POC In Punk: Meet Michaela Ilebode


For you personally, what have you experienced as a POC in the music scene (either good or bad). What’s your perspective on POC in the scene? I've always been made fun of for the genres of music that I listen to. I don't conform to the stereotype of someone that's black. Rock, especially, has played such an important role in my life and it's always discouraging to hear that it's not made for "people like me." I don't think there's enough representation in mainstream media by POC in the music industry, whether it's airplay on the radio, photographers, managers, and even executives, but I'd love to be involved and help to change that.

What inspired you to work in the music industry and what do you hope to achieve? I've always loved art and the different forms of expression people can use, but I've also always been behind the scenes person. I've always loved the idea of creating art for a living and photography's one of my favorite pastimes, and I'm never as happy as I am at a show. And then I realized that there are actually people who do this for a living. So why can't I?

Growing up, did you feel like there was a good amount of representation for you? If you had someone who you looked up to, who is this person? I had POC representation from my family and extended family, but there wasn't a lot of representation for someone that looks like me. I didn't have any friends that were mixed like me. I think now, there's more representation, but it's still not as mainstream. I didn't really have anyone to look up to in the field I'm interested in, or that was a POC while I was growing up, but currently Deneka Peniston and Raven Varona are two people I really look up to and aspire to be like.

What are some ways non-POC allies can support POC? I think the best thing is to support small businesses, whether they're local or not. Owning a business as a POC is often really difficult and has little success and especially in this age of social media, even if you can't support them financially, use your voice! Share a post, use your stories, recommend them to friends. It makes more of a difference than you may think.