Tuesday, 26 April 2011
R.I.P Poly Styrene
I'm sure the news of Poly Styrene's death has reached every last Punk on earth by now. I was aware she was ill, but heard today, late afternoon, via the radio, that she had passed away.
Poly Styrene has inspired nearly everyone I know, most of the bands I listen too probably wouldn't exist if she hadn't.
There are probably a ton of fitting tributes floating around the net, like this one from Kathleen Hanna. But I want to say what she meant to me.
Yes, like most other females, I saw her as a pioneer, I didn't think there was such a think as women in punk until I heard X-Ray Spex as a teen. Through her and X-Ray Spex i discovered a load of other bands.
But it wasn't her gender that made me admire her so much, it was her race.
I am mixed race, and my music taste (to sum it up briefly) is of the indie-pop-punk-rock persuasion. Music that is predominately made by white musicians, yes, you get the odd non white musician in bands, but not many.
In the scene, I go to clubs, gigs, events and more often than not I am one of three non whites in the room, and most often the only mixed race, to see a woman make music, up on stage making music I understand, was like a shining light. Yeah it sounds cliche (I Am A Cliche), but for a young girl getting into a scene deemed 'white' and being seen by non white friends and family members as not 'acting black' enough, seeing a mixed race girl scream her heart out on stage made me not care what anyone thinks.
If she can so that, then so can I.
If nothing else, Poly was also a style icon. And will continue to be for me.
R.I.P Marianne Elliot Said, you will be sorely missed.
*this is me wearing a Poly dress I made for my 21st birthday party!