by Rutger Hauer – ‘Blade Runner: Director’s Cut’, 1979
In the late 1970s and into the ’80s, punk rock was more than just a genre of music — it was a community of inclusion and a bold statement against the status quo.
For people of color in particular, punk rock offered a medium that celebrated individuality and offered a platform for political and social critique. Black punk bands like Bad Brains,Pure Hell, and Death not only pushed the boundaries of what rock music was capable of, but shattered expectations of how people of color are seen within the genre. Today, punk rock is more diverse than ever, as collectives like Atlanta-based Punk Black help foster the community by hosting concerts that highlight artists of different races, religions, and nationalities.
In the short essay, Hughes recounts an experience he had outside Savannah, Ga., in which he encountered a young person escaping from a chain gang. It was the summer of 1927 and Hughes was traveling by car with his friend and fellow writer, Zora Neale Hurston.
“That night, a strange thing happened,” Hughes writes. “After sundown, in the evening dusk, as we were nearing the city of Savannah, we noticed a dark figure waving at us frantically from the swamps at the side of the road.”