A canonizing, bold, and urgent anthology setting a new precedent for Black Punk Lit, created by generations of Black punks—featuring both new voices and those from the not-so-recent past
Black Punk Now is an anthology of contemporary nonfiction, fiction, illustrations, and comics that collectively describe punk today and give punks—especially the Black ones—a wider frame of reference. It shows all of the strains, styles, and identities of Black punk that are thriving, and gives newcomers to the scene more chances to see themselves.
Curated from the perspective of Black writers with connections to the world of punk, the collection mixes media as well as generations, creating a new reference point for music-lovers, readers, and historians by capturing the present and looking towards the future. With strong visual elements integrated throughout, this smart, intimate collection is demonstrative of punk by being punk itself: underground, rebellious, aesthetic but not static—working to decenter whiteness by prioritizing other perspectives.
Edited by graphic novelist and filmmaker James Spooner, and author Chris L. Terry, contributors to the collection include critic Hanif Abdurraqib and Mars Dixon, conversations with Brontez Purnell, and a roundtable of all femme festival organizers.
About the Author
JAMES SPOONER is known for directing the seminal documentary Afro-Punk (2003), and co-creating the Afro Punk Festival. His graphic memoir The High Desert, about being Black in small-town California and finding salvation in punk, came out in 2022.
CHRIS L. TERRY is the author of the novel Black Card, one of NPR's best books of 2019. Terry's debut novel Zero Fade was on Best of 2013 lists by Slate and Kirkus Reviews. Born in 1979 to a Black father and white mother, Terry spent his late teens and early twenties touring as the vocalist for different Richmond, Virginia punk bands. He has a Creative Writing MFA from Columbia College Chicago, and now lives and teaches in Los Angeles. His recent work has appeared in Pitchfork, Stereogum, Razorcake, Very Smart Brothas/The Root, Catapult and theLAnd Magazine.
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"A celebratory and inspiring collection." —Alexis Petridis, The Guardian
"The collection’s greatest strength is how it captures the pure joy felt by its contributors while living on the fringes, the integrity they’ve gained from being misunderstood by the white establishment . . . taken together, these works show readers that 'punk' is a commitment to liberation from the tedium of mainstream culture, and a way to demand much more." —Mary Retta, Pitchfork
"A canonizing, bold, and urgent anthology setting a new precedent for Black Punk Lit, created by generations of Black punks—featuring both new voices and those from the not-so-recent past . . . With strong visual elements integrated throughout, this smart, intimate collection is demonstrative of punk by being punk itself: underground, rebellious, aesthetic but not static—working to decenter whiteness by prioritizing other perspectives." —Elise Dumpleton, The Nerd Daily
"Eye-opening . . . Fans of punk rock will enjoy this anthology." —Leah K. Huey, Library Journal
"Engaging and original . . . This is a fresh new collection of captivating writing and interviews about a vital, vibrant music and political scene." —Allison Escoto, Booklist
"With graphics, short stories, poems, lyrics, conversations, commentary, and notes on how capitalism naturally tries to co-opt cultural scenes and how Black punks naturally resist it, the anthology is a cornucopia of righteous resistance, both fun to read and energetically provocative . . . Great reading for punks of every persuasion, who, one hopes, will take it and change the world." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A testament to the often challenging experience of being an outsider, and the joy of finding a sense of belonging. These are the stories I wish I heard when I was growing up.” —Nabil Ayers, author of My Life in the Sunshine
"I'm slightly angry for being pushed to cry in public many times while reading this book, and for the amount of conversations holding Black Punk Now has sparked. I’ve had as many conversations with strangers outside of this book as I did with those inside of it. Thank you for this work which enables me to see myself, to see my brother. I grew up on music and comics and with a deep feeling of isolation. There is great beauty in the outskirts. The fringe. The edge. And there’s loneliness and questioning of yourself and the world—of how you look, of how you feel, and who you can confide in. Thank you for the hours that I spent inside of this collective work, feeling less alone. Thanks for also making this a relentless read in a soft way." —Jean Grae (The Monarchy)
"When I got the book I jumped into it immediately. Black Punk Now solidifies the idea that even though Alternative Black culture is multifaceted and unique, so many of us have the same story, just told different ways. I will always love reading Black stories but Alternative Black stories hit home differently in a beautiful way. I really loved it, it was a fun read!” —Braxton Marcellous, Zulu, Wise, Shred Bundy
“If you find yourself Black, Punk, Now or anywhere in between on that spectrum, this book is like being handed a survival kit. It is messages in bottles fused into a buoyant life raft, a heart shaped mirror on a compass. It’s x-ray goggles, a sword and a shield. Out of alienation, hard evidence of a global community. I LOVE this book, and am deeply inspired by it and everyone involved in its creation.” —Tunde Adebimpe, TV on the Radio
“Spooner and Terry have brought together voices of an independent Black Punk foundational ethos, celebrating the unassimilable and the defiant—the bold, fearless spirit of artists, musicians, writers, and nonconformists that absolutely refuse to back down to the mainstream of any kind.” —Vernon Reid, Guitarist and Songwriter of Living Colour
“If you're hungry for a richer punk experience, Black Punk Now really satisfies. This crucial new book reveals complex, textured and rebellious stories of Black Punk through a variety of writing styles and illustrations, ranging from comics to film scripts. It includes interviews, photos, essays, short stories and much more. Dig deep into the Black Punk experience and legacy and get more out of punk because If there's no Black in your Punk, then you're missing out!” —Alice Bag, (singer, writer, educator)
“Black Punk Now is a must read, and I am loving every moment of it.” —Xavier Dphrepaulezz, Fantastic Negrito
"Black Punk Now delivers a unique literary experience, full of sociopolitical insights, arresting visuals, and limitless imagination. By turns sharp, rousing, delightful, and electric, this is an anthology to savor." —Dawnie Walton, author of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
“In Black Punk Now Spooner and Terry have given voice, sound, fury and shape to all things Black and BIPOC punk. Equal parts how-to guide, field manual, and encyclopedic anthology comprising essays, short stories, interviews, memories, and graphic novel panels. From the historical origins of those who paved the way, to those individuals and groups carrying the torch and keeping the flame alive. To have such an emotive, resonant, and necessary resource is as revolutionary as those of us melanated 'outsiders' who defy convention, stereotype, hyphenate ,or box with our very being.”—Justin Warfield, musician and hip hop MC, She Wants Revenge