Who can you expect to see?
I am a proud black, queer and high femme who’s been a card carrying feminist since the age of 12. To me, Feminism is a beautiful kaleidoscope of women of various abilities, gender identifications, classes and races coming together in rage, fun, love and sex to create radically inclusive spaces. Our movement is strong only when we embrace and include every person who self-identifies as a woman.
For me, it isn’t about words, it’s about action. It’s about lending a hand to your sisters, building your community and holding women up with you. In my work, in my world and in my music, I do my best to make sure all women – no matter their colour, class, sexuality or history – can one day live in a world where their gender doesn’t matter, where women have control over their own bodies, and where women have freedom.
I just love women, body and soul, and can’t remember a time when I didn’t. I love to see women succeed. I love women’s stamina, generosity and (sometimes hidden) strength. I love women’s minds and bodies and our endless capacity for comedy, forgiveness and love. I blame my mother who was always pointing out attractive women to me! I also blame my father who was always talking about the return of the divine feminine! Bless them. I love, to the point of worship, Femmes and feminine women especially – they make life worth living. If you are one of these women, it’s for you and because of you that I write love songs. I love it when we can respect each other’s necessary toughness but also the vulnerable human within. I appreciate this SLD project as, from the very beginning, it’s been a way of creating a revolutionary social and artistic space. It allows the experimentation, community and creativity which, for many of us, is a rare luxury. Women are the ultimate lovers and the ultimate fighters. Every one of us is magical and capable of miracles. That’s why I will always be a womanist to my core!
In the past, and occasionally still now, I’ve found it can be all too easy to allow myself to feel insecure based on gender stereotypes and expectations, particularly in musical situations. As a female musician and a drummer, it seems most people I encounter at gigs or on sessions have a preconceived idea of how I will play, or what I will sound like. Sadly its usually not a positive expectation. I have always unconsciously reacted to this by trying to be the best I possibly can be, in myself, regardless of my gender, challenging stereotypes and embodying feminism in my day to day life.
Feminism to me is my mum and my aunt, the strong women who raised me and my cousins on their own. In my line of work it can prove to challenge giving back to the cause, but personally, I use my art as a means of communicating love and compassion for all. Music is for everyone and I choose to share it with as many open people as possible. At times I feel like just turning up to a project already breaks down a whole load of stereotypes of what it is to be a black female classical violinist. As a teacher, I am able to engage and inspire younger generations of girls to have a focus, work hard, be determined, strong and most importantly PROUD!!
I grew up in foster care. If I wanted to look decent for primary school, I had to oil my own skin and fix my Afro hair which, at any age, can be difficult to manage. I would sit in my room and write songs; pages and pages of words, and I was able to play with words and hear my own voice. Then I began to sing. Neighbours in the area would hear me singing in my room and tell me how beautiful I sounded; I was just 10 years old. Nobody had ever encouraged me to sing, and it was my independant intuition that brought me to hear the sound of my own voice. I just had to create music as nothing else came so naturally to me. Own who you are and where you have come from. What has made you the woman you are today? What is your story? It’s about owning every part of your journey and inspiring other women to do the same.
Women are integral to my politics and beliefs, and runs through everything I say, create and do. Women are my life; they nourish and heal me, inspire and support me, and energise me every day to continue being the woman that I am now proud to be.