A few weeks ago, I saw an amazing Facebook post that really struck me.
Not because it was funny, or drama-filled, or anything like that. It wasn’t a “normal” Facebook post.
It was Brandon Cunningham’s post about being a Black man who likes rock music.
It made me realize that, as much as systemic racism is an issue, it’s almost ignored in the rock world.
Many bands are making statements that they are allies, and that’s great – but how many BIPOC are in rock bands? We’re talking about a genre that was created by Black artists. Yet now Black artists are almost non-existent in the rock world.
Listen now to hear Brandon’s thoughts about bringing change in the rock scene and beyond, and how allies can help bring change to the world.
What you’ll learn:
Click here to join the discussion in our Facebook community.
Crips and Bloods: Made In America
Living Colour (Cult of Personality)
Welcome to Episode 30 of the Bandhive Podcast.
It is time for another episode of the Bandhive podcast. My name is James Cross, and today I do not have with me, Matt Hose or Aaron generous. Instead, I have brand Cunningham of quite a F, and this is going to be a very important episode for everyone in the rock scene to here and really think about in Soak In. And I wanna make this clear that Brandon is not a guest being interviewed on this podcast.
He is a co host of this podcast today because this is not my topic to talk about. This is a podcast, so you can't see. But Brandon is a black man who is the front man of quiet F, and that's unusual in the rock scene these days, and that's what we're gonna talk about. Brandon shared amazing Facebook Post the other day. And that's what started this conversation, essentially because I realized that voices like yours Brandon, are not being heard. So if you have anything to add to that intro, please go for it.
But otherwise, if you want to give a bit of background about what spurred that Facebook post, take it away. This is your episode. Thank you, James. What's up? Everybody, like James said, I'm Brandon cunning hand leasing or quiet A F. And, um, what started that Facebook post? It was something that's been like building in my body as long as I can remember, And it didn't really come up to the surface the way that it did, until I saw all the things that was going on in the world.
As we all know what's going on. The racial tension that has erupted is something that has not erupted, is just simply has been revealed in a much grander scale than it ever has been. And when I was watching all that go down the day that George Floyd was murdered as messed up as it is, my reaction was darn another one, because it's so common, it's so common. It here that you almost become desensitized to it all, and not out of, like, annoying. It's not annoying news. It's disheartening news.
It's tragic news. It's it is earth shatteringly just awful news to hear. And for one's own mental health, it's a lot of taken, especially when it's so common. So a defense mechanism for people like me who has heard this news forever. It's not always outraged. It's always just darn it happened again. But this time was different. This time was different, as I'm sure it was for a lot of people, because we've seen people get up in arms about the unjust death of a black person on the news.
But it's usually like a flash in the pan, a trendy thing. It's always like the hottest topic to get into, like everyone's gonna dawn there, black lives matter shirts and and everyone's gonna play Tupac on there on their stereos and, like, get really, really into it. And then, like what? A few weeks ago, by like when I'm Travon Martin got killed, like all those years ago. I remember that being a big deal, but it felt like Onley a few weeks. It felt like it was the talks.
We saw the court case. You know, all those things happening. We saw that build up. And then when it got to the ruling, same old, same old, back to normal. But this time I saw a complete difference. It's something felt different, and I felt different about it. I was scrolling through Instagram, seeing, um, the cry of fan basic it get up in arms. But that wasn't unusual. Our fan base is really, really progressive, and they're really into political issues. And one not so That was surprising for me, but I saw everyone else getting up in arms and hit me.
It's not that I wasn't feeling it because I separated myself from the black community. It was more or less the fact that I was pushed out of the black community. And so since I felt I was pushed out, when it comes to stuff like this, I would usually like just back away once again. Not out of like, animosity. No, no, it is just that it felt like, well, that affects me, but I guess it doesn't affect me fully. I don't know, it was weird, but this one was different.
And as I was seeing all these beautiful black people, like, say something and like seeing them just go off. And this is like people who I usually don't see make paragraphs on Facebook like these people who might say, like like a few or two things, or share a few memes here and there. But they're like, making, like, big, big paragraphs and saying something, and I got inspired by that. But it wasn't something that I forced or I'm like, Oh, man, they're saying something. How I want to say something.
It started off from from an instagram posts that I made on the quiet if instagram story. It was, ah, few slides of me and a bunch of text and it was me starting within myself to find the anger that I was keeping bottled up inside for so long I didn't even know I didn't even know that I was doing it. I thought I was just annoyed by the fact that I've heard, Uh ha, you're doing white stuff, you know, like all my life, like I got used to it.
So it was more of a pester thing. But when I made that that on Instagram story, And I was like typing out all my emotions that I was feeling. It was me saying, admitting to the fact that I used to numb myself to all of this, I would shut out any type of news because I'm like, I don't wanna hear it. It's not gonna change. Why get route of about it? If nothing is going to change, why am I going to let it affect my whole day?
My whole week, my whole month? Why am I gonna do that? Doesn't make any sense. But I said in that post that I'm not knowing myself this time because I saw the change that was happening. And it's all because off generation Z, it wasn't because of my generation. Like my generation, I almost considered like us like failures in a sense, and it's not really our fault either were dealt a very, very crappy hand. Way grew up in this world, and we're taught all the rules off this world and then come to find out that everything that we learned and all the skills that we were building up to, we're off for a world that ceased to exist something happened around like 2012.
