arts

Where have all the female musicians gone?



Little 500 week is upon us. For many students, that means seeing Lil Wayne and Pretty Lights in all their glory. However, the traditional Little 500 line-up is missing a key segment of the Bloomington population — women.

These concerts lack the voices of many talented female musicians. And this absence speaks to the way the music industry presents and supports female artists. There are a ton of amazing female artists, yet none of their talent seems to be featured in events like Little 500 and music festivals around the country. There simply is a lack of support for women in music. As a result, artists like Kate Nash and Angelique Kidjo have vowed to work to change this.  

Recently, Kate Nash founded the Kate Nash Rock ’N Roll For Girls After School Music Club. This club attempts to encourage girls of all ages to get involved in music. By exploring music, Nash said she hopes that girls will gain a sense of self-confidence and learn more about female musicians and themselves.

Nash has also started expanding her campaign by going to schools and talking about female artists and their music. She said she hopes that by exposing kids to female rockers like Joan Jett and Patti Smith she can help them cultivate an interest in female singers from all sorts of genres.

Angelique Kidjo also makes a huge social difference with her music and outside her music. Kidjo is an artist from the West African nation of Benin who is actively involved in promoting women’s rights and female education throughout the continent of Africa.
In 2006, she founded The Batonga Foundation, a group that helps to provide an education to African girls. The organization currently works in Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mali and Sierra Leone.
Each country has different goals and initiatives; the overall projects of the program are to build more schools and provide better teachers and materials to students. It also funds girls’ education and works with the surrounding areas to promote women’s education and help to engage students in their local communities.

Both Kate Nash and Angelique Kidjo’s projects illustrate the positive changes that female singers can make with their music. Rather than merely gravitating toward the crazy celebrities that made the headlines, we should be interested in artists that truly make a positive difference with their music. By looking to these women as role models we can listen to music that speaks to more than just the current trends and choose instead to listen to music that means something — music that attempts to empower women around the globe.

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