Hop in the car and turn the stereo up loud. From Little Rock, Arkansas to Charleston, South Carolina to New Orleans, we are road-tripping across the southeast to check out some of our favorite feminist musicians while checking out the local sites. This bluesy-punk playlist has soul and twang.
You can also listen to these songs and more on Unsweetened: A Playlist for a Feminist Future on Spotify.
Dazz and Brie, “To the Danger”
We’ll kick off this road trip in Little Rock, Arkansas. We’ll listen to Dazz and Brie, a rock ‘n soul woman-fronted duo, and check out the Esse Purse Museum, where we’ll see the evolution of the 20th-century American woman through their bags and their contents.
Valerie June, “Workin’ Woman Blues”
Cross the Mississippi River to the Magnolia State to check out Valerie June and the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. June told Rolling Stone that she doesn’t write protest songs, because she doesn’t want to let the world take away the beauty of what she creates by asking her about politics. We hope she won’t be upset that this beautiful song inspires us to protest.
Song Suffragettes, “Time’s Up”
Continue east on I-40 or take the back roads, but check out the Nashville songwriting coalition, the Song Suffragettes. They get together on Monday night at The Listening Room Cafe. The group recorded this empowering song in support of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund to combat sexual misconduct in the workplace. They created the hashtag #LetTheGirlsPlay to bring attention to the shortage of airtime and live performance spots for female country singers.
Shehehe, “Hail Vagina”
Next we head to Athens, Georgia, where Shehehe speaks out against the president and praises the vagina with their fierce garage punk sound. Check out the “Central to Their Lives” exhibit on southern women artists at the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia.
Eartha Kitt, “If I Was a Boy”
Cross the Savannah River and head down to Charleston, South Carolina. Listen to Eartha Kitt’s 1954 gender bending song, while you check out the historic marker outside the childhood home of the Grimke sisters and head to a roller derby bout with the Lowcountry Highrollers.
Emily Estefan, “Fuck to Be”
We’ll sail all the way down 95 to Miami to hear soul singer Emily Estefan. Hailing from a very famous Cuban-American family, Estefan has carved out her own creative space as an artist and a queer activist. “Fuck to Be” is an anthem of rebellion against society’s expectations and the perfect song to sing out loud and proud on Miami Beach – a mecca for queer folks from around the world.
Victoria Jones, “Be Bold”
Head to Selma and turn up Victoria’s Jones’ anthem about being bold while you walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site where armed police attacked Civil Rights de monstrators on March 7, 1965. Don’t forget to visit the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute too.
Bessie Smith, “Washwoman’s Blues”
Take the back roads to Water Valley to check out Mississippi’s first queer and feminist bookstore, Violet Valley Bookstore. Click play on the Bessie Smith playlist to get you in the mood. The queer blues musician articulated black working-class consciousness and shape it.
Gland, “The Velvet Glove of Self Love”
Head south to New Orleans, grab a map, and take yourself on a tour of the infamous Storyville Red Light District. Turn up the volume for Gland and let this badass punk band can get you ready for some live music. No More Fiction, a collective that promotes all-ages shows for girl bands and queer bands, is your tool for finding out what’s happening.
For more, listen here: