Interview with Afro-Punk Pioneer, Lunden DeLeon
I knew little about Afro-Punk until I was contacted by Afro-Punk artist Lunden De Leon's publicist. It was then I became intrigued. Here is a Black woman, successful in her own right and in her own terms (hello, she owns her own record label, Dirrty Records, launched in 2003)in a musical genre largely dominated by whites. She is also an accomplished actress starring in a long line of television shows including NBC'S, Just Shoot Me. With the recent launching of her movie production company, Palmetto Film Studios, she is proving to the world once again she means business!
This interview was conducted and originally published in April, 2012 on Drumtide Magazine.
Define Afro-Punk, and how it is a Black woman like yourself got involved in this predominantly white dominated genre of music?
Afro-Punk refers to blacks in the punk rock music scene. Growing up, most of my friends were listening to Run DMC and LL Cool J, I was blasting the Sex Pistols and Ramones. I loved the freedom of punk music and what it represented. DIY (do it yourself) instead of waiting for others to do it for you.
You said that the first time you saw your father on stage you knew you wanted to be a part of the music industry. How much has he continued to be an influence on you?
My dad died 3 years ago. He will always be a major influence in my life. Without him I wouldn't be in the entertainment industry.
You went through a lot of hardships on the way. Describe one horrifying incident you did not expect on your journey to success?
Homelessness. I thought I was doing everything right. Working, saving money, being frugal. Life tossed me a curve ball and instead of staying down I knew I had to get up and do things differently.
How much compromising, if any, does a woman, especially a woman of color, have to engage in in order to "break-in" in the entertainment industry?
It's tough for women of color in entertainment. We read about it all the time. When I decided to start my label, I was told to focus on R&B or Hip Hop. Other industry execs said a black woman would never make it as the owner of a punk rock label. I still decided to do things my way. I wrote up and business plan, found a few private investors who believed in me and my vision and the rest is rock-n-roll history. If I would have listened to them, I wouldn't be here today.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career?
Helping others achieve their dream.
If ever depressed or discouraged what do you do to combat this?
Pray. I know God's got my back.
Which do you prefer, acting/film work or music?
Music. It's my first love.
In pre-production for the thriller "Escape" shooting in North Carolina. I also recently signed an amazing band called the Kennedy Kids. Their self titled album will be released this summer.