Dani: “It’s so fucking hard to know where to start with the negative stories – the situations where people treat you differently because of your skin colour. There’s one story I was reminded of by my old drum tech recently, which I’d forgotten because it’s one-in-a-million stories. A few years back I made friends with two black guys on Warped Tour, both drummers – Klue, who played with Mod Sun, and Diamond who played with Beautiful Bodies. On the last show of the tour, I was walking with Diamond and a security guard was at the door as we were heading backstage. The security guard let Diamond through but put his hand on my chest to stop me and said very seriously, ‘Woah – we’re only allowed one black person.’ Thankfully, before I could even react, the guy who was in charge of the stage had heard what the security guard said and dragged him out to deal with him.
"There was an incident in the last year when we were touring in Europe. We were in a beer hall in Germany with the rest of the Neck Deep guys and some others, all drinking beers and having a good time. Someone down the other end of the table accidentally knocked a pint that soaked a kid. Out of nowhere, a security guard comes over to our table and grabs me, chokes me, and drags me out of the bar. I was going nuts, as we all were, because it was a big place with hundreds of people who’ve seen me being dragged out. The police came and took my ID, asking who we are and what we’re doing there. They asked for the CCTV footage and as soon as they saw it they gave me back my ID and we left. That was the most recent physical altercation I’ve had with someone who’s had a problem with me for no other reason that me being black. Whenever something like that happens it’s a very sad and sobering feeling, because you feel you’re not really cared about.”
Alex: “I have an older brother who’s back in Italy now, and he’s experienced a lot of racism. When he calls me and tells me the things that have happened to him, it breaks my heart. Whenever I see the sort of news that’s been on the television recently, I think of him and worry about him. I have a slight advantage in not being a black man, as they’re the main victims of police brutality.
"It’s not all about police brutality, and it’s not just happening in America. Me and my sister went to a pizza place when I was living in Italy. My sister speaks impeccable Italian and was trying to order some pizzas. The woman working there was very agitated because the place was busy and said, ‘You people just want to come here and speak the way you want to speak.’ You people. Every day I’m reminded people think I’m not important and second-class. When I was at school, everyone expected me to be that person who failed in life because of how I looked, by teachers and so-called friends. It’s weird that now they’ve seen how I am and what I’m doing with my life, not in the shell I used to be in, they think I’m cool. The reason I’ve got to where I am is because I worked 10 times harder, because my mum always told me that as a black person that’s what I had to do.
"Racism is in the UK, too, and needs to be spoken about. You need to look at your actions and how they feed into narratives. Even by making a stupid comment to a person, you are affecting them and making them feel like shit. I’ve never experienced anything bad from people at gigs, though. People tend to be very supportive and take care of each other. They’re not ignorant people, and seem to understand that racism and discrimination are wrong. I feel very lucky to have that side.”