Some say, you know, that that was the end of the world. I'm on that team. I'm on Team 2012 was the end of the world. It wasn't the big catastrophic thing that the mines predicted, or so people who have decipher that the mines predicted. But it was definitely the end of humanity. People started to care less. Things became a lot more soulless, especially in the entertainment industry. And, you know, I'm not dumb. I know the entertainment industry has always been about money, but it felt like the pursuit for that money was more souls than ever has been.
And that was like 2012, all the way up to the 2015, maybe even 17. But yeah, my generation was dealt a very, very, very crafty hand. And not only that, we were told to suck it up. That's how it always was. It just seems like that because you were a kid and we were like, That's bullcrap! And we did fight that, the whole notion. But we fought in a very different different time. My college years and my formative young adult years and everyone in my age bracket, we were a generation of complete nihilism.
We're like nothing matters. Why should we act like it matters? We're going to do whatever we want. It's over this defeated sense. But we're laughing about it since and you saw all these memes like all these nihilistic memes blow up on Facebook and Twitter, and it's it's how we gained a sense of new community. It wasn't a community and sense of hope. It was a community drenched in an acceptance and dread. But we're like, Hey, why worry about it? It's how it is. It is what it is, and we're gonna roll with it, and it's easy to make fun of the generation that's like next.
After you, it's easy. Every generation has done it before, and nothing changed between millennial versus Zoomer. But since I have dove deep into the world of the Zoomer because I had Thio, because that's what Tic Tac is. Tic Tac is that generation. So I had to, you know, dive into that which I'm so grateful for because I was on the path to being just the regular angry millennial. I was on that path. Everything sucks nothing is the same. They don't know thes kids don't know anything about anything.
I was on that path very, very, very like sliding down it. But when we started to grow a fan base through tick tock and we started to, like, interact with our fans and also just seeing just take, like as it is, this sense of hope grew from that because I was seeing all these brilliantly creative and outgoing kids doing whatever they want to do. But they stood for something. They saw all these injustices and all these unfair things. And instead of saying that sucks, we're not going to care about it.
They did the complete opposite. They said, This sucks, and we're going to do everything that we can to change it. And that emotion carries on into this beautiful movement that we're seeing right now. It's all because of Generation Z and the fact that they saw what we went through, and we're like, you know, we don't want that at all. So my generation, I believe, is the last to fall for any type of trick that the government and the powers that be were pulling for centuries. An example of that actually was when we saw what happened with Jeffrey Epstein, the usual old way was what they did.
Oh, no. He he killed himself. Darn. Ah, we really wanted to see his list, but he's he killed himself. Nothing we can do generations he saw that and they were like, Wait, but that doesn't make sense. They did all the sleuthing and with the Epstein didn't kill himself a meme everyone, you know, joking about it. But that came from a reality. It came from a sense of You're not telling us the truth, and we're not gonna let you try to pull the wool over our eyes anymore.
The old ways don't work anymore. My generation was the last generation to like, be fooled. This generation is not gonna be fooled. And that's exciting. Because when the whole world understands what's been going on, what is behind the smoking mirrors that you got? You have changed brewing, and that's exactly what we're seeing. And that's what made me made the Instagram Post saying I was numb, But I'm not gonna be numb anymore. And I'm gonna say what I want to say and I'm gonna say that the black people are done being killed people color done being killed.
Minorities are done being shunned. We will see justice heads are gonna roll. And I didn't care who heard me. I didn't care who heard me. I even say it on this broadcast You here in the world until proven notice until justice is served a c A B all cops are bastards. That is the story that is the reality. And until it's proven wrong, that's how it was going to be and not to give you a spoiler. The world. But that's not gonna happen. That's not gonna be proven otherwise.
The police system. It's based in systematic racism. It is that is where it grew from. That is the root. And if the root is the root, then guess what? That's the whole plan. That's the tree that is the tree that is the same tree that our people were hung on its that tree. So no, all cops are bastards. That's what it is. And it feels good to be on the right side of history. It feels good to not be quiet. It feels good. Thio have that all out in the open and people are hearing me say it, Ah, person who has always said, I don't care about politics I don't wanna hear about politics because it's all just a bunch of contradictory hypocrisy all around.
But this is not, ah, political issue. This is a human rights issue. This is about humanity, not politics. So I'm going to keep voicing this until I am right in the face. Oh man, that was great. I think so many people don't realize what you just said because I always hear the excuse. Oh, I don't follow politics. And what you said is absolutely right. It's not political because politics is money and laws and all kinds of stuff like that. All that you're basically saying is people should be decent human beings to every other human being.
And that's all that black lives matters about is black people should be treated with the human decency that they deserve. That's really what it comes down. Thio Bingo! And to everyone who is shouting, all lives matter, all lives matter. Shut up, Shut up! Because I know that's not coming from a place off sincerity that is coming from a place off despondency. That's coming from a place of like I don't I don't know about all that. It's a scapegoat. It's easy. Way out. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
When you say all lives matter, you're trying to include yourself And it's not about you. It's not about you. It's not about you. Also, all lives matter. Show me the receipts. Show me where there's proof of this whole all lives matter because I'm sure you, my receipts and much smarter people than I can show you a larger ah, larger amount of receipts. So, no, At this point, all lives do not matter because in the eye of the powers that be black lives don't matter. People call it don't matter.
Hispanics don't matter. Any minority does not matter. We are numbers. If anything, and if we aren't numbers, then we're something way below that. So no, all lives right now. Don't matter. That's one of the things to that many people don't realize is that they make that statement which is obviously so hurtful without thinking about what am I saying here when I say this, because it really comes down to saying, Well, if all lives matter when somebody says that they're just dismissing it because they don't understand. And so that's why I'm going to shut up and let you keep talking here.
