Can’t Stop the Women of Hip-Hop

JanelleMonae

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 […]

Last-Minute Xmas Downloads: Sisters Doin’ It For Themselves

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Need some perfect season-greeting music for Christmas Eve and Day? You can’t go wrong with two excellent new albums by fiercely independent, iconic women artists–Annie Lennox’s A Christmas Cornucopia and Shelby Lynne’s Merry Christmas. Lennox earned her feminist-for-life stripes with decades worth of powerful, unapologetic songs and singing–and not just with her corny-but-rousing 1985 duet with Aretha Franklin, “Sisters Are Doin’ […]

Injecting F-Words Into Music with Kate Nash

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A proud feminist who views her music as an art form that can change young people’s lives, British singer/songwriter Kate Nash prides herself on redefining sexy. “Real sexiness is about confidence, intelligence, mystery, art and passion,” she recently wrote for The Independent. Nash, who toured with the Lilith Fair this summer, is best-known in the […]

Gaga’s Meaty Protest

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It didn’t take long for fashion and food columnists alike to churn out their reactions to what may be Lady’s Gaga most infamous fashion choice yet: an outfit made entirely of raw meat. Gaga accepted her Video of the Year award at the recent Video Music Awards dressed head to toe in 50 pounds of […]

Candied Katy Perry Says “Eat Me”

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Katy Perry’s California Gurls is, without doubt, the it pop-song of the summer. It’s everything a summer pop song should be–sweet and easy to digest. The accompanying video lays bare, well, both Perry and the candy-like nature of her pop. Directed by Matthew Cullen, the video features Perry in a literal Candyland (called Candyfornia), lying nude on […]

Happy 150th Birthday, Annie Oakley!

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“She’s obsessed.” That’s what my friends roll their eyes and say after asking me what I’ve been up to lately. The object of my obsession: the great American sharpshooting icon Annie Oakley. I’ve now spent more than two years in research and creative devotion after, by chance, catching a PBS documentary of Oakley’s life. I became engrossed as […]

Women Musicians Tell NPR It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World

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Women in rock have come a long way since Joan Jett was told girls don’t play electric guitar. We have guitars made for women, by women. We have girl rock camps. Surely the music world is a friendlier place in this day and age. Right? Maybe not so much. In March, National Public Radio surveyed […]

Chrissie Hynde at Almost 60: No Pretending

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A 50-something rock n’ roller with a 20-something girlfriend hanging off his arm: You know the scene, it’s as old as Keith Richards. But what if we invert it? How about a 50-something rock n’ roller with a 20-something boyfriend hanging off her arm? Cue Chrissie Hynde. In her first full album without the Pretenders, […]

Is Lilith Fair Feminist? Sarah McLachlan’s Not Sure

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After a decade of silence, Sarah McLachlan rallied another troupe to make a nationwide pilgrimage in the name of the goddess Lilith. Not old enough to drive a car the last time Lilith Fair came around, I thought I had missed my opportunity forever back in 1999. Even so, McLachlan’s “Mirrorball” was the soundtrack to my teenage angst and I knew the collaborative Lilith version of the Indigo Girl’s “Closer […]