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They Put That On Mamas: On Mothers' Day & Hip-Hop

In the last few months, I have been very pleased with the hip-hop and rap communities paying more respect to women. The genres' art sets my soul aflame, yet very few things make my blood boil the way sexism does, especially in the way it has been normalized in the hip-hop culture for decades.  


For me, there is something deeply therapeutic about blaring gangster rap while I let my mind wander to the rhythmic beats and storytelling lyrics.  And now, hearing more and more male rappers empower women gives it all more gusto. There has been a domino effect in this culture that I want to recognize since this weekend is all about the mamas.  

The Wimpact’s very own Christian Haywood owes much of his motivation, drive and inspiration to his late mother - a strong women in his life that keep him woke.  Earlier this year, Haywood released a single featuring Nina Nicole entitled “Halo”, and it was made with the women in his life in mind.

Photo courtesy of Haywood

“The song is talking about a girl who’s come from nothing and was looked down upon and now she’s thriving,” Haywood explained. 

“There’s a few things that inspired me: I grew up with a single parent.  I’m sure that song could apply to my mother forty years ago, but it could also apply to somebody today.  I felt that with everything going on with politics, it’s really important to hit on these issues because there’s not enough empowerment to women in the hip-hop community right and the hip-hop culture is one of the most impactful cultures right now, so why aren’t we using hip-hop to empower everybody right now who is going through it, so I thought this would be a good opportunity. The song just came out, I wrote it really fast, but then I was thinking, ‘What made me do this?’ and I was just thinking about everything that’s been going on.  My girlfriend (a feminist) is an inspiration for this song, everything that’s been going on.”

Graduating with a degree in Sociology, Haywood was able to understand gender and feminism and why it matters, while his girlfriend, Morgan, schooled him differently.  

Haywood said, “She actually taught me through her actions. She never taught me about feminism through sitting down and talking to each other. The way she explained why she believed the things she believed made more sense to me and I was like, ‘Wow, that makes so much sense!' and I felt like, 'Why aren’t all men feminists?'" [The Wimpact family wonders the same thing.] 

Photo via Kendrick Lamar's Facebook

"But we wouldn’t be a movement if that were the case," he continues. "Why aren’t we helping our women out because it makes so much sense because I never really understood it until I started dating Morgan.  And I never thought I would date a feminist, ever.”  

Other artists that come to mind from the last few months that show mad love to women are Kendrick Lamar, Wale and Empire’s Hakeem. Kendrick Lamar embraces ‘real’ women, and highlights how the industry needs to portray women as they are with his song “Humble.”  And in Empire’s Season 3 Episode 13, Hakeem learns the basics of feminism and makes a song apologizing to women while praising them.  In Wale’s “Thank God”, he mentions when his feminist side comes out.

Let's not forget rappers like Tupac Shakur, Nas and many more for keeping us woke early on.  2pac had several songs recognizing what women go through and social issues with “Dear Mama”, “Keep Ya Head Up”, “Brenda’s Gotta Baby”,  “Unconditional Love”and “Changes”.  Nas held men accountable with song, “Daughters”.


Hip-hop is simply making moves for the better.

May CTA: Do Not Go Easy on HARD Summer

Last month, our call-to-action asked all Wimpact members to ‘Fest Your Best’. With festival season just kicking off in April with Coachella, Tortuga, Jazzfest and Stagecoach, it seemed as good a time as any to introduce the following actions we should all do at festivals this year: 1) Be an active bystander, 2) Dress consciously, 3) Support women artist through power in numbers and 4) Understand onsite safety resources available to you.

Then, to kickoff the month of May, HARD Summer released their annual lineup announcement trailer. Watching it causes one to have no words in reaction, yet at the same time, a whole fuck ton of words, actually. Here are some of our words and thoughts, but don’t read until you watch the trailer HERE and form your own opinion:

The HARD Summer trailer is a shining example of the catch-22 that is the advancement of women in music (and any industry, for that matter). On the one hand, HARD Summer actually heard the criticism that essentially every festival has faced about the lack of women on their lineups. They took that criticism in stride and included more female artists in their 2017 go around. This is the tangible part and an improvement, no less.