Your Post went on to talk about the history of rock and roll and how the scene has changed so much. If you go back and think about Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix in the you know fifties sixties seventies, they were the pioneers of rock. And then you saw the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and all the other white bands come in and take over. I would have to say the last super prominent black artist I can think of who was in the rock world or pop world would be Michael Jackson.
Since then, all the prominent black artists, at least that I can think of off the top of my head are in hip hop. If you could go into more detail about that because I think you have a lot to say on that boy, do I, James boy do I s O with history of rock and roll. That narrative has always just been so messy. It's always been so messed up, but the way that it had has been portrayed toe where that I think I realized that black people invented rock and roll.
I think I was in college when I was in communications and we learned that black artists came onto the scene, got discovered, but everyone was like, Oh, no black people music? No, but they couldn't lie there like, but it is good. I'm not gonna say it's good, but it's good. So since we don't want them to be portrayed, what can we do? What can we do? Incomes, Elvis. Now I'm gonna be different when it comes to the Elvis debate. Ah, lot of people have a lot of anger when we're talking about Elvis Presley.
I don't hold that same anger because when it comes to the music that he wanted to make, I do feel like Alex. In the beginning, it came from a place of genuineness. He just wanted to make that music because he liked it. I don't think it came from a place of Oh, I'm gonna get one on them. Just you wait. That was the powers that be. Those were the producers. Those were the record executive. Those were the ones who who wanted to to steal it. I don't think Elvis wanted to do that.
And I see a lot of quotes of him saying that of him giving them like they're props and why not? So when it comes to that was Presley debate. I'm always on the side up. I don't think he wanted to steal it, but back to them. So so many artists were coming up and the music industry just saw dollar signs so they would legitimately steal the Black Artists song, Give it to the white man on payroll, and then they'll they'd unfunny if I it take away all the flavor out of it and then put it in the jukebox and and that was messed up.
But I don't know why it took so long for me to realize that that was history. It's not taught. It isn't because you asked a black person Hey, where rock come from, they're gonna say, Oh, that's man that came from the white man that came from Elvis or a good bit of black people will say that rock can write people because their history is not being taught to them. It's super duper said it wasn't until I did research and not even looking for the answers. I just wanted to just find out more things.
And then I just came to that conclusion. So yeah, you know Chuck Berry And then later on Jimi Hendrix and after Jimmy, I'm going to cite Prince. Prince was the last prominent black man in in Iraq since, and I pretty much just got into Prince. I'm 26 years old. I just got into Prince. He's always been around me, but I was a MJ fan. I was a diehard Michael Jackson fan from age six. So it's always the who is better Michael Jackson or Prince. And my dad was a prince man, but he he wasn't gonna try to change my mind.
He saw me doing all the Michael Jackson spends and moonwalking, and he was like, I'm not gonna get through that kid. I saw Purple Rain for the first time Ah, few months back and that movie changed me so so many ways. It opened my eyes to the absolute just brilliance Just god like sense of a man Prince was purple Rain. If you have who anyone who is listening to this. If you have not watched Purple Rain, you have to watch it. It is important. It's so important.
And me looking at Prince looking at Purple Rain era prince I saw something else and no one has said I think on Facebook I might be the first person to say this ever m. O came from Prince. Everything that m o does. Prince did the eyeliner, the through she hair. If you look at Purple Rain, there's so much like Ga Thickness to it. There's such a like, dark, brooding and the character of the kid they was playing. He was just rooted and angst and anguish And also like mad mad sexuality, which also look at em.
Oh, look at Gerard way. Look at Brendan. Yuri, look at, um, Jared Leto, 30 seconds to Mars. Look at all these, like just emotional pretty boys. It all came from Prince and no one talks about it. I found that I was just watching Purple Rain and I'm like man. Yet another thing that the black people completely did. But no one's given any props to. They'll say that Prince was a great guitarist, but they'll stop there. They'll stop there like Prince is like, Ah, pop star. It is not a lie.
It's not untrue. He does make pop music, but as a rock star, he's so much more. I did not know that people like Oh yeah, prince, he could play guitar. But no, like that boy is a guitar God. And he did all on the highest heels, jumping from the highest highest peaks and just jumping straight on those heels like it was nothing Fuck to anyone's listening. That really destroyed a princes later years jumping off high things in heels. It wasn't a good idea, but you couldn't tell them an otherwise that man has.
You couldn't tell prison Studio, No one on Earth ever told present to Dio it couldn't be done. That man was unmovable which indeed diddly to his untimely death. But in a way, so yeah, Prince was the last one. And, um, I myself wish that I could name Mawr, prominent black artists in the rock world. But even I can't There's so much more to discover because this is basically untapped. It's, like, so rare, and it shouldn't be. And I didn't feel like it was so big Black people in the alternative scene until quiet f got acts to play this show in Atlanta, hosted by punk Black to anyone who does not know what punk black is.
I'm not spokesman, so I'm probably gonna do them nearly as much justice as they need to be done. But punk black is just this community, this beautiful community that not just shines a light on the black alternative. It is the light. It is the spotlight because it's just showing off the beautiful art of the black people be in fashion, being any music, beaten, being in writing, be it be in film. It's all there. It's all all there and that ISS still probably the best show that we've ever played because the love that we felt was unlike anything.
