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 […]

You Never Heard of Fanny?

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It’s not really possible to talk about women in rock without bringing up my band, Fanny, but people do. Even the newly opened “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland barely mentions Fanny–the first all-woman band to record entire albums for a major label […]

Beyonce: Girls Run the World (Cue the Apocalypse!)

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I’ve been an admirer of Beyonce since her Destiny’s Child days and always appreciated that group’s “girl power” anthems (think “Bills, Bills, Bills,” “Independent Women,” or “I’m a Survivor,” ignoring for the moment that they’ve also put out more submissive songs like “Cater 2  U“–which I’ve been guilty of playing on a loop).  I’ve attempted to […]

We Know Women Rock–Tell Us Something New

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has a reputation for being a boys club. Since 1986, when its first annual list of inductees consisted of men only, women have been snubbed three additional times (1992, 2003, 2004). But now that the Cleveland museum has a new exhibit, “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, […]

JD Samson Talks about MEN and All-Gendered Bodies

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Fresh from the Coachella music festival, where she played songs from her debut album with the trio MEN, Talk About Body, JD Samson is back in New York, and it is her first conversation of the day. Formerly of the fabulous Le Tigre, now part of the electric and eminently danceable MEN (with Michael O’Neill […]

Pop’s Diva Daughter as Primal Mother

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I’ve been looking forward to the music video of Lady Gaga’s much-hyped single “Born This Way” for several weeks, so, when it premiered Sunday on Vevo I really wanted to love it. Unfortunately, “Born This Way” just doesn’t have the twisted, Mad Hatter brilliance of Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video or the movie-pastiche playfulness and queer […]

Can’t Stop the Women of Hip-Hop

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My awakening to black feminist thought came in 1989 when Queen Latifah, with British rapper Monie Love, rapped about “Ladies First” and opened the music video for this powerful track with a pantheon of fierce black feminist icons: Harriet Tubman, Angela Davis, Frances E. W. Harper. Coincidentally, in the realm of the academy, Patricia Hill Collins published […]

We Heart Esperanza Spalding–But Not How the Grammys Presented Her

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Perhaps the biggest surprise at the unsurprisingly bombastic Grammy Awards last night was the Best New Artist. No, the winner wasn’t tween heartthrob Justin Bieber (whose loss caused an online riot), lover-man rapper Drake, indie darlings Florence and the Machine or even the marvelous Mumford and Sons: It was a 26-year-old standup jazz bass player […]