Osa is the superstar genius behind Shotgun Seamstress, a zine by, for, and about black punks, queers, misfits, feminists, artists, musicians, weirdos, and the people who support them. Shotgun Seamstress is always a treat, full of interviews with musicians, thoughtful essays, and profiles of often-overlooked but hugely important black artists and punk hero/ines. Osa also writes a smart and funny column for Maximum Rocknroll (source of our new motto: "if you want to see yourself represented, you have to represent yourself") and plays in the facemelting band The New Bloods. You can get Shotgun Seamstress here.
Why did you decide to start Shotgun Seamstress?
i wanted to create a tiny space where all of my identities weren't conflicting, but instead flowing harmoniously with each other. making that zine is like building my own house to live in with all of my best friends, chosen family and heroes. i also wanted to talk about race in punk in an updated way, and from a new and different perspective and context than the people of color zines of the late 90s and early 2000s.
What is so appealing to you about punk and punk communities? How do you deal with racism/sexism/homophobia in punk, and what keeps you strong?
i am in love with diy culture. for me, it is an inspiring and positive way to dismantle white supremacist patriarchy and to resist capitalist consumer identity. punk and diy culture, in its most ideal sense, is ultimately about everyone being able to have a voice and be heard. it gives us all the authority to be leaders instead of the more capitalist, mainstream, hierarchical model that says that only a chosen few are experts or leaders. diy culture in its purest sense is empowering to everyone and isn't limited to arts & culture. recently i've been talking to people about how diy & punk can be a launching pad for action and activism in other realms.
being involved with punk & diy has made all of my dreams come true. ever since i found out about punk rock, i've done so many things i never thought i could do. it's given me a community and i've even found chosen family through it. i also stick with punk because i am obsessed with punk rock music. i like a lot of different kinds of music but punk is awesome because it is so accessible, hands-on and obvious and because it expresses a political and emotional reality that i relate to.
i deal with racism, sexism, homophobia in punk by being very selective about my interactions within that community. when i was younger, i was way more willing to be the only woman, queer person, or black person in a band or at a show or whatever. i can't do that anymore. i think i walk around with a wall up, a little bit, when it comes to meeting new punk kids. maybe not a wall, but a screen. i've been around too long to keep putting myself in the same stupid situation over & over again, having the same stupid conversation with the same straight white dude who never seems to grow up. i've had enough. i'm not even sure i could tell you the last time i dealt with homophobia in the punk scene. i just don't go there with people anymore. more often, i associate with people who are proud to be brown, proud to be women, proud to be queer, and who make me feel proud to be those things too. i feel lucky to be able to have the opportunity to hang out with people like that.
what keeps me strong: meditation, my family, being in love, positive feedback & support from people across the country & the world
Who are some of your punk and metal heroes?
punk heroes: adee roberson (new bloods) & brontez purnell (the younger lovers); metal heroes: lozen (two piece metal band from tacoma washington)
Some books you've read lately that you found pleasing?
the neighborhood story project series =books written by teens about their own neighborhoods in new orleans before katrina.