Well, I think that's really cool. That punk Black is doing that in Atlanta, but I have to say, I haven't heard anything similar to that. Do you know of any other organizations throughout the country that are doing similar things? I really can't punk Black, I think, is the biggest one. It can't be the only one. I'm sure there's more out there, but punk black is the only one that I am aware off. Yeah, which I think is really unfortunate because I've never heard of them before. I've never heard of any other similar organization.
Case in point right there shows that black punk music is not getting out there. Now I can think of a handful of bands who have black members, or I think there's only one band I can think of that is entirely made up of black people. And that's like, how many thousands of bands are there in the US? It's crazy if you want to before we move on, can you go into a little more detail about what was so special about that show and what really gave you that connection?
That feeling of love from the audience? Man, I've never felt that much genuine support. No one was looking at networking things no one was looking at like Oh, yeah, this is really gonna boost our whatever. It just was a shared love for just music and existing God, all the crowd. The crowd was so giving, and I think that's the case, because as a black person as black people, we don't see that we don't see black alternative artist just killing it. We don't see it. It's not a thing.
We don't see it on TV. We don't see it on the way we don't hear on the radio and we definitely don't see it in our community. Our schools forget about it. Nah, not gonna happen. Our neighborhoods Jesus Christ, No, that's that. It's It's not even a thing. So if I could compare what punk black is, it's like what anime conventions are or any type of like G culture convention and the love you feel there. It's explosive, whoever a part of it, like it's in a building that is being held in its on the street, outside a building that's being held in its at the McDonald's.
That's across the street for the building that is being held in because when you go to an anime convention or we're going to any type of comic con, you're being able to express what you can express on a regular day or, if you do get it, maybe it's probably online. It's probably on some type of forum, some type of fan like, you know, share thing, So, like, where would I make inventions. It's like that, and that's what punk black feels like. Punk Black is like a black Adam a convention, but it's like just this alternative, and it's everything.
It's, you know, it's pop, punk and hip hop. It's metal. It's grunge. It's everything. God, it's everything. It's everything because tongue black does not discriminate. They just want to uplift the black people who just want to express themselves poor, different. And that's what people don't get. Is that like as a black person, we're different in so many ways, we think different. And the sad thing is that we think different and we can't get it out because it's not gonna be accepted. Yeah, you have to fall into some stuff a category.
Elaine, as I say. It's like you fall into a certain lane and just gotta drive that If you veer in any other direction, that's straight up in that lane. It's bad. It's bad. The authorization that goes on in the black community. It's gonna roll. It's bad, it's it's deep, it's deep. That sounds a little bit like What you were saying is that you've experienced a lot of people who would say, Oh, you act like a white person. It sounds like that is part of what you're mentioning here, but obviously other people of it sounds like from your post.
All races have said that, but it seems like in your community that's part of what you referred to in your post as the racist blueprint that has been essentially laid down over centuries. Yes, when I made that post, I was saying things that I didn't know where it came from. I shared my dad, my dad. He's a major activist. He's super duper into like human rights and all that stuff that he's always known about that He's super duper well versed in that. And I was happy to show him that post because he was like, Man, you're paying more attention to me than I thought he was so proud toe that post anyway.
So the race of blueprint, like we discussed with Rock, what happened is the white people saw it and they stole it. Man, that's a lot of white stories, and that that's a lot of white stories, like a lot, just like they saw something. They wanted it. They took it and said, This is ours get out now. I don't know a lot about black history. I'm not gonna lie about that. But basically the racist blueprint that was laid out, it came from the white people seeing what the black people are doing and being super jealous, like super jealous because they're not gonna give them props.
No, no, God knows that does not give them props. So instead of praise, anger, hatred, those emotions that air felt and if they don't steal what they're jealous of, they just kill it. They just kill it, They break it, they destroy it. And one of the biggest examples of this, which I can't believe I did not know about the growing up, the torching off black Wall Street. Now, I don't know a lot about the details, but basically with Black Wall Street, it was just the black people owning things big things like businesses, cars just owning everything.
And they were flourishing. They were flourishing. And the white people saw that and they were like, Oh, heck, no, Absolutely not. And what did they dio? Well, kids, they burned it down. They torched it. It was ashes to there was nothing and probably did even worth two people who were part of Black Wall Street. And I think stuff like that affected the culture so much that generations just taught all generations, uh, don't go outside the box, they'll just burn it down. So I think it came from just like mothers and fathers having to tell their kids this having to Not because they didn't want their kids to do whatever it is they wanted to dio They did not want to see their kids killed for just being creative.
And so they said, Hey, knock that off. Uh, none of that. And so the reason for we got lost in time, Why is the community saying Don't be creative? It got lost. It just became, uh, that's whack. That's corny. That's lame. Uh, alright, what was doing? Drawing man. Man, Man, man, man. Come on, man. Guy grew up so unknowingly, the culture is doing what the white people wanted in the first place. And that was to destroy growth in the black community. The seeds were planted in so many ways.
I mentioned rock music. I mentioned Black Wall Street and just like the drug epidemic that happen like crack, crack didn't come from the hood. Crack was created, crack was made, and then they planted it in the hood because they knew it was gonna happen. And then they said, Well, the reason for it. What? Oh, the crack epidemic dog. All those those damn black people. Uh, all they dio all they know how to do is tow is toe. Just just be junkies and just destroy everything. You made the crack, sir.
You made it. You made the crack, and then you gave it. It was all a trap and another way that the white man, like you know, destroyed the black community. The white man is a complete reason for the Crips and the Bloods, which is one of the most notorious rivalries in history. And I didn't even know this. And to anyone who wants to know more history of Christian blood because I'm most certainly not that historian, I highly recommend watching the documentary Crips and Bloods like it was called Made in America.
