TALIA CLAY

Author

Rock Music

I haven’t paid attention to the modern Rock scene. I have no idea who is famous these days and if artists are even putting out new rock music—good rock music. I kind of feel like pop and hip hop dominate the music scene. When I was a teenager and college student, I loved listening to grunge and hard rock. But I hated the fact that there were basically no Black rock stars, especially lead singers. So when Fefe Dobson released her album in the 2000s I was over the moon. It was what I aspired to be.

I will occasionally listen to Paramore, Red Hot Chili Peppers. I used to jam to Matchbox 20, Creed, 3 doors down, Nickelback (I honestly don’t get why they get so much hate).

Once I discovered afro punk, I learned there was a whole world of us out there. Thank you internet for bringing people with alt-Black experiences together.

Crazy colored hair

Okay so this isn’t not a Black thing, but when I was a kid, Black people didn’t color their hair. Lots of white girls did. They’d get a streak of color here and there, red, blue purple, green, whatever. For Black women, not teens, red and blonde was outrageous as it got, and I didn’t like the way either of those looked. It’d be a wig most of the time anyway. Now anything goes. I’m too afraid of hair damage to dye my hair, but the last few years I rocked purple yarn braids.

Anime (Comics, Manga, Superheros, etc.)

By no means am I huge fan girl, I don’t keep up with trends, and I only got into it as an adult. Nonetheless, I usually have an anime or two in rotation each season. If I got stared earlier in life I’d probably go to the cons…

I’ve watched some of the big ones like Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, the latter part of Hunter X Hunter, and My Hero Academia…but some of my favorites are Gatchaman Crowds, Sound Euphonium, Haikyu!, Psycho-Pass, Stein’s;Gate, Toradora, Oregairu… and I could go on, but I totally wont.

Still, being a parent makes it very difficult to binge watch things, so I’ve taken a step back.

Vegan food

Being a Black vegan is more socially acceptable these days. But when I stopped eating meat in 2001, not so much. People thought there was something wrong with me for not liking fried chicken. Now there is a whole movement and I’m glad I’m not alone anymore.

(People in the south still look at me like there is something wrong with me. And I still think most non-vegans have no clue what types of things I eat, but the word is a-changing.)

And for the record, I never liked tofu. I’ve had it like 2 times where it tasted good, but I stay far away from that yucky health hazard.

Country music

this is also was my grandmother’s favorite song. gets me in tears every time.

I enjoyed Taylor Swift’s first two country albums. I’m really vibing to a Sam Hunt song, Body like a Back Road. Country music still isn’t my number one genre pick by any stretch of the imagination… But some songs are really good. There were a couple of songs I enjoyed right out of college, but the names and artists are failing me now. Seriously, country music isn’t all bad. And then I was blown away by Keisha Renee on The Voice. Also, country is basically R&B—some songs anyway. If you listen closely, you’ll hear it.

Reading

Again, society is more open-minded than it was when I was a kid. We read a lot in my household as a kid. This might have been a unique scenario, at least in my circles. If you saw the other Black kids… they were playing basketball, running track and dancing. You know, doing “Black” things. Things I definitely wasn’t doing (except dancing—tap and modern.)

But my issue growing up was always finding stories with Black characters doing NORMAL things. It was always slavery or civil rights. I’m not playing down the importance of being knowledgeable about these things. But sheesh, American Girl Abby was a former slave. The only Black doll/story had to have been enslaved. And I’m supposed to connect with her story? Seriously? Nonetheless, we had the books and I read them. Sigh.

School

You should have known this one was coming. I liked learning new things. There were some subjects (science) that I wasn’t fantastic at but I always liked school. Obviously there were some parts of school that were awkward for a token Black girl in advanced classes, but school—the learning part—was good for me.

I enjoyed reading Beowulf for goodness sake. For some reason, I could actually get into it and understand the olde English. I don’t think I’ve met another human—nonetheless a Black one—who enjoyed Beowulf.

There are tons of Black people who like these sorts of things. But growing up, I didn’t know that. There wasn’t any representation to believe I could truly enjoy things that were not “stereotypical” of my race.

What stereotypical non-Black things do you enjoy? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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