Look, I’m not going to pretend I knew who Brasstracks were until I saw their now viral tweet, but suddenly I’m their biggest fan.
The Brooklyn-based musical duo have gone viral this week after tweeting that they were going to leak the untuned vocals of any white artists they’d worked with who hadn’t spoken up about the #blacklivesmatter movement yet.
This may seem funny but for real, seven years of sessions around the world under my belt and 4 hard drive backups. make your voice heard or I will in another way 🙂
— brasstracks (@brasstracks) May 30, 2020
Now this is the kind of chaotic white boy aura I can appreciate. Chaotic direct action, we love to see it.
I can’t help but think about how white artists have been approaching the Black rights movement, and how much of it is just performative lip-service that doesn’t actually change much.
There’s been some serious debate going on about the role of white people in race-related issues. Is tweeting #blacklivesmatter enough? How much of white activism is performative BS? Do white celebrities have a responsibility to comment on these politics, or are they allowed to stay silent? Is racism a white person problem that ultimately cannot be solved by POC?
It’s a big discussion, and one I’ll probably write a much longer article on, but the comparison between Brasstracks and Taylor Swift’s tweets are actually really interesting to me.
Taylor Swift’s White Allyship Is Nice But Basic
After stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism your entire presidency, you have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence? ‘When the looting starts the shooting starts’??? We will vote you out in November. @realdonaldtrump
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) May 29, 2020
Taylor Swift is being absolutely frothed over after she tweeted a fiery response to Donald Trump threatening to shoot looters and protesters.
Honestly, I can see why people love it – it’s angry, it addresses Donald Trump’s white supremacy (which a lot of celebrities have tip-toed around), and tbh it just fucking drags him. I enjoyed it just as much as everyone else, but frothing and obsessing over it is an overreaction to an act that we should all be doing anyway.
I hope y’all white liberal faves like Chris Evans and Taylor Swift do more than tweet. I need to see your money and your bodies on the line. I need to see your critiques of white supremacy extend beyond Trump. You are doing the bare minimum and are applauded for it.
— emoBlackthoughts (@aspiringdreamer) May 29, 2020
Here’s the thing – a sizeable chunk of Taylor Swift’s fanbase are Donald Trump supporters and white supremacists. She was literally used as a mascot for white supremacy and her fans regarded her as an alt right icon. Obviously she’s not alt right, but as someone who is a magnet for white racists that constantly co-opt and associate her with white supremacy, Taylor has a responsibility to shut that shit down.
It’s really basic allyship for someone of her status and following to denounce racism and white supremacy, and it really is about time.
So, let’s get back to why I LOVE Brasstrack’s approach to white allyship.
Brasstracks’ Activism Is The Direct Action I Want To See From White Allies
— brasstracks (@brasstracks) June 2, 2020
These guys have do not have a huge following (their Twitter has 23k followers) and a lot more to lose in terms of audience and deals as they’re still new-ish to the scene. Despite that, they’re literally threatening to ruin their relationship with previous artists and contacts due to their commitment to fighting racism and refusal to allow white silence.
It’s direct action, no mercy. They didn’t end up needing to leak anything because everyone spoke up, but the sentiment behind their actionable threats are the kind of chaotic good we need from white people right now.
Actively call out your white mates for not talking about this, actively call out your communities for allowing racism to happen as they watch from the sidelines, and stop empathising with our oppressors. Racism extends far beyond Trump – your white partners, friends, family and colleagues are are complicit too, and white people need to call out their own.
Image Sources: Twitter, Instagram @brasstracks