Friday, October 6, 2017

VIDEO: 'Long Overdue' is How Nic Robinson of The Business People Describes Charlotte's BLA/ALT Black Alternative Rock Festival

Posted By on Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 9:00 AM

In the lead-up to the Black Alternative Rock Festival, or BLA/ALT, at Camp North End on Oct. 21, Creative Loafing has asked some of the artists to talk about why they're playing the event and what it means to them. Today, singer and guitarist Nic Robinson of the terrific Charlotte indie-pop band The Business People tells us that a black alternative rock fest in Charlotte is "long overdue."

But first, watch Nic and the guys do an acoustic version of "From NC With Love,"  the standout track from their EP, Dirty Feelings.

"It's seemed lately to me that if you were black in an alternative band you were viewed as a part of the marketing," Robinson says. "This celebrates black alternative musicians and their band mates, showing the power behind a passion. That nothing matters once the music starts — no race, no gender, no cares except the music you are creating in that instance."

For Robinson, looking at black alternative musicians as "good marketing" is cynical. "For most of our career we've been told our diversity was marketable," he says. "[But] put simply, we are not commodities. We are not the latest fashion to be sold off to masses like new shoes."

And the BLA/ALT Festival, he says, aims to clarify that faulty logic. "We want to support a festival that respects and understands that having PoC members means a different altogether approach to music," Robinson says. "There are bars you can't play, and festivals that won't have you. There will be different standards and treatments for different members. These, and so many more things, happen to bands every day. We just wanna put one tally in the column for the good guys. Boiling down to this: LeAnna [Eden, the organizer of BLA/ALT] is passionate and talented, so we believe in the vision.

"The hopes are that [BLA/ALT] starts a wave of festivals in itS like, as did Afropunk before it," Robinsons says. "To spread and multiply, allowing other musicians who simply don't have the money, resources, or connections to be a part of a festival. One that has the FUBU mentality with a slight difference: Instead of 'for us by us,' it's For All By Us."

Hit up The Business People — which also includes drummer Anthony Pugliese and bassist Hyatt Morrill — on Twitter (@thebusinessppl) or Facebook (@thebusinesspeople).

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