According to the good people at babynames.com, the name Karen means ‘Pure’ and is of Scandinavian origin. However, in recent years, the word ‘Karen’ has acquired rather less wholesome connotations, spread via memes and viral videos.
First coined in African American communities, in 2020, Dictionary.com defines Karen as “a pejorative slang term for an obnoxious, angry, entitled, and often racist middle-aged white woman who uses her privilege to get her way or police other people's behaviours” and there are over 800 million views on TikTok videos dedicated to the Karen meme.
Not everyone is comfortable with this reappropriation of the word, it should be noted. For instance, Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman insists that the usage is “sexist, ageist and classist, in that order”, not that she herself would ever dream of using her privilege to police other people’s behaviours, obviously.
It was, perhaps, inevitable that, one day, the worlds of heavy metal and Karen discourse might collide, and that day, it seems, is now upon us, thanks to enterprising YouTuber Andre Antunes. A highly accomplished guitarist, Antunes usually populates his YouTube channel with revved-up versions of classical music pieces, rocked-up pop songs and original material, but he has now tapped into the political and cultural zeitgeist by juxtaposing the enraged voices of some belligerent American citizens with grinding riffs. And lo, Karen Metal was born.
We can’t predict how long the genre will occupy the limelight, but there’s no denying the ferocity, authenticity and sincerity of its street-level fury.
Karen Metal is now a genre thanks to Andre Antunes pic.twitter.com/eteILDwBfQNovember 18, 2020
If you have a problem with any of this, we suggest you take it up with the manager…