Black Belt Eagle Scout Talks with SASAMI (and Guest Host Vagabon) on the Talkhouse Podcast

Three incredible WOC artists discuss issues of space and representation in indie rock, and share their thoughts on how to fix them.

On this week’s episode of the Talkhouse Podcast, we share a deep-diving conversation about the idea of space for BIPOC folks in indie rock venues — a discussion with the explicit intent “to talk about brown voices, and to talk about how we can uplift them.”

Black Belt Eagle Scout — real name Katherine Paul — is a self-described “radical indigenous queer feminist” who grew up on the Swinomish Indian Reservation in Northwest Washington state. KP, as she’s known, is Swinomish and Iñupiaq (a Native community in Alaska). Here, she speaks with Sasami Ashworth, aka SASAMI, a Korean-American singer/songwriter and musician based in Los Angeles. Sasami made her name playing synth in Cherry Glazerr before going solo in 2018. Our special guest-host is Vagabon, or Lætitia Tamko, a Cameroonian-born singer/songwriter/producer.

This episode was inspired by the Twitter backlash after a conversation Black Belt Eagle Scout had with Ailsa Chang on the NPR show All Things Considered. With Chang, KP discussed feeling uncomfortable with so many white people at her shows, as her music is intended for BIPOC folks, and stated:

“It’s for people of color, for indigenous people, for queer people, and white men are so fragile when I say stuff like that. It’s because of white privilege and they don’t often get told that.”

KP was obviously not advocating for banning white men from her shows, but for there to be more room at each performance for her community. Still, of course, a number of fragile white men took to Twitter calling KP racist, and hating on the show for having her on. I saw Lætitia and Sasami tweeting support for KP, with Sasami doing full on UFC-style e-battle with some trolls! I reached out the next day to offer the platform of the Talkhouse Podcast for an extended convo on the topic, one without journalists or “fragile white men” involved. This talk was recorded back in March, just before Covid-19 slammed the States, and before the Black Lives Matter movement’s incredible recent strides.

Keep it locked to hear about issues of safety and space in DIY touring, the importance of land acknowledgments, and actionable things that bands and fans can do.

Check it out, and subscribe now to stay in the loop on future episodes of the Talkhouse Podcast; next week’s is Julien Baker with Katie Harkin.
—Elia Einhorn, Talkhouse Podcast host and producer

For this week’s episode, Sasami Ashworth was recorded by Eric Rennaker at bedrock.LA; Katherine Paul, Lætitia Tamko and I each recorded ourselves. Our producer extraordinaire is Mark Yoshizumi.

The Talkhouse Podcast theme song was composed and performed by The Range.

Please direct all podcast-related ideas, vitriol, and compliments to [email protected].

Photo Credit: left, Sarah Cass; right, Alice Baxley; Edited by Keenan Kush.

Your favorite musicians, filmmakers, and other creative minds one-on-one. No moderator, no script, no typical questions. The Talkhouse Podcast offers unique insights into creative work from all genres and generations. Subscribe now, and explore more illuminating shows on the Talkhouse Podcast Network.