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Solidarity Not Silence

Five on it: we stand with Solidarity Not Silence, which shouldn’t have to exist in 2021

trigger-warning

A new song is a grim reminder of how difficult the system makes reporting alleged abuse. Plus, a round up of other powerful releases from the week, including Little Simz, Ray BLK and more...

07 May 2021

There is a lot of celebration and liberation in the tunes below: of Blackness, of femininity, of sexuality, of unity. It is worth noting, however, that self-empowerment is often derived from being disempowered. Your will or consent was  taken from you, and in finding self-empowerment, you reclaim authority over your own narrative. 

Comprised of members from bands The Tuts and Petrol Girls, and cosigned by Colour Me Wednesday as well as Personal Best (plus more), this week Solidarity Not Silence dropped ‘This Is Sisterhood’ to raise awareness and funds for their campaign against sexual assault within the music industry. It’s infuriating that such a collective needs to exist at all, and – as with all generalised injustices – it is with some disbelief that we’re still fighting the same fights in 2021. 

The situation is long and ongoing, with abuse allegations by members of the above acts plus former partners of the accused initially speaking out online via blogs published in 2016. This resulted in the women being sued by their accuser – a well known musician – for defamation in 2017. Up until that point, the women were able to pay their own legal costs, and have since fundraised to help cover payments. 

In the wake of #MeToo there was a collective effort to listen to accusations of abuse – especially by perpetrators believed to be serial offenders – yet the wider question is, how are we still here? How, in 2021 are women having to crowdfund to support their legal fees in calling out alleged abuse? How hard is it to prevent other women experiencing the same? Why are they having to resort to a specialised release in order to create awareness for said crowdfunding? They’re effectively PRing their own campaign with a marketing asset! Where does this paradox end?

The additional  speech from Kathleen Hanna (of Bikini Kill, The Julie Ruin and Le Tigre) at the head of the track in support of Solidarity Not Silence will no doubt raise awareness stateside. Hanna’s own career began with riot grrrl and the third wave of feminism in the early 90s, with her own political punk anthems. That’s a whole 30 years ago, and a lifetime’s worth of activism for nothing to have really changed. In the face of an ignorant society and the fact that we’re all just tired, what else can we do but mobilise and prop each other up once again?

Solidarity Not Silence – ‘This Is Sisterhood’ (ft. Kathleen Hanna, The Tuts, Petrol Girls)

‘This Is Sisterhood’ is a loose and raw slice of punk upheld by pounding drums and group vocals; it is, aptly, the sonic representation of a band of women going to war. When the line “Tales as old as fucking time” is uttered, it encapsulates the sentiment in a nutshell, while the wider message is extrapolated in the verse: we are collectively fed up.

Little Simz – ‘Woman’

When Simz comes back, she doesn’t hang around! Hot on the heels of ‘Introvert’, her new single is an inspiring and celebratory ode to womanhood with a soulful groove. With Cleo Sol lending her vocal on the chorus, the track is a love letter to Blackness, femininity and running the show.

Ray BLK – ‘Dark Skinned’

Running in the same vein, Ray BLK’s latest drop sees her honour and celebrates her Blackness in a world where conversations around race can be heavy and negative. Recounting people telling her she’d find it difficult to break into the music industry as a Black woman, she quotes her mother and her own work ethic for her success over feel-good R&B.  

kezia – ‘south!’ (ft. NAYANA IZ)

Teaming up with London rapper NAYANA IZ to dial self-empowerment up to eleven, kezia’s new single ‘south!’ is a main course of sexual liberation with an appetiser of consent to start. Describing it as her “dicksucking anthem” in a world where Black women are “uninvitedly sexualised”, the track reclaims control of both the perception and the action. 

Henjila – ‘Something About You’

Following on from her debut single ‘Paper Boy’, Henjila’s latest outing ‘Something About You’ sees the singer-songwriter wax lyrical on the rosy moments of new love. “I just wanna spend my life with you” she coos over woozy, surf-toned guitars and laid back beats; consider it the soundtrack to your next daydream.