feature: “the forgotten women of punk – shotgun seamstress’ osa atoe “

June 19, 2015

Check out this interview with punk singer Osa Atoe of the New Bloods and creator of the zine ‘Shotgun Seamstress’. The Flavorwire interview, by Jes Skolnik, is the first of an ongoing series profiling the unsung figures of the DIY punk scene. In her intro to the interview, Skolnik writes: ” women and non-binary-gendered people were active in punk during the initial wave, then disappeared as the 1980s progressed due to the rise of macho hardcore. As the story goes, these minorities re-emerged during the early ‘90s during the riot grrrl movement – then disappeared again throughout the late ‘90s and ‘00s until the riot grrrl revivalist spirit pervaded the late ‘00s. We’ve always been here, though – running labels, writing about music, playing in bands, and booking shows, and just because we haven’t always gotten the media spotlight doesn’t mean that we don’t all have stories to tell.” See some extracts from the interview below and read it in full here.

By Alexander Aplerku, AFROPUNK Contributor


“Before I found out about riot grrrl, I was more just a music fan and didn’t really see myself as a potential participant. I didn’t see a way to add anything to the opus of rock’n’roll at that point. I knew I couldn’t really compete on a technical level with rock’n’roll giants that had already lived and died before I ever picked up a guitar. So, riot grrrl and other experimental punk bands like The Raincoats and even Beat Happening, helped me figure out that you didn’t have to be technically perfect, just unique.”

“As far as punk goes, I think I’ve been lucky to be in scenes that were pretty woman and queer-positive — so it wasn’t that I felt myself competing for space. It was more that I just had to be brave and put myself out there. And by the time I moved to New Orleans and was 30 years old, I was so used to putting myself out there, I just did it, despite the fact that the scene was a bit less nurturing of women and queer musicians.”

“When we talk about black culture, it’s normal to use terms that seems monolithic. Even using the term “black culture” is an example of that. The ‘Afro-Punk’ movie was subtitled The Rock’n’roll Nigger Experience. We are constantly tempted to talk about black experiences as The Black Experience.”