Last Fall, I started working at CFPRT as the Wiki Scholar. Working primarily from the Darby Romeo Collection of Zines, I have been writing and improving Wikipedia articles about Black people involved in Los Angeles’s punk, hardcore, and performance scenes form the late 80s to early 90s. Currently, I am developing a page on Sean DeLear, front-person of popular band Glue, as well as providing heavy edits to performance artist and musician Vaginal Davis's page.
In the 90s, due to the influence of riot-grrrl and the Internet, zines were in heavy circulation. With bands such as Bikini Kill and L7 putting forward feminist manifestos that championed the acts of communal resource sharing and self-publishing, zines quickly began proliferating across the west coast to the majority of North America, and ultimately abroad. Much overlooked, however, is the Black presence in these scenes. From my research in the Romeo archive, musicians such as Monic Reynolds of the Motor Dolls, Stew (both as a solo act and as part of the band The Negro Problem), Arthur Lee of Love, as well as Karla Duplantier of The Controllers, among others, have come to the fore. The zines in the Darby Romeo Collection range in their reach—these zines functioned as articulations of locally shared sentiment and mutual affection for a variety of subject matter across the scene. Unfortunately, beyond the zines, not much material about these bands exist in the public domain, which makes developing Wikipedia pages for them difficult. However, even in the act of identifying them, one can begin to make inroads towards finding more.