Remembering Jenni Rivera, Feminist Icon

Rivera

“Look at that dress,” I exclaimed as she sashayed across the stage, feet hidden beneath its many ru­­ffles. The floor-length purple gown was embellished with swirling golden details offset by a flowing scarf of the same color. The “Diva de la Banda” waved the scarf as she positioned herself in front of a semi-circle of […]

Catching Up With Ronee Blakley

Blakley

Remember Ronee Blakley in her Oscar-nominated performance as singer Barbara Jean in Robert Altman’s 1975 film Nashville? (If you haven’t seen the film, Netflix it!) Blakley played a frail, home-sweet-home girl with the blues, and she sang several songs (which she wrote) in the film, filled with sweet lyrics and a heartfelt twang. New Yorker […]

Imani Uzuri: A Traveling Woman

The Gypsy Diaries

For a woman, to travel can be a feminist act. Women who set out and proclaim themselves citizens of the world tread a path that is often the prerogative of (privileged) men. Yet women who can and do take physical journeys often experience emotional transformations as well. Singer/songwriter Imani Uzuri’s latest musical release (and second […]

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

Dar_Thumbs_Up_opt

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 […]