.
- Please don’t stare. Don’t stare at me.
- *Someone snickers* *bout to start fighting*
- Hell YEAH I know all the lyrics to this music, whassup??
- No I’m not lost.
- I’m not LOST.
- Is that another black person??!! OMG?? No…no it’s not.
- Am I allowed to crowd surf? Mosh? I’d try the wall of death but IDK with this crowd.
- *Stares at the daunting old white men in front of me*
- Yes I am aware this is a metal concert.
- *Gets compliment.* Oh my gosh, thanks!!!
- Don’t touch my hair please.
- Okay time for Uber.
- That wasn’t so bad.
- WHOO I made it! That was pretty fun!
Any of this relatable? I figured as much, which is why I made the survival guide below! It serves as a little tongue in cheek advice manual for those who may be nervous about attending their first official concert. It also serves as a little pick-me-up for concert veterans who are tired of the endless stress and overthinking. It’s not at all comprehensive, and if any of you guys have tips of your own, feel free to share them with us here at Quirktastic! Enjoy! 🙂
1. Be Optimistic
Look, we’ve all been the only “so and so” at some dominated space at some point. When it comes to black people/POC and certain music subcultures, it can feel even more daunting, due to an assumption that you and others like you aren’t normally into that sort of thing. You could be viewed as an outlier, a poser, or even worse—a crasher. First rule of advice, before going out is: be optimistic!
9 times out of 10, the people at the concert are there for the same reason you are: to see an awesome band and meet like-minded folks! Race, gender, and all that jazz shouldn’t be a focal point in spaces like these where you’re meant to connect. Relax, and have fun—who knows, you could come out with loads of new friends!
2. Kill ‘Em with Kindness
On the other side of the coin, alternative subcultures—like every other white-dominated space—are bound to have a few bad apples. But don’t let it taint your experience or get you down. Handle it with grace, and carry yourself with respect. Never let anyone dictate how you feel about yourself. Never let anyone make you feel uncomfortable, or even ashamed for simply existing.
It says far more about them than it’ll ever about you. Racists, sexists, and phobic (homophobic, islamophobic, fatphobic, etc.) people are the real crashers of any concert. They’re cold hearted, rude, and simply not worth your time or energy to be bothered with. Continue to slay, and let their stupidity roll off you like water.
3. Do NOT be a Special Snowflake
If you meet other black folk/POC—that’s awesome! But PLEASE, PLEASE, and—once again—PLEASE—don’t find yourself falling into special snowflake syndrome. What do I mean by that? I think every person has experienced this once. It happens when one is so used to being the sole minority of a space, that when they realize they’re no longer “the only one of their kind”, they can get an inflated ego, and look down on their brethren for being “fake” or “posers”. In essence: a pretentious snob.
If you need an example: it’s the folks who claim to be the “only real alternative/metalhead/nerdy black folks because of XYZ blah blah blah”. It’s the folks who spot another black person at a mostly white concert, and roll their eyes and give them the cold shoulder, instead of walking up and saying hi. PSA? Don’t do that.
Because what are you doing?
Excluding fellow black/POC folk, and alienating yourself from them because you think they’re not meant to be there, is LITERALLY THE SAME THING the majority has been doing to you. It’s the same reason you’re apprehensive about going to these types of concerts. It’s the same reason you hesitate interacting in alternative spaces. If you wanna stop the problem? Don’t be the problem.
Do not perpetuate the same subtle racism that you suffer through upon others. Perhaps if you suffer this “special snowflake” syndrome severely enough, you should look deep within yourself, and check to make sure there isn’t some deeply rooted self-hatred going on.
Like with survival tip #1, this tip has the same basic advice: be kind, be excited, and be genuine! Open your heart—release that ego— and connect with kindred spirits, and I guarantee you by the end of the night you’ll connect with some amazing people.
4. Set Your Boundaries
At concerts, we often get super up and personal with each other as we’re dancing and enjoying the music. But be sure to protect yourself and your personal space from unintended advances. Especially as a POC, this can come from ignorant micro aggressions, such as touching your hair without your permission, dancing up on you because the stereotype has you pegged as a party animal, and other things of the sort.
Be firm, and hold your ground. Speak up to those that are making you uncomfortable, and if need be, get outside assistance to put a stop to it. Speak to the security guard, get other people’s attention, make a scene. Your personal autonomy is sacred and important, and it should not be violated for any reason, especially at an event like a concert. Have fun, but be safe.
5. Keep a Cool Head
In the unfortunate event that you are faced with a super gnarly situation, keep your temper in check. It’s easy to fall for the bait jerks like to wave around, but DON’T stoop to their level. Take a deep breath, assess the situation, and—if need be—LEAVE.
It’s so easy to elevate a situation to the point where violence is used, and your personal well being may be threatened. Don’t let those who aren’t there with the best intentions ruin your night. Be the bigger person, and find someone to remedy the situation. Remove yourself from any escalating threat, and be sure to take care of yourself so that you’re physically/mentally/emotionally able to enjoy the rest of the night.
It sucks to deal with unexpected ugliness, but trust and believe the only person who’ll end up with a ruined night is them. You, on the other hand, will be blessing everybody else with your beautiful, positive energy.
6. Be Loud, and Proud!
Let your freak flag fly proudly! Wear the most ostentatious outfit you can! Dance like nobody’s watching! Scream those lyrics ‘til your lungs collapse! (but not really). And just be unabashedly yourself! Like was said before, you deserve to be there just as much as everyone else who bought their ticket, so don’t make yourself small just to make others comfortable.
If you wanna get turnt, go for it! If you wanna act goofy during the intermission, do that too. Don’t have it on your mind that you’re the only “so and so” and so you should act lowkey. Nah bro! You’re not there to impress other concert goers, are you? You’re there to see what’s probably a favorite band of yours. And you’re allowed to enjoy that!
Besides, the 0.001% of people who might have a problem with it don’t matter. They’re just being a sourpuss and party pooping their own concert experience. 999% of everyone else will probably join in on your fun! It’s nearly impossible to ignore the genuine joy, fun and excitement a person exudes. Happiness is contagious!
7. Protect those Curls!
If you’re a natural haired gal, PLEASE BRING A SCRUNCHIE, HAIR TIE, OR SOME BOBBY PINS. Rock and metal concerts are usually some of the most lit—but also some of the hottest, sweatiest, and claustrophobic.
If you just got your hair pressed or have a cute twist out going on, you will sweat it out. Not probably sweat it out—will. Between moshing, the wall of death, singing along the lyrics, and crowd surfing, your hair is barely going to be able to keep up!
And there’s so many people scrunched together, you wouldn’t want to risk it getting snagged on something or someone. Ouch! To make your detangling process easier later on—and to free yourself of the stress of it flying everywhere during the concert, keep it tied down once you feel it getting a little funky. Out of sight, out of mind—and you’ll still look cute too!
8. Take Care of Your Body!
In line with hair care, self care is important! You’re there to have fun, but listen to your body as well! Drink loads of water, and hydrate regularly! Before you go, make sure you’ve eaten a good meal.
It’s so easy to get caught up in everything and to forget to take care of your body, but that’s super dangerous. Not remembering to drink enough, or eat can lead to dire health consequences. You could pass out, overheat, and, in the worst cases, get super dangerously dehydrated. There’s no fun in being at a concert if it makes you horribly sick afterwards. Listen to your body! Music may be food for the soul, but your body needs some physical nourishment!
I don’t think this one needs any further explanation. 😉
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Atlanta based starchild with an insatiable love of all things sci-fi, rock, geeky, and Jeff Goldblum.