If anything good can come from Trump et al. and the rising tide of reductive thinking, it should be how clearly such developments have highlighted the ongoing (and potentially worsening) situation re. equality, and the potential to mobilise people in the fight against discrimination. The obvious high profile example, Women’s March on Washington, pretty much overshadowed the inauguration and did little to ease the panicked over-defensive vibes emanating from the White House. After modest beginnings with Teresa Shook days after the election, the movement grew and grew, with over 670 declared solidarity marches taking place across all seven continents (as shown nicely on this handy map).
Now, aside from certain misgivings pertaining to the diversity and focus of such events, there’s also a long and likely important discussion as to what degree protest alone can change (see Micah White’s case in The Guardian, citing the relative failure of Occupy). However, there is little doubt that activism is as or more important than it’s been for years. The tricky part will be maintaining this level of enthusiasm and commitment to equality beyond single marches or petitions. As White writes at the end of his piece: “The Women’s March on Washington has a role to play in this unfolding drama, but only if we cultivate a few moments of detachment from the thoughtless excitement to truly take time to consider this question: what happens on the day after the women march?”
The answer, I think, should be a doubling down on listening to women, non-binary folks and people of colour. Like, truly listening. Allowing them not only a voice but also the respect/power/position that will enable such a voice to enact social and political change. This can and should start at the smallest levels, equating to nothing more than a commitment to seeking out non-male/white opinions and voices and considering them with equal weight. Look for female journalists and authors and thinkers, PoC musicians and artists and film-makers. Heck, even just read The Le Sigh and Swell Tone and The Grey Estates, anything to shift your perspective away from the dominant voices. Do this until your bookshelf and record collection and Twitter feed look a little different, and the worldview that’s being beamed to you will look a little different too.
We’re under no illusion that our blog posts and mixtapes will solve anything, or that we’re preaching to the converted in this cool little echo chamber. So consider this as us shutting up for a few minutes, both to give space to voices that need it and a reminder that we’re standing by, on your side. You’ve lit the match, it’s time the void went flash. Never think that what you are doing is too small, and never assume that you are doing enough.
1. Jenny Hval – Untamed Region
2. Oh Rose – Running
3. Camp Cope – Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams
4. The Breeders – Hag
5. Screaming Females – Mothership
6. BB Cream – Heroine
7. Shannen Moser – A Funeral, A Friend, My Sanity
8. Tanukichan – Enough
9. Noname – Reality Check
10. Patti Smith – Kimberly
11. Sammus – Perfect, Dark
12. Vagabon – Fear & Force
13. Diet Cig – Tummy Ache
14. Jay Som – The Bus Song
15. Haybaby – Her
16. Betty Becky – Telegraph Ave
17. Suburban Lawns – Janitor
18. Heavens to Betsy – Nothing Can Stop Me
19. Tacocat – Dana Katherine Scully
20. Colour Me Wednesday – Two Fifty For You Girls
21. Allison Crutchfield – Dean’s Song
22. Cherry Glazerr – Nuclear Bomb
23. Mal Devisa – Dominatrix
24. Nicole Dollanganger – American Tradition
25. Angel Olsen – Sister
P.S. This seems a good time to remind you that Nancy Kells of Spartan Jet-Plex recently put out Friends For Equality, a compilation in support of the Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU and Planned Parenthood. In addition, she has arranged a benefit show in Richmond, VA in support of Forward Together and Sister Song (full details here).
There have also been similarly great releases like Wren & Shark and Friends, Don’t Stop Now (featuring covers by the likes of Lisa Prank and Augusta Koch of Cayetana) and Our First 100 Days. Oh, and some specially written songs by Hip Hatchet and Adeem the Artist.
Photo by Benjamin Lovell