Ska legend as political as ever, aiming at police who kill

The World
The Selecter on stage

theselecter.net

Pauline Black has been doing things her way for over 35 years. And for many of those years it's been as lead singer of the two-tone ska band, The Selecter. 

Social and political messages were — and still are — a big part of The Selecter's DNA. Pauline Black is proud of that, and proud to still be at it at age 62.

"I see no reason to hide [my age]. I see my contemporaries now, people like Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, all of those people. They're still out there. Still talking about the things that they talked about many, many years ago. 

"Probably some of the same things that we talked about then, like sexism. So it would be negligent [not to give my age.] I feel to stop that particular conversation."

And Pauline Black and The Selecter are not about to stop having other conversations. The band is as political as ever on their new album, Subculture. Look no further than the song, "Breakdown."

"It's specifically about young black males who have died in police custody over the years," she says.

But the song isn't what you may think. It's not about race relations in the United States. "I'm talking about Britain," she says. 

Earlier this year the British newspaper, The Guardian, wrote that the number of people who had died in police custody in 2014 had reached the highest level in five years. 

"I think that deaths like [that of] young Trayvon Martin were certainly not good for community relations in America. And those deaths that have happened here in Britain certainly aren't very good for community relations here."

Social and political messages are part of The Selecter DNA.

Since the group first arrived in the late 1970s, they've been tackling issues like diversity and inequality.

"Sometimes it's difficult. You can't fight every single cause," she says.

But every battle is important. They choose topics that "affect us...and ones that you think are worth telling people."