However, this is a catch-22, remember? We got the increased amount of women on the lineup we asked for, but then we also got this shit video demeaning those same women. And hey - we get it. There is very clearly air of sarcasm in this video that tries, but fails at mocking the patriarchal BS of the music industry. What the trailer actually comes across as, though, is a sad pat-on-the-back for doing the bare minimum.

We almost forgot about the most hilariously horrifying part of the whole trailer. For HARD Summer claiming to be so inclusive of “girls” on their lineup, the first female artist on the roster is not listed until nearly 5 minutes into an 8 minute video. Do better.

Ultimately, we thank you, HARD Summer, for booking more women this year. But how about for the 2018 edition you book us at a higher rate than this year’s 23% of your lineup? How about you also do so as a point of pride, a point of distinction that other festivals should strive for? Not as a kitschy joke or mockery.

Oh, and hey Wimpacters! This month, we are re-upping. We are making this month’s call-to-action an expanded and more urgent version of our April CTA. We are asking all members to go to festivals this summer, with an emphasis on last month’s Tip #3 - Support women artist through power in numbers. It seems even more crucial to do so now, and you will be hearing all about this throughout this month’s newsletter.

So go to every festival under the sun and support women. Go to HARD Summer and support the shit out of Anna Lunoe, Charli XCX, Nina Las Vegas, Ellen Allien, Uffie, Gina Turner, DJ Heather B2B Collette, Sita Abellan, GG Magree, CRAY, Jubilee, Qrion, Masha, Whipped Cream, Tinashe, J. Philip, Kim Ann Foxman, Nancy Whang, Louisahhh, Tink, Madam X, Kittens, J Worra, Uniqu3 and the Deux Twins.

Member of the Month: Jessica Brown

Our May Wimpact Member of the Month comes to us from the world of music festival operations. Meet Jessica Brown, an incredibly upbeat and hard-working festival gal who has been a jack-of-all-trades across the industry for almost a decade! Read our interview with Jess below and learn a little bit more about her and festival ops.


Photo courtesy of Jessica Brown

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up loving the live music experience.  I’d drive 4 hours to see a show and then drive back that night barely making it in time for homeroom morning bell in high school. Going to shows lit me up, and I loved the feeling that everyone in the room was unified, we were all experiencing the same sort of happiness, together. I feel very fortunate to be working in the industry today! 

Industries I’ve worked In: Producing music festivals, high-end weddings, hospitality, yoga/wellness festivals

Hobbies: Love to snowboard & hike, hanging out with my little brothers, looking at pictures of dogs on the internet

Fun Facts: I grew up on a farm in Kansas. I have a secret love for dinosaurs. Recently traveled to India, Nepal, Indonesia & West Africa - I love connecting with people all over the world and learning about different cultures.


Q: Tell us a little bit about your work in the festival operations world.

Photo courtesy of Jessica Brown

I have worked in the festival industry for over 9 years.  I actually started out on a super high note, as festival director of an incredible little festival called Roots N Blues N BBQ.  I had an amazing boss lady mentor and in those first few years in the industry I grew more professionally than I ever expected. We were building this brand new festival, and there was a lot of room for experimenting with ideas, and working to figure out the best way to make parts of it work. I learned to own my shit, call the shots, and morphed into my own version of a boss lady. From there, I dove deeper into the inner workings of other music festivals and have made my living free lancing. I wanted to learn how everything operated on the front line - from production to merchandise to VIP and operations.  As of recently, I’ve shifted gears and have helped produce yoga festivals all over the country!


Q: Which festivals / events have you worked at? 

KAABOO, Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival, Country Jam, Mountain Jam, Taste of Country, Country on the River, Summerset, Telluride Blues & Brews, Crash My Playa, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds in Mexico, Wanderlust festivals & various others. 


Photo courtesy of Jessica Brown

Q: What different roles have you worked in? Any challenges or triumphs that come with any of them specifically?