So long story short, the Christian bloods. I forgot who was first, but it was first to uplift the community. If you believe that that it was originally supposed to like be fighting against the white man, but through mess up occurrences that I don't even know of it turned into rivalry. And so whatever, Whatever thing they were fighting about with the white people, that was null and void. Because we gotta worry about that other side. And I said I got we got word about that other side completely forgetting about what even started it all in the first place.
That is a narrative and so many stories about the destruction of the black man growth. It's forgetting what you were doing in the first place. It's forgetting why you did it. And that's that racist blueprint. You don't even know it. But you're doing exactly what White men before these white men planet All along, they sat in the room and said, We're gonna make sure that the black man fail it. Every cost And the best part is we won't even have to do anything anymore. We're gonna do like one thing.
And that one thing is gonna cause a chain reaction to where that we could just sit in our comfy chairs in our big houses and watch the black men bite each other. It's gonna be great. And it worked. Coming from my standpoint where I can obviously never understand this, it seems like it boils down. Thio generations off self preservation have taught black people like you said not to go outside the box going forward the Onley way. It seems to me, at least and again, obviously, I could never understand this.
To heal your community is for those generations of essentially a self defense mechanism to be unlearned. Yeah. How do you see that coming about? Is that something that you think is starting now? Has it already started? Or is that something that needs a catalyst? Just like George Floyd's murder a few weeks ago was the catalyst for these protests. Do you think there's going to be another catalyst that really opens things up and starts to undo the generations of essentially psychological damage that have been done? Yeah, To answer your question, it definitely has started.
And I think it was like a few years in the making with it that happening. But we're gonna have to be done. Is that Yeah, it's gonna have to be on taught, and it's I don't know if it's gonna be the old folks. I think there's gonna have to just sit and watch the change happen. They're not gonna be the change. The youth is always gonna be the change. And the young black kids, they're seeing a different world. They're seeing different trends. They're seeing more outside the box things.
But what's the key? The key is for this to not be a trend, it can't be a gimmick. It can't be a novelty because that's what it always falls under. Some of y'all in the rock world, you might know No, a song called The Cult of Personality by a black rock group Living in color. You know, that's pretty good Song did pretty good numbers, but it was looked at as a novelty. What's gonna have toe happen is that when a black man gets prominence, don't make him being black.
The headline. That's not what it is. That's what's always messed up. It's always like we got a new rock. Art is coming up into the scene and you're not gonna believe this, but he's a black person. Whoa, keep reading. It's a step right up. Step right up. Don't be shy. Don't be shy. Watch this black man on guitar and sound exactly like a white man. Whoa! Yes! We need to dio right this way. Right this way. It's a circus act. They always into a circus act like Whoa, he's black and playing music.
That's insane! Kill that stigma! Stop that. Stop making at the headline. I'm a proud black man, but I don't need you to tell people that I'm a proud black man. I'll do that my goddamn self. I don't need an article to say Whoa, Black man Artists lead punk bait. Get that out of my face. No, no, I don't need you to tell me. I don't need you to tell people that I'll do it myself. You need to hold our hands and put a spotlight on us. Stop that immediately.
Stop that! That is what's going to have it be Mawr accepted is when it stops being this extravagant grand thing off His black person did this. That made me think of something. I don't recall ever seeing the headline. White rapper Eminem or white rapper M g K does X y Z. It's just assumed that it's normal. So skipping down on our outline here a little bit. Do you feel worried that the same thing that happens in the rock world could be happening in the hip hop world as well?
I used to feel that way. I was like, Oh, man, Oh, oh raps going to the white people Oh, here we go. That was a fear that was felt like we're gonna say during the McLemore years And I wanted to be said I have no ill will towards McLemore. This is just a fact that they should light on him like Mega mega big. And, um, I don't want to say it wasn't deserved. That's not fair, but yeah, In the mainstream main main mainstream, whoever white was wrapping was, um, probably going to get the spotlight hotter on them.
But that fear is definitely gone. The hip hop community is thriving, and, uh, it hasn't driving for so many years. But what was interesting is how much white people was just fell in love. Hip hop this like like the first generation to fully fully grow up with hip hop like fully before. This time, white people have always liked black music. That's let's kill that idea that once upon a time white people didn't like black. That's no, no, no, no. Look at look at the crowds that Chuck Berry drew.
Look at the crowds. The Temptations grew. No, no. White people have always little black music and always little black culture. They just were shamed out of it. So anyway, this is the first generation to like, fully grown with hip hop Soto. Where that, uh, let's say, back in my 2002, if a white person was heavily into hip hop, they probably call him a wigger. It's like you use trying to be black and somewhere somewhere. I can't deny that there was definitely folks out there living the Malibu's most wanted life.
But as far as like genuine curiosity and genuine love, this is like the first generation toe, like, really just be able to embrace it. So where hip hop, the audience went like completely white, twere that it was, ah, bigger occurrence. Have a white kid say that their favorite artist is a rapper more than is a rock star like rock has almost died completely in the white people in terms of the mainstream, because hip hop took over and that's good for hip hop. I wanted you all to be clear that all my Facebook post I said that one of the lanes for a black person was toe.
You're also gonna be a basketball player. Are you gonna be a gangster rap rapper? I want to be said that I freaking love gangster rap. I love hip hop. I love hip hop. So I'm not saying that that's a bad thing to say. That's the cool thing. No, not at all. But to say that's the Onley things that you're good for. That is where the problem comes when you're not given a choice. When you have this stigma put on you by whoever whoever any type of like stigma or stereotype given to you, man, that's heavy.
