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Unless you saw Denise Huxtable on TV, you didn’t see any black alterna-chicks.” It’s a style to which True, 50, feels a personal connection.
She grew up in New York sporting what she calls a “pseudo goth” or “boho goth” look with an actor’s disposition.
She says black women are too often portrayed as aggressive and dressed in provocative clubwear in the media.
She wants to see black style represented across the spectrum, be it cutesy — she likes poofy dresses and polka dots — or goth.
“It’s always about questioning what is normal and how that questioning expresses itself,” Gaines says.
In popular culture, where racial stereotypes have narrowed depictions of African Americans, identifying black women with a goth or alternative sensibility can be difficult.
Goth icon Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was a black man from Cleveland known for his theatrical rendition of the 1956 hit “I Put a Spell on a You,” which a sultry Nina Simone covered in 1965.
Xunise is especially fond of True, who starred as Rochelle in the 1996 cult film about a teenage coven of witches.
“Black people are put into boxes of how we’re supposed to dress and what we’re supposed to wear,” she says. Born to a white mother and a black father, she grew up in Portland, Oregon, as “for sure, a teenage goth,” she says.
But being biracial didn’t make it any easier for her to elude stereotypes about African Americans.
Other African-Americans say they became “scene kids” because of their upbringings, interest in art and music, or fondness for a particular aesthetic.
They point out that goth and alternative cultures may be linked to whiteness in the popular imagination, but many of the characteristics associated with these subcultures, especially piercings, tattoos, and rock, have roots in communities of color.
They attend the Afro Punk music festival in combat boots and Wednesday Addams dresses.