4 Musicians on Why They’re Attending Women’s March

Artists discuss Women's March and the issues that matters most. Featuring Kino Kimino, Sharkmuffin, Fruit & Flowers, and The Space Merchants

womens march musicians

The Women’s March on Washington takes place this Saturday, January 21st – and it’s shaping up to be a historic event. We asked musicians to tell us what inspired them to attend (either in Washington, DC or at sister marches around the country), what issues are most important to them, and more. Read responses below from members of Kino Kimino, Fruit & Flowers, Sharkmuffin, and The Space Merchants.

Culture Creature’s January advertising proceeds will be donated to Ali Forney Center, a shelter and community center for homeless LGBTQ youth.

Kim Talon

Kim Talon. Photo by Thomas Ignatius

Kim Talon of Kino Kimino

What inspired you to attend Women’s March on Washington? 

Kim Talon: I heard about the march shortly after Election Day and felt deeply that I needed to be there, so I made immediate plans to travel to D.C. After Trump was elected I went through a phase of being depressed, anxious and confused. Once I started to emerge from the fog I realized I needed to do more to deal with the darkness I was experiencing. So, I started trying to figure out a way to transform the march into something personal, something that would really help me to begin the healing process. Music is always the answer for me, so that was my jumping off point.

What specific issues concern you most during the next four years, and why?

Basic women’s rights are obviously invaluable to me, but that has been eclipsed by my concerns about climate change. We are already in such a dangerous place; knowing that we’re at the start of a new downward trajectory is horrifying.

What other actions are you taking to make a difference in 2017?

I started 2017 off by organizing a protest tour for Kino Kimino around the Women’s March on Washington. We’ll be going to D.C. and back raising money for Planned Parenthood & the SPLC. More dates are in the works for the spring and I’m starting to work with other activists to organize bigger events in NY and LA. The focus for those will be climate change.

How does protest differ from art as a form of expression for you?

Protest allows me to unite with a much larger, like-minded community than art does. I approach my art with abandon. Nothing is organized or pre-meditated. When expressing myself in protest I feel more constrained, but less isolated. One thing they both have in common is camaraderie—in opposing but equally glorious ways. For me, that feeling of camaraderie is always tethered to women.

sharkmuffin band

Sharkmuffin (Tarra Thiessen, Natalie Kirch, Janet LaBelle)

Natalie Kirch of Sharkmuffin

What inspired you to attend Women’s March on Washington (or a sister march)?

Natalie Kirch: I am marching in NYC on January 21st. It is difficult to pinpoint one specific reason, as there are so many. It is scary and upsetting that we even have to be marching for our basic rights as women. It’s not 1960. I know humanity is flawed, but I thought the Civil Rights Movement had surpassed this long ago. Essentially, I am marching because I feel that awareness and solidarity are so important right now. Additionally, as a woman, I feel very threatened by our current President-elect. The choices I make for my body and my life should be my own and no one else’s – and that goes for every other woman as far as I am concerned.

What specific issues concern you most during the next four years, and why?

Considering that I am a woman, the most direct issues that affect me are those regarding women’s health (i.e. the right and the means to birth control, abortion, etc). I also suffer from severe allergies and asthma, which has really brought to light the issues in the health care system to me. I think everyone should have access to health care.

The United States is clearly in a very divided position right now, so I also think that we need to all try to view the current state of affairs from a variety of angles and realize that even if something does not appear to be a direct threat to us as individuals, we still need to support each other. We need to make an effort to show camaraderie to those who are being scapegoated or marginalized while still remembering that those in the majority are people as well.

What other actions are you taking to make a difference in 2017?

I plan to use my voice wherever and whenever necessary. I think a woman’s voice and opinion are two of the most empowering weapons we possess.

How does protest differ from art as a form of expression for you?

Protesting is more of a phenotypical expression of a community-based sentiment. It is always political to some degree, whereas art is a little more difficult to subscribe to any specific category or agenda. Art can exist within a movement or a movement can arise out of art. Art can also have influence on a movement, but they are two separate means of expression to me. Not every song, painting, theatrical performance, etc. relates back to current events and politics.

fruit and flowers band

Fruit and Flowers are: Caroline Yoder, Jose Berrio Lesmes, Ana Becker, Lyzi Wakefield. Photo by Stef Atkinson

Ana Becker of Fruit & Flowers

What inspired you to attend Women’s March on Washington?