That's heavy. Stop that. But yeah, I'm not worried about hip hop being white dominated that Z if that was gonna happen, that is dead now that is dead now because there's so many great new hip hop acts who are rooted in the roots of what is hip hop and the culture a lot, lot ours out there are for the culture. Yeah, so essentially it seems like the glue is there, And the artists who developed the genre have their name in the history books of hip hop, and that's not going to change.
So I'm really glad that's your take on it. I have to admit, personally, I'm almost clueless about the hip hop world, so I'm really glad that probably for the first time ever, black people will get to stay associated with the music that they have created. You were talking about Chuck Berry again and how people have always loved that even, you know, jazz and the blues going back so far. So it's over and over again. This has happened, and I really hope that this is starting to break the cycle that you know, because there's always gonna be new music and there's gonna be a new genre.
It happens what, every 10, 15 years or so, there is the new big thing. So I hope that the next new big thing will also be something that black people can keep their roots in and keep their claim for Yes, that's really what it comes down to is the credit. I think people should be able to make whatever music that they want to and I'm sure you agree with this, but give credit where credit is due. That's how I see it. You know, going further into what you're doing.
Essentially in the rock world is reintroducing black people to rock music. And, you know, we've talked about some examples again. There's only a handful that I can think of right now. How has the rock community as a whole dealt with you coming in as the front man of Quiet A. F. I sincerely hope that it's been nothing but positive. But that kind of wrenching feeling in my gut tells me it's probably been challenging for you. Well, actually, the overall reaction has all been positive in terms of if my races, like, brought up, it's not like the things like, Man, it's so cool that a black person is doing this like I've got messages like that.
All nice ones, too, like and the other reason why, like I felt like a knee jerk reaction to it. What? Because I didn't want to, you know, fall under the category. I don't want what I was doing to get lost into the color of my skin, which another reason why people might have thought that Brandon is not proud to be a black person. Just because I don't talk about in every sentence does not mean I hide it. It's not what it is because before the activism bug bit me, I just wanted to be Brandon.
That is what I wanted to do because I don't want to be Brandon the black man. I don't want to be Brandon the upright black man. I didn't want any of these things. I just want to be Brandon at the end of the day, and that is what it has been. I was definitely, like, worried that I was going thio be like, looked at as like Oh, look at that. Oh, there is a famous name famous name that went around long for years, the text would say, on the top end quote or whatever.
Like when someone says, it's cool, I have a black friend and then it says, uh, the black friend Colon. And it's a picture of like a skinny black kid with like, you know, like email hair like eyeliner. And what not just saying, Ha ha, that's not a real black person awful mean by the way that's a terrible stigma, or once again goes about two stereotypes and and taking the race out of someone you don't know. It's messed up, but I did not face that. I don't face that.
Ah, great story. So one of the coolest shows that we did back in the beginning, a Ages of Quiet, is that we played this event called Homegrown, posted by Sly. It's, uh, at House of Blues in New Orleans. And, uh, it's a showcase of all of the local acts in New Orleans. Showcase the best of New Orleans or whatever, and I met Sly and an event we linked up. I talked about my band. Who is he excited and it was booked. So we're looking at at the line up.
It's all hip hop backs were the only, like, basically, like rock act like full on Band Rock act the rest of hip hop. Since I grew up being religiously like made fun off by like black kids about what I liked, how I dressed, I was feeling a tenseness. I was like, Oh, boy, like I saw flashes of us playing and they're gonna be like, man, get off the stage now. What is this man? Not not it. This ain't it. That didn't happen. It was overwhelmingly positive. Like everyone that came out to us.
Like I said, that was what the best show they've ever been to. This dude came up to me like, Yo, man, that was a rock star Shit right there. And I'm like, This is amazing. So, yeah, I haven't been judged from my race. Really? To my knowledge, in terms of being the front man of my band, if a racist brought up, it's usually like someone saying Finally, Finally, like a group of white men following a black person or something like that, there is happy to see that effect.
I did not feel my my responsibility until I started seeing fan outreach. That's why I started feeling my responsibility. Like I may have got bitten by the radioactive spider. But Uncle Ben didn't die yet. I didn't die on the spot. A man's suit, yet That didn't happen until I was seeing these other black kids like commenting and messaging me like Thank dude is so awesome. I didn't think we could do this. I didn't know this is the thing that we could Dio I've always loved music. I've always a follow boy, but I couldn't talk about it with anybody because I'm black, So you killing it is awesome.
I became an inspiration for a lot of black kids who felt the way I felt when I was, like, 10, 15. Whatever I'm like Oh, OK, I do gotta start saying, Hey, what's up? I'm bread and I'm black And this house is going to be that stopped being like Brandon just wants to be known as Brandon like Yes, Brandon wants to know is Brandon. But I also wanna say all these do all these black kids. Yo, you can do this and not on Lee, Can you do this? But you're going to do it better than everyone that inspired you like you're going to do it better because, like anyone gonna fight me on this, anyone can find me on this.
This isn't a competition, is just flag like black people do what black people created better than anyone who got inspired by it. That's why when whatever the band that was being accepted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the night that Prince stormed the stage and played the solo greatly did. By the way, you have to look at that. But yeah, the reason why Prince was like the last great guitarist and any guitars will tell you that is because we do. It's better. Why? Because we made it.
