Otep Shamaya

"My job as a cultural arsonist is to set fires inside the minds of the masses to make people think. Sometimes that has unintended consequences."

 

Otep Shamaya

Otep Shamaya, self confessed cultural arsonist  is called the "bare knuckled Goddess of rock" and for very good reason.  Before I get to the reasoning as to why Otep grabbed my attention let us examine Otep's background and who she is as a person. Otep is the lead singer of the band aptly named Otep. Her chosen genre is what is called Nu Metal or Extreme Metal, a particularly hard and aggressive variant of the metal music culture. She was born on November 7th 1979 which makes her a Scorpio. Otep is a lesbian and a vegetarian, an artist, a poet, a painter and a musician. She reads extensively which fuels an incredible intellect and talent and she is the ultimate cultural heretic who refuses to be confined by the expectations and limited institutionalized thinking of others.

 

When Otep first appeared on the Nu Metal scene she became a figure on controversy. The hardcore metal scene was heavily dominated by male singers and a woman singer, though not unheard of, was an anathema to many male metal fans.  Yet Otep was not there to be included in the genre, she was there to take the genre and make it her own and her success has fueled both adoration and resentment. Her feminist ideals and strong political views have made Otep a stand out figure who inspires and threatens in equal measure.

 

Her music will not suit all tastes to be sure. Personally I like her music a great deal but I grew up on Punk Rock and other alternative music. To my mind Otep can deliver a primal scream that builds in the soles of ones feet to claw screaming through the top of ones skull.  Yet this article is not about the promotion of Nu Metal but rather the recognition of how Otep's art reaches out to empower sexual abuse victims by expressing the raw pain and fury that comes from our circumstances. One of her songs in particular stand out in this area and I would like to demonstrate the power and insight of this amazing woman by examining her lyrics here. There are many aspects to these lyrics which I believe resonate with the experiences of sexual assault victims. My experiences of Otep's art indicate to me that Otep Shamaya is a woman with a deep insight into the world where people like you and I live. Otep expresses her knowledge through her art and inspires and offers hope to many on the fringe.

 

Head of Medusa

 

In that final look

Does the deer forgive the wolf ?

 

You've stolen my fascination

You've smothered my holy addiction

 

And now I'm soaked in you

Like fat white worms and sad haiku's

 

I woke up

& the world was on the fire

 

I woke up

& the swine had conspired

 

To erase all the faith

That I have in the human race

 

I woke up

& the world was on fire

 

It's all in your head

It's all in your head

They said I need to flee

 

Are they the shepherds ?

Or are they sheep ?

Are we the butchers ?

Or are we meat ?

 

In this nest of lies

Living a life under siege

We sink in the stink

& I need my disease

 

It's all in your head

They said I need to flee

This never ending ordinary monarchy

 

 

 

 

 

Beneath the toxic water

Where my secrets come to meet

In catacombs of shadow

& wet skies of mystery

 

I found a soggy savior

A painted lady made of eyes

She sings to me, of my deceit

"your life is a lie"

 

I woke up

& the world was on fire

 

I woke up

& the swine had conspired

 

To erase all the faith

That I have in the human race

 

I woke up

& the world

Was on fire

 

It's all in your head

It's all in your head

They said I need to flee

 

Are they the shepherds ?

Or are they sheep ?

Are we the butchers ?

Or are we meat ?

 

In this nest of lies

Living a life under siege

We sink in the stink

& I need my disease

 

It's all in your head

They said I need to flee

This never ending ordinary monarchy

 

 

 

 

 

If we stand too still,

They're gonna eat us alive!

 

Watch your tongue,

Teach them young...

 

Medicate the mutiny.

Better living with your chemistry

Self destruction's patriotic.

Money fixes everything.

 

Watch your tongue,

Teach them young...

 

We're taught

To love & hate

To fight & obey...

 

I've lost my mind,

But I've found my way

 

(in this nest of lies

Every wall has eyes)

 

It's all in your head

It's all in your head

They said I need to flee

 

Are they the shepherds ?

Or are they sheep ?

Are we the butchers ?

Or are we meat ?

 

In this nest of lies

Living a life under siege

We sink in the stink

& I need my disease

 

It's all in your head

They said I need to flee

This never ending ordinary monarchy