From Gypsy Temple to King Youngblood
Hey family, ya boi Cameron here.
Being Black and Romani/Jewish, I've had to grow up constantly aware of the fact that my heritage and culture mark me as a target. I've had to learn this hard truth from a very young age and still have to upkeep my awareness as it affects my ability to navigate certain spaces and, in some cases, affects my safety as well. Music has always been an escape and an outlet for me. It's been a means of converting negative emotions and experiences into things that I am proud to share with others. It's been a process of grappling with things I don't fully understand yet. Like most musicians, my voice in the art is reflective of the person I am and the person I want to be. That person is someone who thinks intersectionally and someone who wants to utilize any platform to push for a world where others like me don't have to constantly feel that target on their back.
Part of challenging that target comes in the form of language and the reclamation of terms. As someone of Romani ancestry partnered with blackness, I am a big believer in the right of marginalized people to convert words used to harm their communities into phrases that show shared experiences between only other members of those communities. It’s a means of taking power back for marginalized groups. When I first named this band, I was only ten years old but already had awareness not only of the target on my back but also the right to reclaim terms used against my peoples. Gypsy Temple has always stood for intersectionality and that will never change. At the same rate and with a lot of education and introspection, we've decided to change our name to King Youngblood.
To be clear, this is not because we have changed our core beliefs on intersectionality or the right of reclamation but rather, because we've learned more about it. Reclamation is only valid if it is practiced by solely members of the same community. A perfect example would be how anyone who isn't black has zero right to use the N-word in any context whatsoever. However, where things get complicated is when groups or collectives are involved in the context. Groups like N.W.A and Gypsy Kings are entirely made up of people of the same background, which is what gives them the right of reclamation to use slurs used against them in their names.
I am the only Romani person in the band. Even though I personally have a right to reclamation, that doesn't particularly mean that my right transfers to my band members or others on our staff, even if I am the founder of the project. For us to push for a more intersectional future, we have to hold, not only our peers and leaders accountable, but ourselves too. That's what we are doing now. So rather than try to find some moral loophole or make excuses, we are making a change.
Don't worry though, we still the same folx you know us as. We still gonna tear down every stage we play on, still gonna create visual and auditory art, and still fight for social justice through music. There is still so much in store, so much to experience, and so much to do and share with you all. I'm incredibly grateful for all of the discussions and education I've been able to have with others to help us come to this realization. I'm grateful for my fantastic team and band mates for being on board for this branding transition. I'm especially grateful for our fans for sticking with us through this change and really glad to be able to be continuing our musical journey under our new name. And I'm thankful for you for reading this; I hope this helps to explain any confusion you may have had about our decision to make this switch.
I love you all and can't wait to share more good things with you <3. Oh and:
Long Live King Youngblood.