It's in our blood. You can't take the flavor out of us. You can't like you can't artificially make funk. You can be inspired by funk. You can live funk. You could listen Thio every bunk artists on the library. But you're not gonna be able to make fuck better than Bootsy Freaking Collins. It can't be done. It can't be done. And you shouldn't feel bad about that. That is how it is. That's just innate. And the Mawr black kids understand that rock is in them. We're going to see some insane things when there's not just Brandon Cunningham, but when there's Ah, bunch hundreds, thousands of Brendan Cunningham, like people like people who aren't ashamed about what they like, how they dress, what they're into.
If they're related or not, it's not gonna matter. It's not gonna matter, but it's going to take the knowing and the acceptance that they can, because I had to grow to see me get validated. I had to grow to see it. I had to go through trials and errors. I had to be made fun of relentlessly. And I'm telling you to any black kid listening to this or or watching it or whatever. I don't know. But like, if you're listening to this, understand? You can do anything, Anything.
I'm not even talking about music at this point. If you wanna be a cartoonist, if you wanna be an architect, just do it. You can do it. You know what I want to tell you? You can. You don't have to fall into a category. You don't have to have a safety net. Life is yours. Live it how you wanna live? My generation, The generation before me, we got shit on. You don't have to. You don't have to. You don't gotta go to the same trials and errors.
You don't gotta go see the same playbook like our lives. Isn't an instructional guide or a living black for dummies book like you don't have to follow any blueprint that was set. You could make the blueprint. I'm making the blueprint. I hated my options. I hated them. It's like, Oh, yeah, Grow up at sea, maybe do some behind the scenes film work. Oh, and if if that doesn't work, I don't know move up in the business world stick Gross. No, If you don't wanna do that, don't do it.
Don't do it. Just don't And everyone around you, everyone around you is gonna say you're gonna have to grow up sometime was like, one of these days you're gonna have to put on the big boys shoes. I'm gonna try to make this be the only only f bomb. So my boy James don't have to edit a bunch of F bombs. So here's my he did. That's an F bomb. Fuck those shoes. Fuck the big boys shoes. Okay, okay, too. But, like forget all that, man, You know anything you want and this isn't the You can do anything you want.
This isn't like a mom telling their four year old kid while they're like play with Teddy Bear. You could be anything you want. No, I'm saying, like if you put in the work, if you do the homework, if you are dedicated, you can achieve anything you want. It's always going to take Always keep learning Don't be afraid to adapt Don't be afraid of change Because whatever thing you're learning, guess what fam is gonna change in less than five years. It used to be 10 years. Forget that we're way to advance.
We're way to evolve. Things change. Sometimes things change as fast as a month. Let's take this whole pandemic. For example, Before the pandemic we're going to concerts were going to shows live events and my boy waffle waffle Bordelon Also awful borderline photography on Instagram My best friend he has been into into the future psyche for as long as I can remember. He's always making predictions and I think they wanted to quiet. To do is like, Yo, man, at some point you're gonna do, like, awesome, like hologram shows or something, or incorporate some type of being able to be at your house or anywhere you want, but to experience quiet f whenever you want on some VR type stuff.
And I signed really, really cool. It wasn't out of the ordinary, you know, like just few years back we saw hologram Tupac, you know, and I was like hologram Madonna. Apparently, it doesn't mean a whole hologram. Abba Tor, that's insane. But the point is that one point that was just a gimmick. That was just a cool idea. But Post living in Corona life, so many bands are already looking into digital shows. And the idea of going out to see a band has become it's getting out of here.
We're in the same year. Y'all we have anything on past the year. This is a month and the whole thing changed and Waffle knew that it was gonna change. He know how is gonna change. But he knew that something's gonna change the way that we consume media and the way that we experience things. And so, yeah, that's an example. One example that came on top of my head off how fast things change. So when you're learning your stuff when you're doing your homework, when you're putting all working, understand that it can change.
But what's going to separate you is when you understand that if you understand it, okay, what I'm doing could change any money. You have to be ready to adapt. You get ready to go with it. go with the flow. Don't fight Change. That is where you lose. Like just adapt. Just keep adapting. That's how you're going to make it so yes to any kids listening to this Anyone my age do this. Okay, What age you are. Because growth is not an age thing. Growth is just whoever is listening and wants to do it.
Any age person. Anyone listening, you could do whatever you want. You're not stuck. You aren't stuck. You could get out of it. I can't tell you how to get out of it because I don't know the situation. Shoot. I'm still trying figure out my situation, but all I know is I'm not gonna back down. I'm not going to crack. I'm not going to accept these limits they were given to me. The limits aren't really They don't have to be rial. If you don't want to do it, this stuff don't do it.
That's job. If you don't want to be a restaurant manager, don't be a restaurant manager. Whatever is you don't want to do, don't do it. If your thing is I'm a p a. But I want to be an actor. Hey, man, I can't tell you the road to take because there are no rules to anything. There are examples and there are patterns, definitely. But there is no handbook on how to succeed in life, no matter how pretty The man is on the on the cover that there is no book that's gonna tell you how to succeed in life.
It is trial and error. But just let that be The adventure you're gonna go through like so many days were like Nothing makes sense The world is on fire My world is on fire And it's gonna be days where complete tranquility And that's what it's always gonna be So that anyone who's thinking I'm gonna get to my goal and then everybody is going to be fine You're wrong. Get that out of your head. The fight never ends The grind never ends The growth never ends When you feel like you've made it And there's nothing else Oh, something's coming You about to get a wake up call that you did not schedule S o B ahead of the curve Don't let life slap you in the face Expect the punch but Bob and weave Baby Bob and weave.