I like to think I’m a swiss army knife of festival operations ;) I’ve been everything from intern to festival director.  And everything in between: Artist relations & hospitality coordinator, box office manager, VIP manager, staffing coordinator, guest experience manager, credentials manager, operations admin, & project coordinator. 

One of my favorite lines is "I'll need to speak with your boss".  Well sir/ma'm, I AM THE BOSS.  Some people don't think you belong where you are, whether your a woman or your too young. You got there for a reason, and you deserve to be EXACTLY where you are, keep workin' it. 


Q: In your experience working festivals, what has your working relationship with other women in the industry been like?

I’ve been surprised by the number of badass ladies that I’ve had the pleasure of working with throughout the years. Our bonds on site get us through long days, and some of my very favorite people in the world are women I have worked with on site during festivals and events.  There’s nothing like seven 16-hour days in a row to bring people together, am I right? There is always enough work to go around, so encouraging each other to continue to get involved and push further is key.


Photo courtesy of Jessica Brown

Q: Do you find the festival operations world to be inclusive and supportive of women?  

I think women are consistently proving that we belong in the industry and that we are an essential piece to the festival operations pie.  Production and operations teams still seem to be loaded heavily with men, but I’ve seen several women diving head first into those departments as well. Keep it up ladies!


Q: What would be your advice to other festival gals in regards to fighting for equality and championing other women? 

We’re all in this together. By another woman succeeding and moving up the ladder, you succeed too. We are all paving the way for each other in this industry. It's important for us women to foster work environments that are supportive for each other. 

Also, when being a boss lady….you can be kind and still get shit done. In fact, you can probably get a lot more done.  I think women can feel that they need to be tough, or loud, or overly assertive to get their voice heard. Don’t feel like you need to morph into an a-hole to be taken seriously. Share well thought out plans, carefully choose your words, and always work to keep things moving in the right direction.  Handle your business, and stay on top of your shit, and you’ll be taken seriously. 


Photo courtesy of Jessica Brown

Q: What's next for you? Anything that members of The Wimpact can help support?  

I’d love to figure out how to help women in the industry find balance. For years I’ve found myself saying, I’ll start reading that book, or start that challenge, or build that website as soon as I have a little time to spend at home.  The reality of this industry is that you are on the road A LOT, and it is important to be able to still work towards your goals every day.  I’d love to help develop systems for women so they can consistently have beautiful, full, accomplished days….instead of feeling ragged and in survival mode after 3 weeks on the road. I’ll keep you posted on what’s to come! ;)

Women of ACL 2017

Happy one week anniversary of the Austin City Limits lineup release, everyone! As per usual, the lineup has been met with equal parts praise and trash-talking, with myself leaning more towards the former. I’ve seen better and worse lineups come out of ACL, and I think overall there are plenty of acts to be totally thrilled about. While I could dive into the female to male artist ratio (it’s, uh, not great… C’mon, C3). I’ll leave that to Alanna. Instead, I want to take a quick moment to highlight a diverse handful of women on the lineup who are currently making a big splash in the music industry in their own unique ways.

Disclaimer: There are dozens of badass, talented women on the lineup this year that I didn’t include below. That absolutely doesn’t mean I’m not super psyched to see them! I chose to put a spotlight on the women below because I believe they are each making an specific and particular mark within their respective genres, styles, and personas.

Disclaimer Number Two: This list is not in any particular order. I’m not here to play favorites, y’all.


Romy Madley Croft of The XX

Photo via The xx's Facebook

From: Wandsworth, London

You’ve Probably Heard: "On Hold", "Intro"

Stoked To See Her on the Lineup Because: As one-third of the indie electro-pop trio The XX, Croft brings the soothing vocals and mad guitar skills that makes this band the success that it is. Not only is she talented; Croft is also one tough chick. After suffering through the loss of both her parents and a cousin at a young age, she told Elle magazine: “Those tragedies 'have shaped me. It's been horrible, but it's made me who I am and made me stronger. I think I take that experience with me.'” You can hear Croft pay homage to these loved ones in "Brave For You" off of the band’s latest album, See You. Coachella-goers had great things to say about her performance last month, and I’m sure she won’t disappoint on the ACL stage. (P.S. Congrats to Romy on her recent engagement to visual artist Hannah Marshall!)


