For as long as I can remember, my favorite music has always been a very specific genre: pop-punk, emo music. Growing up with my pre-teen/teen years being in the decade of the 2000s, bands like Blink 182, Taking Back Sunday, Mayday Parade, Relient K, and others were the formation of my music taste, and has continued to be the primary genre I enjoy. The genre has continued long past its season of mainstream popularity, as bands continue to emerge and blow me away, such as bands like Knuckle Puck, Hot Mulligan, and State Champs. The music is often defined by catchy riffs, driving drums, bold vocals, and deeply emotional lyrics. Listening to pop-punk/emo music to me has always been a full-body experience: body, mind, soul. Yet for the longest time, the primary bands that have received attention and acclaim have been bands made up almost solely of white members. One thing I have learned from my time at Nehemiah is that a cross-cultural lifestyle involves specific choices we make, and being intentional about who we surround ourselves with, what content we choose to consume and allow to shape us. In this era, there has also been an emergence of bands that are led by women and people of color, with many being Black-led. I have here curated a playlist that centers voices and artists of color in my favorite genre of emo/pop-punk.
Meet Me @ The Altar in particular is one I want to highlight, as a Black-woman fronted and all women of color band. THEY ARE FREAKING AMAZING. I got to see them live recently in concert with two of my other all-time favorite bands, and it was one of the best concert experiences I’ve ever seen. They’re talent, skill, and ability to bring the whole room into their concert experience was insane. One of the things I find interesting in the discussion of representation in industries is that we almost always share that the benefit is for individuals of color to see themselves on stage or in places of influence. And I 100% believe and support that. But I often find it curious that white individuals never share the importance for themselves to see men and women of color in those prominent places, where they can be influenced by and totally connect with the work of these artists. At this concert I went to, the mosh pit for Meet Me @ The Altar wasn’t just kids of color. There were tons of white people losing their minds connecting to the music and enjoying the show being put on. And that speaks to a truth I see from Nehemiah. Having Black bosses, presidents, favorite artists, chefs, etc. isn’t just about fulfilling DEI quotas or trying to just reflect what a progressive society values. It’s knowing that we truly are so much better, fuller, whole, healthy, and live in the pursuit of joy when we are learning from, being blessed by, and finding joy in the work, art, and creativity of everyone. I am a more whole, healthy, better person because of my experiences in communities of color, and particularly by serving in a Black-led organization. I hope this playlist adds to your enjoyment of music, and your connection with the music leads to support of the work of the artists.
Listen to Tyler’s 30th Anniversary Playlist (warning: explicit language): https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3GyXAe02JXE9SwpVDLVJVL?si=LDwfRTxQTRKLBDhfKUpG9A
This post was written by Tyler Nylen.