Ana Becker: All of us are very politically-minded. Historically, protests have been an effective form of political action, and I think we all care about making positive change however we can. A massive protest is also a way to remind everyone not to normalize the current political situation: this inauguration is NOT normal, and the President-Elect’s proposals are NOT acceptable. Also, my mom is knitting a bunch of pussyhats, which is badass, and I want one.

What specific issues concern you most during the next four years, and why?

Globally, I worry about political and economic collapse. I worry that an inexperienced and mercurial leader will initiate senseless wars. I worry that climate change will go unchecked and have even more rapid and catastrophic repercussions for the planet than it is already guaranteed to have. Domestically, I worry about access to healthcare, especially for women. I worry about mass incarceration. I worry about wealth inequality exponentially widening. I worry about freedom of the press. I worry about society regressing. I worry that every American other than the straight cisgendered affluent able-bodied able-minded Christian white man will feel the weight of oppression grow heavier and heavier.

What other actions are you taking to make a difference in 2017?

It’s hard to know the best ways to take a stand, as an individual and as an artist. My sister just made the decision to go to law school, so she can fight from within. I’m really proud of her. I’m continuing to call my senators and representatives. We’re staying informed. We’re playing benefit shows. We’re writing protest songs.

I think about the sixties and seventies, the gains of the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, the feminist movement, and I think about how central music was to culture at that time. What role can art play? Can art bring people together in a meaningful way? I don’t know, but I hope so.

I just found a resource called Action Group Network. It’s a website that facilitates forming small local groups dedicated to taking concrete action around specific causes, like climate change education or assisting at-risk youth with immigration issues. I’m drawn to anything that breaks down massive, overwhelming problems into small, specific steps.

How does protest differ from art as a form of expression for you?

One voice versus many. Art or music is such a personal form of expression, and this is far beyond personal.

Does it have to be different?

space merchants band

The Space Merchants

Ani Monteleone of The Space Merchants

What inspired you to attend Women’s March on Washington (or a sister march)?

Ani Monteleone: I will be attending the Women’s March in NYC. I think it’s important for people to show up en masse during these moments to show the world how we really feel. More often than not, the media won’t report the truth or doesn’t reflect the voices of the majority of this country, and all we have is our power in numbers.

What specific issues concern you most during the next four years, and why?

Oh god, where to begin. Healthcare, the economy, education, our infrastructure, access to clean water and shelter and food, police violence against minorities and complete failure of our racist justice system to prosecute cops who murder innocent black people, the student loan crisis; the list goes on. Things have been fucked in this country for a long time and it’s definitely reaching a boiling point. Possibly the most terrifying thing to me, though, is the state of our environment. It boggles the mind that the people in power care more about lining their pockets than doing things to protect the earth we all live on – and you can’t spend money if the human race is extinguished. All of these other things can potentially be fixed, but damage to the environment is permanent and affects everyone.

What inspires you to stay positive and optimistic?

The silver lining to Trump getting elected is I feel like it has really lit a fire under the asses of thousands, maybe millions of people. It’s been amazing to watch all the people in my community finding ways to get involved. I’ve had many friends organize fundraisers, including the recent Nasty Women Art Show at the Knockdown Center, which raised $35K for Planned Parenthood on its opening night. But even on a smaller level, I’ve had a few friends separately from each other say, “Hey everyone, I made this art print. If you donate $30 or more to Planned Parenthood or Standing Rock or whatever, and show me the receipt, I will send you this awesome poster.” Or people creating cool graphics that you can download and print out to put on your protest sign. Just really interesting, seemingly small things like that. People are finding whatever way they can manage to contribute and get involved.

If you can’t go to Standing Rock, throw a benefit for Standing Rock. If you can’t throw a benefit, attend the benefit and buy some art. If you can’t do that, maybe call your congressperson, send emails, show up to a protest. Personally, I will be contributing my design skills to help brand a campaign for an Elected Civilian Review board in NYC, which is basically an organization that will be elected by the people to “police the police” and hold them accountable when they commit acts of violence against those they are supposed to protect. I haven’t done as much as some, but I’m going to do whatever I can, whenever I can, to resist and oppose Trump every step of the way.

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