AVENGED SEVENFOLD singer M. Shadows has penned an op-ed for Revolver magazine in which he explains why he stands with the "Black Lives Matter" movement. In it, the 38-year-old musician opens up about personal connection to the cause, and urges the rock and metal community to dig deep and us battle the circumstances that not only result in racially motivated violence against people of color, but also prevent people of color from thriving in the U.S.
M. Shadows writes, in part: "I understand that the AVENGED SEVENFOLD fanbase is made up of very few black Americans. That is why I feel more compelled than ever to write this to you. We can be the ones — the rock and metal community — to reach out and show the compassion that I know is in us all to help raise up our fellow humans. I, for one, enjoy black American culture. The music, art, films, clothing, sports, food. All of it has made my life better. I have no doubt we are a better country because of the black American influence. Hell, Chuck Berry was the Father of Rock & Roll! Standing against inequality and systemic racism is the very least we can all do.
"I am aware that in the past AVENGED has antagonized with some of our lyrics and imagery. We have also used confederate flags in our artwork while paying tribute to artists we grew up listening to or simply trying to start controversy. I'm sure we will be called out, and rightfully so, by people reading this. No excuses. But everyone grows up at some point, and I feel grateful that we have an audience that has allowed us to evolve with them. I can only hope that the rock and metal community, and the white community at large, can move forward with an open mind and come together to help out our fellow Americans in this desperate time."
You can read M. Shadows's entire op-ed at this location.
George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis more than a week ago by a police officer in an incident caught on camera. The officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for nearly ten minutes while Floyd was handcuffed. Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Video of the killing sparked riots and outrage across the country.
Ozzy Osbourne, FOO FIGHTERS, HALESTORM, GREEN DAY and PAPA ROACH are among the artists who "disconnected" from their usual work or promotion online in honor of #BlackOutTuesday (June 2).
Many of the artists shared posts on social media under the #TheShowMustBePaused hashtag and expressed solidarity with the black community.
HALESTORM's Lzzy Hale wrote, "Instead of promoting ourselves or our personal agendas on Tuesday, we will pause in solidarity out of respect for what is happening right now... I encourage you all to do your research and find big or small ways that you can help change happen."