I Am 90(s) Kids
WRITTEN BY DANNI BAUER
I AM 90'S KIDS. I grew up in my headphones listening to Nirvana, Hole, Sublime, NOFX, Veruca Salt and Belly on my shockwave. Their words made the world disappear and disconnect. And in return, this is how I stayed connected. I spent a lot of time in my head, I still do, music has always been the one thing that would get me out of my own thoughts. PWR BTTM is a queer duo composed of Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce. Their bands career was just about to take off, they were being praised and celebrated by major music media outlets, and then they hit a snag, and by snag, I mean they have found themselves in the middle of a minefield that has left them with out a label, their tour was cancelled, and the touring members have distanced themselves from being associated with their band.
Allegations of sexual abuse, predatory behaviour and anti-Semitism have been linked to Ben Hopkins. Kitty Cordero-Kolin stated that Hopkins initiated inappropriate behaviour with different people despite “no’s” and without warning or consent. A post by Cordero-Kolin was published on May 12th on Jezebels site, she included a photo of Hopkins with a swastika symbol he drew in the sand on a beach. The picture alone is enough to make you question Hopkins true character.
I am not sure why this specific story peaked my interested, maybe it was because I just read Kelly Oxford’s chapter #NotOkay: The Day My Outrage Went Viral from her latest book When You Find Out The World Is Against You. After the “grab her by the pussy” remarks surfaced from President Elect Trump and Billy Bush’s locker room talk conversation from 2005, Oxford took to twitter to get other individuals that experienced sexual abuse to share their stories with the hash tag #notokay, and yes agreed! none of this is okay.
A lot of things come in to question surrounding PWR BTTN, they are not the first artists, musicians or celebrities to be accused of these acts. They are however one of the first, to my knowledge, that have been disowned by their labels (Polyvinyl), members, and media outlets this quickly. In 2009, Rhianna opened up to 20/20 about Chris Brown and her abusive relationship. Browns career has never made it to the place he was expected to prior to that event, though still ‘successful’. Brown at one point was suppose to be as big as Justin Timberlake. Early this year Casey Affleck found himself in the centre of controversy regarding inappropriate sexual advancements from 2008, but hey, he walked away with an Oscar for Manchester By Sea. The award which was then presented by Brie Larson, who won best actress for Room, where she played a woman that was living in the centre of abuse in a shed on her kidnapper’s property with her young son. The year before former Vice President Joe Biden introduced Lady Gaga’s performance of Till It Happens to You at the 88th Academy Awards joined on stage by survivors of sexual assault. At the end of the performance Larson hugged each survivor as they got off the stage. This year she stood straight faced in silence as she awarded Affleck for best actor, a life changing moment for most but for different reasons.
Currently there are only a handful of queer-core base musical acts that I can recall, I remember The Toilet Boys in the early 2000s, and Against Me’s Laura Jane Grace gave a voice to gender dysphoria and is placed in the spotlight as a strong successful transgender woman in the music industry, which is already a hard spot to success in. PWR BTTM was the upcoming new voice to a community of kids, and adults that are looking for acceptance and to connect with other like minded individuals in a time we need it the most. A community that suffers with a lot of abusive, both sexual, physical, and emotional to find a band that lets you escape the real world is a priceless gift, and a safe place. Hopkins is being accused of actions that turn that safe haven into your nightmare. That is possible the hardest thing to wrap your head around with the stories that are surfacing, PWR BTTM was a touch stones for a lot people in the LGBT community, just like those bands I listened to in my headphones growing up.
In an interview at SXSW this year Liv Bruce gushes “the music industry is…oh my god… one huge family and its so spread out across the county because there is so much touring involved and SXSW is this big family reunion,” the industry has turned their backs on PWR BTTM, as they should. This is how the industry should deal with these types of problems. I would be lying if I didn't say I spent time wondering if PWR BTTM wasn't a queer core music group, if they were two straight dudes playing music would the industry turn on them so quickly? Whatever your race, sexuality, gender, or religion is, it all boils down to how a person should be. Currently the United States President Elect believes it is a-okay to grab a woman by the pussy (and that doesn't scratch the surface on that cluster fuck), we gave an award to a man that was accused of sexual abuse, the JELL-O figure head has been accused of over 60 rapes without spending time behind bars, an R&B star that beat the shit out of his girlfriend continues to work and collaborate with well known major artists, a queer core band is the centre of huge allegation that involves rape, and sexual abuse, and on top of all that I just paid twenty-seven dollars at the organic market for four items.
Maybe we are the ones living in the upside down world after all, but the thing is that eleven can’t save us, only we can.