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Our Top 5 Iconic Black Band's That Blessed The Punk Scene

Our Top 5 Iconic Black Band's That Blessed The Punk Scene
By Amelia Night | July 22, 2019
Punk lives on, and this list of black punk icons is the ultimate proof.

Although the punk movement began as a predominantly European movement, it spread to various corners of the world. Bands such as The Ramones and The Sex Pistols changed the lives of many young people, giving them something when they may have had nothing.

Undeniably, popular black hardcore bands had a huge influence on the punk scene, no matter how white and male it may seem.

The bands listed below have been present on the scene since day one. It's time to recognize those who inspired many young black punks, and created historically a-m-a-z-i-n-g and anarchic sounds!

1. X-Ray Spex

This list could start no other way than with this iconic band formed in '76 by the infamous Poly Styrene. After seeing a very early set of The Sex Pistols, she decided to advertise for 'Punx' to form a band with, hence the birth of X-Ray Spex. Although this band only managed to release five singles, their album Germfree Adolescence contained 3 UK hits alone!

X-Ray Spex focused their attention on political non-conformity and the bullsh*t standards women were expected to adhere to. Not quite the Riot Grrll era, but it's not crazy to suggest they contributed to its formation.

Poly Styrene's punk aesthetic is a dead giveaway to this fact. She was infamous for sporting dental braces, bold accessories and an edgy androgynous wardrobe. We love it.

X-Ray Spex


In 1974, Bobby, Dannis and David formed this band. Originally, the sound was funk and mainstream inspired. However, punk seeped into their bones through listening the likes of The Who. Although, they did face criticism in the 70's which rocked their support and led to the band ultimately separating. After funding an album for the band, Columbia records refused to support them after '75 because they refused to change the name DEATH to something more "commercially palatable."

Personally, this bands incredibly unique punk style and sound, they will undoubtedly be remembered for all that they did for black punk rockers throughout their time in the scene, and everyday since then.


3. Pure Hell

This four piece band are known to be one of the first African American bands of its kind - erupting onto the scene in 1974. Although they're leather studded look was a hit with the population, commercially they didn't do amazingly. Pure Hell's legacy is only one single long with they're first album being released many, many years later.

Still though, not many fresh-faced punks had the chance to share a stage with Sid Vicious, so fair play.

Pure hell

4. Bad Brains

This band is iconic for SO many reasons. In 1977 they became labelled a part of the 'hardcore' scene and contributed to this in a very special way.

Transgressing the boundaries of the punk rock genre, Bad Brains injected a new and vibrant burst of reggae into the mix. Using non-punk style guitar riffs and sounds, the sound produced was uncomprehendingly good, leading to the release of 9 studio albums and a long and well-lived career.

Bad Brains

5. BAD (Big Audio Dynamite)

It would be disrespectful not to end this list with this master band formed by the legendary Don Letts. Featuring sounds varying from punk rock to hip hop to reggae, this black punk band ruled the streets of the 80's. Members included Mick Jones, former guitarist of The Clash and drummer Greg Roberts. The successful formation of this band led to success with their album This is Big Audio Dynamite and led to a number 11 single E=MC squared.

Big Audio Dynamite

This has been our list of the top five most iconic black bands in the Punk Scene. If you think we have missed anyone out, do not be afraid to let us know! Reach out to us here at TBR through our socials.

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