The movements that have arisen recently to challenge racism and violence in our justice system have created not only discussion and outrage, but a cultural shift. Out of racism and violence and sexism has come creativity: songs, chants, art, policy ideas, creative ways to push back against power and reimagine the way our world can be. On today’s show, we’re looking at the culture that has grown from recent protests—in Portland, in New York, in St. Louis, San Francisco, and Cleveland—from art made on the streets to songs that wind up at the Academy Awards.
First, writer Tasha Fierce reads an essay that will be published in the upcoming Law & Order issue of Bitch exploring the history of black women leading civil rights movements—from the 1960s all the way to Black Lives Matter. Then, we listen through a growing archive of protest chants and think about how future historians will look back on today’s protests. Finally, musician and writer Jordannah Elizabeth makes us a mixtape of current protest music.
If you’ve been paying any attention to the news, you know that the last few months have been a hard time to be a geek girl. Media critics and gamers who have spoken up about sexism in the video game industry have been subjected to online harassment that has escalated into death threats. People who care about pop culture and video games—as well as other geeky pursuits like comics and tabletop games—have devoted a ton of emotional energy to dealing with these aggressive haters. So for today’s show, we’re flipping the script. Instead of giving all this nastiness any more of our time and energy, we’re focusing on six women who are doing awesome work to make geek culture better.
We take a trip to a Magic: The Gathering tournament, get a download from hip-hop artist Sammus about how to turning classic video game soundtracks into brand-new beats, hear game designer Elizabeth Sampat break down sexist myths about women in the video game industry, listen to a Destination DIY profile of an artist who lasercuts mobiles of internet memes, and sit down with nerd-rock sister duo The Doubleclicks to talk about making bad news into heart-warming songs.
This episode of Popaganda is sponsored by If Only Cats Could Talk, an experimental film documenting the true story of two all-American cats eager to explore the world beyond domesticated life.
Individual show segments and more ways to listen are below the cut!
Why do we fear change? Revision is essential to the work of writers, artists, musicians, and activists. On this episode inspired by Bitch's current print issue, we explore revision in three different artistic mediums. First, we talk with writer Stephanie Abrahamabout how the star of classic sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie" morphed from a Baghdad-born genie to a mainstream Florida housewife. Then, we sit back and listen to Hrishikesh Hirway of the podcast Song Exploder talk with musician Julia Holter about how she puts together a song. Finally, Bitch Media's Art Director Kristin Rogers Brown discusses designing magazine covers and what to do when good art ideas go horribly wrong.
I wasn’t too familiar with Warpaint until I saw their set at this year’s Pickathon Festival in Happy Valley, Oregon. While I was living in Minneapolis, I remember their lead single “Undertow” was popular on Minnesota Public Radio. The DJs used cheesy words like “psychedelic” and “groovy’ to describe their sound but that didn’t keep me from turning up the volume without shame.
Bold new bands fronted by LGBT folks are busting open Seattle's music scene, which has long had a reputation as the epicenter of a sound dominated by plaid-wearing indie rock dudes. We talk with the organizers of Seattle's 'Mo-Wave queer music and arts fest, get music picks from queer music podcast Homoground, and talk with show-stopping Seattle band Glitterbang.
This episode pairs well with our recent QueerShake mixtape, which features bands like THEESatisfaction and Magic Mouth.
A photo from the San Francisco event marking the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers in 2010. (credit:Steve Rhodes, via Creative Commons)
Last month, I dropped my daughter off with my mother and went into San Francisco to be a part of the tenth annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.
On the train on the way over, I spent some time on Twitter. That morning, news about R. Kelly was blowing up my feed. Finally, it seems like music fans are actually talking about the outrageousness of his new album Black Panties, whose cover and promo campaign include images that are practically bragging about his appetite for black teenage girls.
In the mid 1980’s Seattle was bursting with pride when several independent rock bands that created a musical hybrid that incorporated rock, heavy metal, hardcore and punk gained national and international attention. Grunge music and its accompanying culture coincided with the emergence of third-wave feminism and Seattle bands featured the work of a number of strong women musicians and artists.
This is a big year for musicians who grew up with the Riot Grrrl movement. In this episode, we talk with iconic musicians Kathleen Hanna and JD Samson about their new albums and writer Laina Dawes provides a different perspective with an essay, “Why I was never a riot grrrl.”
Autumn is the best season for new music, in terms of sheer volume. Musicians record all winter, road test in the spring, play the hits on summer festival stages, and put out the new material in the fall. To kick off the season, I've chosen nine of the best feminist artists' songs and albums coming out in September or October.
There's disco here, and rock, folk, punk, American blues via Malian Bambara, and more. Let us know what you think, and tell us what you've been listening to this month!