Skinheads United: All Over L.A., Nonracist, Primarily Latino Skinheads Obsess on Classic Reggae and Soul
L.A.’s skinhead scene has been around for decades but has gotten particularly popular during this latest revival in the past few years. Unlike the skinheads you’ve seen on TV, the L.A. scene is not only anti-racist, it’s overwhelmingly Latino. Though scenesters are into punk and Oi!, early reggae and obscure soul records dominate their collections. At least once a month, several hundred people turn out for old Jamaican stars or mostly forgotten Motown singers. DJ nights at Fais Do-Do in Mid-City offer superdeep cuts of early reggae and “Northern soul,” a neologism for American soul tracks first popular in Northern English dance clubs in the early ’70s. The Rocksteady Lounge at Silver Lake’s Akbar, a gay pub, offers a more intimate monthly affair with no less drinking and revelry.
Skinheads range from teenagers to middle-aged scene veterans. Their boots get an extra coat of polish for a night out, but otherwise they leave for work in the morning looking the same as they do for the club. Unlike the East L.A. punk scene, skinheads aren’t preoccupied with rebelling against The Man, and the police aren’t always busting them up. Instead, they’re focused on the simple pleasures of beer, music, friends, dancing and fashion. Women are as much a part of it all as men, and there’s always a