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It's Ted talks daily, I'm Elise Hu.
Music carries tremendous power to connect us to ourselves and one another, but only a tiny percentage of music producers identify as women, which means the songs we turn up in our cars are in our earbuds can end up spreading harmful ideas about women. In her Ted 20-20 talk, Madam Gandhi shares an alternative track. It features something refreshing.
So often I'll take a fitness class or I'll go to a music venue or really anywhere that plays music in the background, and I'll find myself loving the rhythms and the melodies and the beats. And then I take a second to listen to the lyrics, lyrics that, for example, place us in a position of subservience that we would never tolerate in any other context.
And I am aghast at the degree to which we normalize sexism in our culture.
I listen to this music and I'm like, I don't want to have to turn up to the sound of my own oppression. You know, music is one of the most powerful forms of communication because it has the potential to either uplift or oppress. Music caters to the emotions, music caters to the soul, music opens up our soul, it opens up our channels to receive information about somebody else's walk of life, to inform our own roles. And while I have no problem with male fantasy, what I do have a problem with is that, according to a recent study, only two point six percent of all music producers identify as women.
That means an even smaller percentage identify as trans or gender nonconforming. And why does this matter? Because if we don't own and control our own narrative, somebody else will tell our stories for us and they will get it wrong, perpetuating the very myths that hold us back. And I'm not here to tell other people how to make their music. But I am here to provide and design the alternative, one strategy I take in my music is making uplifting, energetic, percussive global beats and placing lyrics on top of them that genuinely describe my life's experiences without contributing to the oppression of anybody else.
It's funny because it's the same reason as to why we excuse so many problematic lyrics. It's because we love how the beats make us feel. An example of this is my song, Topknot TurnUp. I turn off my phone notifications so I have more time, no bubbles to trouble my clear state of mind. One thing to know, I'm not here to please her tied up or do it properly.
But time is not your property when I'm productive, like my ovaries, a give a grown girl room to breathe basic rights in her liberty free from insecurity. The world is projecting onto me. Please do not trouble me when I am focused. The future is female. You already know this.
I'm fighting against the corruption that's go to set up in my top is when I first wrote this. So I'm not sure that I'm not trying to. The top concern, not just how much, but it's a top concern.
I want us to keep making sex positive, beautiful music about joy and freedom.
I want us to embrace our own pleasure just as much as we embrace our own pain. I want us to celebrate the authentic, nuanced, multidimensional aspects of our human existence rather than perform false narratives of degrading sexuality in order to feel accepted or loved. And another strategy that I take in my music to combat the misogyny that exists on the airwaves is to visually depict the very world I wish we lived in in the music video for my song See Me Through, which is like a very queer electronic RMV song.
I cast two of my dear friends onea and desire to play the role of the lovers because they're married in real life. But what you don't know is that they also are behind the camera concept and directing the entire video.
Music should be safe and accessible for all to experience. It's not about losing the sex appeal or swag that music has.
It's about writing messages that infuse tenderness and positivity into music that motivates us and challenges us. And while we as musicians absolutely have the responsibility to make music that isn't disempowering, the consumers can be part of the change, too. Firstly, we get to choose which songs we want to mute and which songs we want to turn louder. We get to say I respect myself enough to say I don't want to listen to this and I don't want this to be in anybody else's space either.
Secondly, we can simply ask ourselves, does this music or this message contribute to the oppression of somebody else?
Why am I tolerating it? And finally, we can all be choosing to make playlists or deejay music that provides the reviver mood that we're looking for in that moment without the problematic messaging. Why does this matter? Because it's teaching algorithms in our streaming systems in our world exactly what it is that we do want to listen to creating long term change and a feedback mechanism that impacts the entire industry.
This is not a message for just a small group of people. This is a message that affects everybody, because when we protect and liberate our most vulnerable genders, we liberate everybody. PR ex.