Laura Nyro Surries on Down

Nyro cover

Ten years ago, at the conclusion of my biography of the extraordinarily influential singer-songwriter Laura Nyro, I wrote, Unfortunately, Nyro … continues to be overlooked in places where she should be part of the canon. She’s neither a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nor the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2010, the […]

The Politicians and the Pagans: Catching Up With Dar Williams

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You may remember intellectual-folk queen Dar Williams for her queer-acceptance Christmas carol The Christians and the Pagans, a 1990s mix-tape staple. Although singer-songwriters strumming guitars weren’t hard to come by in those days, Dar stood out for her magnificent gift for storytelling and her radical politics. Her following today extends beyond the Northampton area she […]

How Does Nicki Minaj Influence Black Girls? Ask Them.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj is poised to make a splash with her sophomore album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, on April 3. After head-turning appearances at the Grammys and the NBA All-Star Game and with Madonna at the Super Bowl, followed by reports that she landed a multi-million dollar deal with Pepsi, she has emerged as the new […]

Madonna and You

Madonna and Me

As female pop icons go, perhaps no one has inspired the amount of written reflection, academic and personal, as Madonna Ciccone. Still to-the-minute relevant at 53, she recently starred in her own Super Bowl halftime extravaganza and will be embarking on a world tour for her latest album. And the latest addition to the what-I-think-of-Madonna […]

Future of Feminism: Music To Our Ears

Girl Musician

For every little girl who grew up fantasizing of becoming a fairytale princess, there was another who dreamed of being a rock ‘n’ roll queen. Thankfully, there are organizations popping up across the country who help girls explore such musical dreams, the Institute for Musical Arts (IMA) in Western Massachusetts being one of them. Founded […]

Girl in a Coma Rocks to Its Own Beat (And Causes)

Girl in a Coma

The impact of homegrown, San Antonio-based, all-woman band Girl in a Coma stretches far beyond the borders of Texas. Its fourth album Exits and All the Rest, recently named to NPR’s 50 best of 2011, shows the band’s range of talents–from the Morrissey-inspired “Smart” to the rough-edged anthem: Phanie Diaz, Nina Diaz and Jenn Alva bring renewed vitality and political charge […]

10 Great Albums of 2011 That Happen to Have Been Made by Women

Wild Flag

Almost anywhere you looked, 2011 seemed like a banner year for women in music. Remember how exciting it was when the immensely talented Esperanza Spalding pissed off all those Justin Bieber fans and won the Best New Artist Grammy back in February? Remember when Adele went quadruple-platinum and became a pretty badass role model for those […]

Sudanese Women Singers Assert Themselves With “Girls’ Music”

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In one of my favorite songs by Afrobeat progenitor Fela Kuti, he exclaims: If you call am woman African woman no go ‘gree She go say I be Lady o Fela is recounting the age-old resistance by African women to their circumscribed roles in traditional societies. This resistance is an often ignored, but very essential, […]

Feminists, We’re Calling You: Support the New Kathleen Hanna Documentary!

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Ok, you can find video of Kathleen Hanna singing with her bands all over the web, and she pops up here and there in films, but why hasn’t there actually been a full-length documentary devoted to perhaps the most defining figure of the feminist punk movement? If you’ve been following Kathleen Hanna’s career fervidly over the […]

Loaded Guns, Loaded Metaphors: Rihanna’s “Man Down” Video

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Rihanna has a genius for controversy.  As soon as the music video for her latest single, “Man Down,” premiered this week on BET’s 106 & Park, it created an instant backlash from various groups demanding it be banned from television. However, the outcry is not about depictions of S&M fantasies or a same-sex kiss or […]