Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows wrote an op-ed in support of Black Lives Matter delving into a number of points, including why the rock and metal community needs to step up.
Published by Revolver, Shadows’ essay implores readers to avoid neutral messaging in support of those protesting against police brutality and asks them to “dig deeper.”
Shadows also touches on the peaceful kneeling protests of Colin Kaepernick writing, “Many claimed Kaepernick’s stance was ‘disrespectful to the ones who have served,’ but I believe this is the sort of freedom that many have laid down their lives to protect…If we had heeded the protests leading up to this with an open mind and open heart, we might be in a different boat than we find ourselves in now…The reality is, this is not a ‘black problem’ — it is an American problem. Until we address it as such, the tides will remain the same.”
Shadows would then pose to white readers, “If you posted in opposition of the riots yet were previously silent on the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among too many others, please ask yourself why. It’s time to show our fellow Americans that we hear them and feel their pain. This can’t be about your political alliances. This can’t be about what your friends or family are going to think of you…If someone says, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and your response is ‘All Lives Matter’ then maybe take a look at the core of that reaction. Every life is valuable — that is a given — but right now the lives of the oppressed require our undivided attention. Yes, the police have an incredibly daunting job, and many uphold the integrity of their position, but if that is your point of contention, I say AGAIN: the lives of the oppressed require our undivided attention right now.”
Shadows would go on to acknowledge how A7X’s fanbase is predominantly white and the band’s past indiscretions saying, “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 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.”
Many fans applauded Shadows for his op-ed and shared their praise in the tweets below. (WARNING: Some NSFW language ahead.)