women-musicians

Tonight I noticed that one of my posts on R&B / Funk / Pop goddess Janelle Monáe has been getting a lot of shares. For all you androids out there, here are some photos of The Electric Lady:

- Chilling with Cookie Monster on Sesame Street

- Hanging with Chance the Rapper

- Chatting with Alicia Keys

- CROWD SURFING

Watch her perform the song live: "Lettin Go"

When I started my music career, I was a maid. I used to clean houses. My mother was a proud janitor. My stepfather, who raised me like his very own, worked at the post office and my father was a trashman. They all wore uniforms and that’s why I stand here today, in my black and white, and I wear my uniform to honor them.

This is a reminder that I have work to do. I have people to uplift. I have people to inspire. And today, I wear my uniform proudly as a Cover Girl. I want to be clear, young girls, I didn’t have to change who I was to become a Cover Girl. I didn’t have to become perfect because I’ve learned throughout my journey that perfection is the enemy of greatness.”

- The amazing Janelle Monáe

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It’s Not Just Björk: Women Are Tired of Not Getting Credit for Their Own Music

Pitchfork published a new interview with Björk on Wednesday, and in it she speaks powerfully about the kind of sexism she’s faced in her career. Asked by Jessica Hopper about early reports that Arca was the “sole producer” on the album rather than, as Arca later clarified, a co-producer, Björk opened up about how she’s been denied due credit for the production on her albums again and again. “I didn’t want to talk about that kind of thing for 10 years,” she said, “but then I thought, ‘You’re a coward if you don’t stand up. Not for you, but for women. Say something.’ ” Here she is on her experience with the new album:

It wasn’t just one journalist getting it wrong, everybody was getting it wrong. I’ve done music for, what, 30 years? I’ve been in the studio since I was 11; [Arca] had never done an album when I worked with him. He wanted to put something on his own Twitter, just to say it’s co-produced. I said, “No, we’re never going to win this battle. Let’s just leave it.” But he insisted.

She compared the way the press talks about her to the way they talk about Kanye West. West works with a wide array of producers on his albums (onYeezus, he worked with Arca, just like Björk), “yet no one would question his authorship for a second,” Björk says. And she described how male producers sometimes ended up getting outsized credit when she co-produced Vespertine:

For example, I did 80 percent of the beats on Vespertine and it took me three years to work on that album, because it was all microbeats—it was like doing a huge embroidery piece. Matmos came in the last two weeks and added percussion on top of the songs, but they didn’t do any of the main parts, and they are credited everywhere as having done the whole album. [Matmos’] Drew [Daniel] is a close friend of mine, and in every single interview he did, he corrected it. And they don’t even listen to him.  

She added that she wanted “to support young girls who are in their 20s now and tell them: You’re not just imagining things.”

It might be the sheer stubborn persistence of these stereotypes that’s most frustrating of all. After all, Pitchfork’s Hopper references Joni Mitchell observing, years ago, “how whichever man was in the room with her got credit for her genius.” Even now, years later, says Björk, “Everything that a guy says once, you have to say five times.” But maybe even five times isn’t enough.”

Read the full piece here, I’ve only covered the Bjork section! The writer covers Grimes, Solange Knowles, Taylor Swift, and Neko Case’s reactions to sexist assumptions about their songwriting.

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Archaeological Museum of Piraeus:

Bare breasted girls dancing around a censer and playing the kithara, from the base of a nuptial lebes (4th century B.C), (Trachones, from the Geroulanos collection)

Note that the woman might have not been bare-breasted initially. In many cases a whiter pigment used for ribbons and clothes- probably a base for colour- can be seen fading and leaving only a faint impression. Since there are some little details in relief, the nakedness might be a draft to aid a subsequent rendering of the female anatomy in relief as well. Under close inspection the woman rather seems to be wearing a type of vest.

One day we are going to have a special about ancient women partying hard.