Published Aug 26, 2016Portland rock band Black Pussy have drummed up a great deal of discussion in Calgary's music scene regarding their controversial band name, which many see to have racist and sexist undertones (the name is said to be a reference to the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar," a song about raping slaves). The group recently had a show at the Palomino cancelled after community groups complained about the booking, but it's back on at the Distortion nightclub.
The show is taking place on September 17, and the Distortion venue shared a lengthy statement in an attempt to defend its choice to book the band:
We want to be respectful to those who voiced their concerns about the name "Black Pussy". We also want to recognize that art and music is an opportunity to express oneself, allow for conversation, and provide a mode for coping in this challenging world. We want to provide a safe and inclusive space for people of all backgrounds to have an opportunity to enjoy art, music, and express themselves in a positive way. With mindful thought and much discussion, Distortion together with Metalheads United, Voxx Promotions, True Rhythm, Thrive Music YYC, The General Connection, Heroes & Villains, High Voltage Variety Hour, Sideshow Punx, Binski, Absolute Underground have decided to come collectively to present you Black Pussy featuring Nikki Valentine & the Gypsy Riders, Blackbird Electric, Jezus Chrysler & guest.
The members of Black Pussy are our friends. They assert that their band name is not intended to be derogatory. There will be no discrimination, racism, sexism or stereotyping welcome at our establishment. We appreciate respectful, meaningful and sensitive dialogue about what this band name means to you individually, and ask that each individual is allowed a safe space to engage.
We want each individual to feel heard and respected, and urge discussion to be accepting, welcoming and inclusive. We also want to be mindful that some individuals may feel triggered or angered by the name, and we want to respect you. We also want to be mindful that some individuals enjoy this music and feel that the band name is another example of art and freedom of expression. We want to respect all sides to this conversation, and hope that we can all come together as a broader community, in an effort to reduce sexism, racism, and "othering", and have a safe community, together.
The initial Black Pussy show was protested by the Society for the Advocacy of Safer Spaces (SASS) and the Femme Wave music festival. While neither party has spoken up about the new booking just yet, we'll update if they release a statement.