Photo via Solange's Facebook


From: Houston, Texas

You’ve Probably Heard: "Cranes in the Sky", "Don’t Touch My Hair"

Stoked To See Her On The Lineup Because: Solange is NOT just Beyonce’s younger sister. I repeat: Solange is NOT just Beyonce’s younger sister. Solange has paved her own way in the music world, particularly over the past year, and she’s given no indication of stopping. She's funky, she’s progressive, and she’s down with being herself. Her 2016 album A Seat At The Table, which pays beautiful and relevant tribute to the struggles of the modern black woman, topped “Best Of” lists across the board with great reason. She’s a must-see this year.


Photo via The Head and the Heart's Facebook

Charity Rose Thielen of Head and the Heart

From: Seattle, Washington

You’ve Probably Heard: "Lost in my Mind", "Rivers & Roads"

Stoked To See Her On The Lineup Because: Head and the Heart had a complicated 2016 -- with the exciting release of a new album also came the news that frontman Josiah Johnson had entered a drug rehabilitation program. Therefore, he skipped out on the 2016 tour. I happened to catch their Austin performance last fall, and I’m happy to report that they soldiered on well without him. I personally believe the band has Charity to thank for that. Her expertise on the violin is truly incredible and provides the backbone for the gorgeous melodies that HATH is so well-known for. Then, there are her folksy pipes. Don’t let her habit of shying away from the microphone fool you -- homegirl can really sing. I can’t wait to catch her again in October, hopefully with Josiah healthy and back by her side.


Photo via Crystal Castles' Facebook

Edith Frances of Crystal Castles

From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

You’ve Probably Heard: "Not In Love," "Crimewave"

Stoked To See Her On The Lineup Because: The future looked grim for Crystal Castles back in 2014, when long-time member and vocalist Alice Glass left the group for “personal and professional” reasons. Vocals and songwriting are (obviously) crucial for a band, both of which Glass provided, and I was anxious to see how they’d continue on without her. Enter Edith Frances. Loyal Crystal Castles fans didn’t exactly welcome her with open arms, so I give her major props for facing that firestorm head on. As far as I’m concerned, she’s proven herself as a worthy successor Glass, and I’m excited to see her prove that to any remaining haters out there.


Klara and Johanna Söderberg of First Aid Kit

From: Stockholm, Sweden

You’ve Probably Heard: "My Silver Lining"

Photo via First Aid Kit's Facebook

Stoked To See (Them) On The Lineup: Sisters Klara and Johanna make up one badass duo, and together they front indie folk group First Aid Kit. These two gals aren’t showy, letting their undeniable talent and speak for itself. After originally gaining fame from a Fleet Foxes cover gone viral, the girls went on to eventually tour and play with some of their heroes, like Jenny Lewis. Although the band’s influences range between everyone from Britney Spears to Bright Eyes, their country-folk sound is focused and clear. Despite the fact First Aid Kit has been around since 2007, I only recently discovered them (sorry, diehards), so I can’t wait to see them in action for the first time.


Photo via Alison Wonderland's Facebook

Alison Wonderland

From: Sydney, Australia

You’ve Probably Heard: "I Want U"

Stoked To See Her On The Lineup Because: Look, I have to admit that I’m generally not crazy about EDM. That being said, Alison Wonderland is one of very few women who has found wide-spread success within the genre, and she is absolutely kicking ass. The EDM industry is a man’s world, so it can’t be easy being a “female DJ,” (a term she actually detests) no matter how talented or deserving you are. Throw the words “Alison Wonderland Sexism” into your Google Search Bar and feast your eyes upon an upsetting smorgasbord of stories and headlines, some of which detail the horrific rape threats she’s received. I give Alison Wonderland all kinds of kudos for facing this behavior with such resistance and strength and continuing to make the type of music she’s so clearly passionate about. You go, girl.

Let’s hear it for these ladies and the many others that will be gracing the city of Austin with their presence come October. My fellow ACL-goers: Let’s show C3 why booking women does make money, by getting our asses to the stages to see these gals in action.