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“The metal scene is in denial of racism in it,” says Dragonforce’s Herman Li

Herman LI
(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic)

Dragonforce guitarist Herman Li has said that the metal scene is “in denial of the racism in it.”

Speaking to Heavy Consequence as part of an in-depth article on Asian and AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) musicians’ experiences of racism and violence within the metal scene, the guitarist revealed that he been threatened with violence while on tour, having his hair set on fire, and receiving a stream of prank phone calls to his house.

“I think the metal scene is in denial of racism in it,” he says. “I have so many crazy stories but we don’t really talk about it and when I do interviews I’m not ever asked about it because they think it doesn’t exist.”

In the same article, other musicians shared their views of the rise of violence against members of the Asian and AAPI community, as well their own experiences of racism with the metal scene, including Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, Sinergy’s Kimberly Goss and Chthonic singer Freddy Lim. 

Goss described being racially abused by fans outside one of her own gigs, only for the same fans to ask for her autograph afterwards, as well as experiences online. “I definitely used to read comments from people referring to me with Asian slurs,” she said. They usually got shut down pretty fast by other fans, though, so that restored my faith in humanity.”

“Touring and traveling, I’ve seen racism everywhere,” added Shinoda. “There’s no place I’ve been that doesn’t experience it. Talking about “Stop Hate” and “Stop Racism” is lazy and meaningless, it’s just a plea to social media followers not to cancel you; racism doesn’t have an end date. It requires constant effort. Racism is the disgusting result of ignorance and lack of compassion.”

You can read the full interview over at Heavy Consequence.