Here’s Why Black Pussy’s Band Name is Not Cool

At first, it looked like Portland stoner-rock band Black Pussy would have an unexpected layover in Athens after their show at the Caledonia Lounge on Mar. 24, because their show at Raleigh’s Pour House the following day was cancelled in response to public outrage at the band’s obviously, plainly, stiflingly offensive name. (The show has since been re-booked at a different venue.)

The band says it’s just a Rolling Stones reference (it was the original working title for “Brown Sugar”)—no big deal, get over it, watch some Doug Stanhope and burn one, man. While some might think of that song as just another ’60s rock anthem, feminist musicians point out that the song’s lyrics actually speak of a black female slave being raped by her white master.

Do BP themselves even know the lyrics to that song? Probably not, judging by this embarrassing interview with Ryan McIntyre, the group’s lead singer. He states that “Brown Sugar” is an anti-racist song, which reminds me of how some white people think you can’t be racist if you’ll bang a person of color. 

He also claims that guitarist Dustin Hill “has Native American blood”—some of my best friends are white, too, Ryan! Then he goes on to describe the band’s name as “ambiguous” and makes lazy, cliché remarks akin to “I don’t see color.”

He must realize how easy it is for him to make a statement like that, and how he must sound to those of us who could never do so. (Pro tip: Get a PR agent.)

The guys in BP make big claims about being artists and wanting their shows to be safe spaces for everyone attending, but I truly feel terror at the notion of being a black woman surrounded by their fans next week. A lot of privileged types don’t see why some black feminists think the band’s name is a “casual invitation to violence”, but personally, I’d be terrified of what people might say to me, and especially what the less-nice ones might do to me. 

If I stood up for myself, would I have the support of McIntyre and Hill? They answer the question on their own Facebook page by linking to a video of Stanhope calling people “stupid” for being “offended by any word in any language.”

So, yeah, the idea of going to the BP show actually makes my stomach hurt, and that is what’s violent and dangerous about five white boys calling themselves Black Pussy. Then again, only 33 people have RSVPed to the Facebook event as of this writing, so I’d say that’s a good gauge of public interest. Me? I’m not going. I want to live.