Saturday, August 16, 2008

We Salute You

Earlier today I went to the 9:30 Club from about noon to 1. It was very strange--I've been to the 9:30 Club many many times, but never walked out into the sun before.

But I was there for the first Girls Rock! DC Showcase. GR!DC is a rock camp for girls by women. My sister, Kate, volunteered there, and she's pretty much been bouncing off the wall all week with excitement. I know this, and I've only talked to her like twice.

So sometimes it's exhausting to be a feminist, but sometimes, times like this morning, it's completely exhilarating. This camp is all about teaching girls to rock and all the attendant values and virtues that come along with "rocking"--of which there are many, I can assure you after seeing this morning's show.

I'm not too embarrassed to admit that I fought back tears a few times. Watching a little girl spin is such a non-sequiter, but that's the point. With some notable exceptions, female DJs are few, and, like lots of women in male-dominated fields, women musicians have to work harder than their male counterparts to prove themselves. My dad once told me he just doesn't like women singers. (That feeling you can't seem to place when you dislike a woman but just can't explain it? Yeah, that's sexism.) Though he also doesn't care about lyrics, so we don't have much to talk about when it comes to music.

So, in the last week, these girls formed bands, practiced or learned to play instruments, wrote a song, and cultivated their image. And without exception, their songs were fun, and their images were fierce. There was a lot of confidence on display--a trait that can be so rare and vulnerable in teen girls. One band, the Beat Queens ("like a drum, not like a vegetable") were all about 8 years old and had a whole routine worked out where they asked each other and the audience "Are you ready?" "Thank you, America," Queen Adia, the lead singer, shouted at the end of her set and again at the end of the GR!DC camp song. We ran into her after brunch, and she gave me her autograph.

Some girls are born with that kind of confidence, and I suspect Queen Adia is such a child. But some of us have had to constantly choke down self-doubt and fear and shyness to ever get anything done, and I saw a lot of those girls on stage today too. They're the ones who made me cry, because if they can realize at such a young age that it's awesome to be a girl and to have attitude and style and confidence and not worry about what anyone else thinks, then their lives are going to be that much better, starting today.


Katie said...

"Beat Queens." They're the Beat Queens.

If you recall their song, it went a little something like "We are the Beat Queens, we're ready to ROCK ROCK ROCK! We are the Beat Queens, we're not gonna STOP STOP STOP!"

But I'm totes jeal that you got the singer's autograph.

David said...

Thanks for helping me preserve the memory of Saturday morning...I'm the indescribably proud, teary-eyed old man of the Beat Queens' drummer, Rhythm Queen.

What an amazing experience we had, and I can only imagine what Rhythm Queen has taken from her 6 days with Girls Rock! DC.

Lizard said...

My pleasure, David. Glad to help--and apologies for mangling the name of your daughter's band :)