Cheers to Machine Head’s Robb Flynn

February 22, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Racism in Metal

Phil Anselmo screams "wh**e p**er", and the silence is deafening...

Robb Flynn of the heavy metal band Machine Head righteously called out former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo for his white power salute at Dimebash 2016 in Hollywood, California, last month. Flynn powerfully indicted the ugly racism which is rife in the metal scene. Anselmo is a long-time racist fool known for his “Sieg Heils” and white power salutes on stage during Pantera shows. (Pantera was a hugely popular heavy metal band. Robb Flynn is a founder of Machine Head.)

Flynn’s response was brave, soul-searching, and long overdue. In his video statement, he challenges metal fans who know this ugly racism is wrong but go along with it. He ridicules the justifications of metal fans like, “Here comes the PC police and the social justice team,” or, “Thicken your skin and stop being such pussys when someone screams out Sieg Heil! and white power.”

Robb Flynn schools metal fans about the realities that Black people face in America. He tells about how when he was buying a house and reading over the contract, he got to the part that says, “No Negros shall live in this house or this neighborhood.” While this turns out to be decades-old lease language... it’s not ancient history. This is in northern California in a town in the East Bay of San Francisco. Robb tears into the BS and gives a history lesson about what is fundamentally wrong with the argument that says, “Why is it OK for a Black man to say Black pride and not a white man to say white pride?”

Flynn says, “The amazing thing is that we’re all scared of saying anything.” He describes how thick racism is in the metal scene and how musicians like himself have gone along with and collaborated with racism for far too long. He reflects about when he was on stage with Pantera and stayed silent about the racism. No more! Flynn finishes by drawing the line razor sharp: “Enough’s enough... That shit is fucking wrong! For somebody to sit there and go ‘Oh if you were offended by this, blah.’ But if you weren’t offended by that, fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you! There’s no place for that in metal. And if there is a place for that in metal, count me out. Count me out!”

The controversy over Phil Anselmo and racism in metal continues to amp up. Robb Flynn’s stand has given backbone to other metal musicians, fans and bloggers to speak out against Phil Anselmo’s vicious white supremacy as well as the rampant racism in the metal scene. It is really important when people, even one or two at first, stand up and speak out against racism or other reactionary ideas in cultural scenes, or in areas of the country, where this poison is dominant and bullying people.

We are in a time when society is intensely polarized around the issue of Black people’s oppression and other outrages and horrors. Actions like Robb Flynn’s can make a big difference in calling out the truth as well as galvanizing others to stand up.

Cheers to Robb Flynn!



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