Bad Ass Women of Music!
By Gabe Llanas – Follow on Twitter @xraystyle or @outsidelongbox
So we here at Thinking Outside the Longbox have just started doing the articles, and that puts us behind the eight ball on something we should have been writing about all month. Women! It is Women’s History Month and we would be honest to goodness shitheels if we didn’t say anything about some of the amazing women that have made our pop culture better. So without further fanfare, let’s talk about some of the bad ass women of music.
So Pussy Riot is punk as fuck. In an oppressive Russian political landscape they are willing to speak up for those that don’t have a voice. Going so far as to take beatings in public from the police, and doing some serious jail time. Best known for their guerrilla performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Russia, these amazing women are bold, fearless and outspoken. With lyrics that focus on femenisim, LGBTQ rights and opposition to the ever ongoing Putin administration there is no doubt that their continued existence is a thorn in the side of Russian authority. You can’t frighten passion out of a person, and Pussy Riot is proof.
Part of the 2 Tone ska movement The Selecter were unique in the boys club by having a female vocalist, Pauline Black. While ska was already bucking trends in the 70’s UK music scene by featuring mixed race lineups that played a hype version of Jamaican music, The Selecter took it a step further with Black. When asked about musicians’ responsibility by Female First Black said, “The only reason for being in The Selecter is to raise awareness of what’s going on around us, particularly things that involve racism, sexism. That was what 2 Tone was suppose to be about, that’s why it was called 2 Tone. We’re more interested in the unity of black and white people, men and women, than we are in upholding any differences. There are no differences then.” She still takes her role as a woman in the ska scene seriously still, touring all over the world with The Selecter.
Wanda Jackson is called The Queen of Rockabilly and when she started her career in mid-50’s she was far and away the most aggressive and rowdy female country artist. Touring with Elvis she picked up that rock and roll and country mix that became Rockabilly, and soon was out from under the shadow of Elvis to tour as a headliner. All in spite of being told by executives at Capitol Records that “girls don’t sell albums,” well Wanda is not only alive and kicking ass still, but has been an inspiration to generations of musicians who love Rockabilly!
Laura Jane Grace was not physically born as a female, but like all trans people she knew that she was different. She made a bold decision (as is typical of the punk community), se decided to transition to female mid-career. As the lead singer of Against Me! She received a very mixed reaction from the punk and the world at large. Some people quite accepting of the transition, and others outwardly hostile. She has taken the challenge head on by writing music about her transition, and writing a book. Fearless in the face of hostility she is an inspiration to trans people through her music and the openness with which she tells her story.
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Of all the deaths in 2016, the passing of Sharon Jones was one of the ones that hit me the hardest. Called the female James Brown she was truly the hardest working woman in show business, to the point of touring while battling cancer. With the kind of soul voice that leans on greats like Aretha and Ella, but uniquely her own in its power she was an amazing performer that always wowed the crowd. She proved over and over again that it wasn’t a Man’s World, that even in the darkest of times, she was at the top of her game. Her death was a gut shot to all the things that are good in the music industry and we can only hope that her legacy is to inspire the next great soul singer!
This is just a tiny taste of some of the amazing women of music, and to give you even more we have created a Spotify playlist for you to listen to! Let us know what you think and give it a follow, we’ll keep adding amazing women to the list! Also tell us who you love on Instagram or Twitter (@outsidelongbox) Facebook (/thinkingoutsidethelongbox) or right here in the comments. We would love to hear what you think. Happy Women’s History Month!
Bad Ass Women of Music Playlist on Spotify
Bad Ass Women of Music!