Austin Manning is a die-hard Metallica fan based in New York City. He's the chapter head of NYC Attitude, a black ticket holder, has traveled the world seeing the band, and won meet and greets. Austin is also a black/trans man. Austin reached out about having a conversation with us about his experience in the metal community in the hopes that it would give a unique perspective, build empathy and inspire other people of color or in the LGBT community to be themselves and know they aren't alone. With everything happening in the world right now in respect to racial injustice and the ongoing fight for people of color to be treated fairly, we thought this was a conversation worth having. We talk through Austin's upbringing in Dallas, the first time he heard Metallica, attending both Orion festivals, traveling to Vegas and seeing the boys at the Apollo. His experience as a black ticket holder, meeting the band, standing on stage with Metallica, what it's like being one of a few black/trans people in a predominantly white genre of music, and more. Music is a powerful tool reminding us all that what unifies us is what we love. Our compassion and empathy. Our appreciation of art, live music and loud electric guitars. In this context what you look like or how you define yourself in terms of sexual orientation or gender is irrelevant. James Hetfield made this point repeatedly on the 2017 stadium tour in his inspiring speech before For Whom The Bell Tolls. There are links below for people interested in supporting Black Lives Matter and other causes that bring awareness to and amplify the voices of the marginalized. We hope you'll take the time to investigate, educate yourself, and listen. Thank you.
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