It might get you a few times, but shake it off. Life is a boxing match. It's always gonna be a struggle. Don't think it's not gonna be because when when you think that you've made it Oh, boy, Oh, man, that's bad. That's bad. So, yeah, keep going. Whatever it is you're you're doing keep going, friend. That was inspirational. Thank you so much for coming on the show before we close things out. Do you have any parting words that you want to leave the listeners with hay to anyone who's watching this?
If you ever said the words, you're acting white, get those words out of your vocabulary X, that you don't understand how damaging it is, even if you said as a joke, like, Yo, hold up, real talk. Here's someone will talk about being in a group of people and constantly like hearing like Microaggressions or race heavy jokes. And just having toe laugh about it destroys you. You think that you're like, Oh, whatever, I'm in on it. It's fine. It's fine. They're my friends. They don't mean any harm, but it's harming you.
You don't know what it's doing to you Because when you subject yourself to that, you, uh it does things to your well being that can't be solved with psychiatrists. So, like, if you're being subjected to that, if you're being subjected Thio any type of stereotypical joke that you did not want exit cut it at the source like Seo Na na. And if they come at you, forget him. Forget him. That was a sign. It was time. Get rid of them. And if you're the person who makes that joke stop it.
Stop it! Don't listen. Listen, I know you wanna make the watermelon jokes. Don't make the watermelon joke. Stop! Don't do it. Don't, Don't do it. We've heard it. It's not funny. It's just don't make it a habit. Get in the habit of not doing that. Just stop! Stop! Stop doing that! Stop telling black kids that rock is white. Stop telling them that they sound white. Stop telling them that they dress white. Stop it! Stop it! You're going to make them hate themselves. They're gonna have such psychological damage to where, Like they might start hating black people because they don't see themselves as black them so many times throughout their lives to where, like they don't see it and you have size.
And to my black people, that goes for y'all to stop limiting a black man's creativity. Stop doing that. Don't do it at any age. I'm talking to you, old heads to stop that. Stop that. You are destroying the youth. You complain. Oh, man, I don't know was with these kids these days, it's because you fed them bio. You legit, just sprayed acid on their development. And so stop doing that. And that goes into the hole just unlearning the racist blueprint that was put upon the heritage. And once we start doing that and we don't stop doing that, then we're going to see some great things.
I have so much hope in the next years. Next month I've hope, and I've haven't felt this hope since I was a kid. Change is all around us. Be a part of it. It's great. We're having a great time. And on that note, I think we close it out. Awesome. Well, Brandon, thank you. So so much for agreeing to come on the show. And I have to say it was great to hear how much passion you have for this. And obviously it's something that affect you so deeply on.
That's why I wanted you to come on the show because I could just feel that coming from your post on Facebook, which is so rare for a text post to just be giving off on energy like that. So I just I want to say all three of us here at the band I've podcast really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts, because as three white guys running the podcast, we're not diverse at all. And that's an issue, you know, and we want to give people the voice that they need.
So thank you so much for being, hopefully the first of many who will come on this show and really help spread the word about the changes that need to happen in this country. So before we just end the podcast, I don't wanna drop the listeners off without giving them a chance to check out your music. Where can our listeners find you and find your music? Alright, guys. Next only things there is quiet a f on instagram, which is quiet a f underscore official once again. All lower case quiet a f underscore official.
That's on Instagram. It's also on tick tock cry f underscore Official. We're on Spotify were on soundcloud were on Apple music. We have a patryan and all those links air all of in the link trips on the instagram And if you just want to see what old Brandon's doing What he's not doing band stuff? Check me out on the instagram at kid cuisine. That is K I. D d. Cuisine. That way I don't get sued by the cuisine company, but yeah, once again, that is all over Case que i de de cuisine on instagram but also, besides me looking to punk black, y'all punk black.
I'm seeing people share them Or and mawr it's great to see them grow If anyone deserves to grow its them because they're doing so much for the community, It's insane. I'm look up the instagram just in case I don't get it right. I don't wanna leave you all down the wrong path. I'll make sure all these links in the show notes to I know it's a lot of links for people to type in. If you head on over to band. I've got rocks slash 30 That's the number 30 not spelled out or anything like that.
You will have all the links that Brandon has mentioned throughout this entire episode to punk Black Quiet A F That'll be links to Prince and the other artists that we've talked about. In case you're not familiar with their work. It'll be the Wikipedia pages or their music pages. It'll all be there as well, so you can find all the links on that page. Yep, yep. Punk Black, that's all. Lower case, punk, period. Black. That's on Instagram. All the links are on there. They are great. I love them so much.
I wanna give a shout out Thio. My dad, I said I was going to Hey would kill me if I didn't. I want to give a shout out to my dad, John Cunningham. He's the greatest man that ever lived and awesome. He's still living. So, like show him some love when you can. He's the reason why I am what I am and also like. I don't note Yo, man, black brilliance is thriving in so many ways. Just keep looking out all right, that is it for this episode of the Bandhive podcast.
I really hope that what Brandon has had to say in this episode will make you take a breath, sit back and think about what you can do to help be part of the solution rather than being part of the problem. That's all I'm gonna say for this outro. I just want to keep it short and sweet. So what you really remember is the content of this episode what Brandon had to say, just one last thank you to Brandon for coming on and talking to us about this.
Aside from that, we'll be back next Tuesday at 6 a.m. Eastern. Have an awesome week and, of course, as always, keep rocking.
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