Feminist Lockdown Classics🎧
London - lockdown week 7 and, if like me, you are looking for some inspiration here are some feminist tunes for your play list.
Music holds a special place in my life. My mum always had the radio on and more than any other art form, it has the power to lift my mood, make me dance and smile - just what we all need while we are still, mostly, stuck inside.
Over the past few weeks, we will all have experienced a range of emotions that can be difficult to comprehend or contain – and with the world in constant flux, we face uncertainties and new realities.
The title of Alice Walker's collection of poem: ‘Hard times require furious dancing’ has become my lockdown motto! I've played the 30-day music challenges with friends and family - and again - dug out old favourites and discovered artists and musicians from many different parts of the world along the way.
Music is more than great sounds – it’s powerful lyrics and ideas, it’s travel, escapism and memories; and that’s why it brings such joy.
So, here’s a playlist for you all combining some timeless classics, old and new favourites, some headbanging, rabble-rousing and hip wiggling tunes – because we’ll all need more of these to get us through!
And these are some of my favourites on the list. What are yours?
Legend Nina Simone’s soulful and timeless classic Feeling Good is like an affirmation of inner peace and power, a desire to move forward and focus on the good times ahead:
“It’s a new dawn
It's a new day
It’s a new life for me
And I’m feeling good.”
Country music mega star Dolly Parton’s fast paced 9 to 5 captures the reality of the working day and conditions – especially for women who are often overworked, underpaid and disrespected. The song has become particularly relevant at a time when women are taking on even more unpaid care responsibilities.
80’s rock icon, Annie Lennox, teams up with the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, for this powerful feminist anthem Sisters are doing it for themselves:
“So we're comin' out of the kitchen 'Cause there's somethin' we forgot to say to you (we say)
Sisters are doin' it for themselves. Standin' on their own two feet.”
Rowdy 1970’s English punk rock band X-Ray Spex bring us Oh bondage, Up yours! – an irreverent powerful rejection of social and gender norms which begins with:
“Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard
And I think - oh bondage – up yours!
1234 ….” and BOOM!
Bikini Kill high energy 90’s Rebel Girl is a song about sisterhood - a refreshing battle cry for togetherness and friendship – in a world where women are often pitted against one another.
I only just discovered Ana Tijoux, but love her powerful political, feminist, antifascist music and Antipatriarca ticks all the boxes.
I first heard anti-apartheid activist Busi Mhlongo’s Yehlisam’umoya ma-Afrika by chance, after listening to legendary Miriam Makeba (aka Mama Afrika) and was so mesmerised I wanted to share it far and wide.
Beyonce’s rap tune ***flawless about rising in the morning looking perfect, doesn’t need much introduction - but worth mentioning the special feature - a snippet from Nigerian feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s* TED talk – just saying!
*Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, The Thing Around Your Neck, Americanah, and We Should All Be Feminists
Syrian-American rapper and activist Mona Haydar’s Hijabi is as self-explanatory as it is necessary - a powerful antidote to constructions of femininities of the Muslim ‘other’ in western culture.
Lizzo’s Juice is THE feelgood song – full stop! It’s fun, it’s cheeky, it’s sassy – so get on the proverbial dancefloor – now!
“If I’m gonna shine,
Everybody’s gonna shine!”
Closing off with a beautiful, reflective song by all round feminist super star Amanda Palmer – In my mind.
The lockdown is having a massive impact on women. Thinking of survivors of violence* and women and non-binary people working on the frontline – for whom this has been a particularly gruelling time.
*If you or any one you know has been or is affected you can contact: Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247 - and more information available on www.refuge.org.uk and www.womensaid.org.uk/covid-19-coronavirus-safety-advice-for-survivors/