Today, on Juneteenth, the day of emancipation, we bring to you The Blackwashing, an eclectic assortment of 24 tracks from some of the best and brightest black underground artists going today.
Conceptualized and spearheaded by mynameisblueskye and his new label ASAS in partnership with staple independent label Z Tapes and ourselves, The Blackwashing was coined as such as something of a counterattack: to whitewash has been to obscure, often by the whites who take social and political power and craft the narratives to fit their agendas. In response and in this context, to blackwash is to to reveal, to shine a light upon what and who has been ignored. Socially, it seems as though we may finally be at the point where what were previously open secrets regarding the systemic racism stitched into the very fiber of our nation’s institutions are now simply open, impossible to ignore for even the most passive among us. Similarly, with this compilation, we hope to spotlight black artists who in many cases have received but a fraction of attention that they deserve.
That’s not to say everything on The Blackwashing will be unfamiliar: there’s a good chance you’ve heard Kimya Dawson’s stark, harrowing 2015 spoken word piece “At the Seams” before, though if you haven’t, today’s a good a day as any as it’s still depressingly relevant five years later (and updated for The Blackwashing). Elsewhere, you’ll find sounds and perspectives that run the gamut, from The Cocker Spaniels’ funk-infused indie rocker “Snuff Film” which tackles the uncomfortable fact that it took something as disgusting as the George Floyd murder and its mass circulation to finally get people’s attention en masse, the zany and chaotic art pop of Jhariah’s “Split”, the Freaky Friday race-swap punk of Imani Coppola’s “Woke Up White” where she makes use of her newfound privilege to get away with all the dumb shit white people get away with, the seven-minute experimental synth hop epic of Savan DePaul’s “Final Flight of the Dying Cicada”, the ingenious blend of synthwave and brass instrumentation on the soulful “Shiparound” from Model Decoy, and a beautiful cover of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “You Don’t Have to Cry” from Citrus City’s Shormey. And that, as you might’ve been hearing a lot recently, is just “the tip of the iceberg”.
Yes, this one is “political”, and yes, it has to be. How could it fucking not be, at a time where the festering wounds of social and political inequality have been displayed for the world after having been poorly, sloppily hidden for far too long? It’s time to apply disinfectant, clean out the puss that is a law enforcement system whose roots were first planted deep in the soil of racism. To those who think this started a few weeks ago, this might sting a bit, but you best buck up. We’ve waited too long to heal: it’s time to get started. We hope The Blackwashing can provide a soundtrack to that healing.
You can stream The Blackwashing in its entirety below:
‘The Blackwashing’ is out now via ASAS, Z Tapes, and COUNTERZINE and is available to purchase digitally through Z Tapes’ Bandcamp. All proceeds will be donated to and split between the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Bail Out, Community Justice Exchange National Bail Fund, Homeless Black Trans Women Fund, and You Good, Sis.