Women Fuck Shit Up Fest 2017

This year I headlined day 1 of Women Fuck Shit Up Fest 2017, which took place in Downtown LA. I was more vulnerable at this show than I usually am, I think it was because I could feel that many of the audience members were fellow women musicians.

About Women Fuck Shit Up Fest 2017:

Now in its third year, Women Fuck Shit Up Fest returns with a two-day cavalcade of art, music and unity. This year’s lineup is staggering in its breadth and depth, with almost 40 artists spread across two venues, including multi-instrumentalist and double violin virtuoso Gingger Shankar, Fat Wreck Chords power-pop combo Bad Cop/Bad Cop, drumming and electronics firebrand Madame Gandhi, and Moldy Peach Kimya Dawson. This year, the fest benefits Alexandria House, a transitional home in Koreatown, which has for the past 20 years been there for single women and moms making the leap from an emergency shelter to a more permanent home.  – David Cotner

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I spoke about how growing up, while I enjoyed playing music with boys because they challenged me, it also was really tough. It was tough when I’d feel excluded from jokes that I didn’t think were funny, have to cover songs that didn’t really resonate with me, not feel like my opinions were really welcome and when I was made to feel like I wasn’t that good of a drummer.

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Instead of trying to break into broey rock band culture, I remember instead starting to do my own thing drumming along side musicians and DJs who valued me, and I started forging my own style of drumming as a result. By the time the M.I.A gig came around, I was almost entirely playing with women, not only as a political statement but also because I was more comfortable around other female musicians and therefore performed better. I shared this on the mic to say it’s ok to put yourself in places where you feel you will shine, instead of trying to break into something that isn’t valuing you.

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This can be said of all types of spaces that women are typically excluded. I believe the more that we start our own shit, and go where we are genuinely valued, the better the quality of our contributions will be because we aren’t performing from a place of stress or having to prove ourselves simply because of our gender, we are performing from a place where we are wanted.

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On March 8th, the leaders of the 2017 women’s march are organizing a day without women, in which women will opt out of participating in the economy to send a signal that if you do not value us, we will go else where. Remember this always, if you don’t want to be somewhere, you don’t have to.

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At Women Fuck Shit Up fest, I also wrote the setlist such that it embodied this notion I speak often about called three-dimensional femininity in which we honor and accept our full spectrum of emotions.

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In the opening DJ set I was wailing on the megaphone, but in the middle of the set I was missing a lover on Gandhi Blues. In Her, I fucked shit up on my drum set, and by the final anthem The Future is Female I was on the mic telling my audience what that phrase means to me, and how I want to live in a world that elevates and celebrates the female voice, instead of suppressing our thoughts and contributions.

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So much of messaging targeted towards women today tells us how to think, act, feel, dress etc. Instead, I want to live in a world that gives us the space to do, think, feel, dress and act however the fuck we want. Or else we will fuck shit up.

Photos by Studio Mi Castro, Ruth Torres, Amina Cruz and Yasmin Castro