Categories
Activism & Action

LiisBeth's #IWD2020 March Playlist: Marching On, Each for Equal

Brampton rapper Haviah Mighty won the 2019 Polaris Music Prize for the album 13th Floor. (Photo by Mark Matusoff)
 
Here are 10 new songs for us to march to on Sunday, March 8, for International Women’s Day. I believe that working towards equality is a balance between doing our own inner work and taking action in the world. We must be able to honour our pain and the learning we still need to do, and also look outwards to see where there is injustice in our communities and step forward proactively.
The artists below are each striving for equality in their own way, using their platforms and voices to help us all learn and grow. We are each here to contribute to that greater purpose. Let this #IWD2020 be an inspiration for us on how we can march forward, and what direction we are heading in.

Bikini Kill, “Girl Soldier”

Bikini Kill, known for pioneering the Riot Grrrl movement, was one of the first all-female bands in punk to speak out against abuse and misogyny. “Girl Soldier,” truly an anthem to march to, points to the irony of men fighting overseas when there is a war happening on our own homes against women, women’s lives, women’s bodies, women’s rights. Seen here in a live video from the early ’90s with “Turn Off Your TV” draped behind them, Bikini Kill inspired a revolution and called us all to action. 2020 sees them reuniting in a world that just might be ready for their message.

Haviah Mighty, “In Women Colour”

Brampton rapper Haviah Mighty made history in 2019 when she became the first female rapper to ever win a Polaris Prize. The opening track to her album, 13th Floor, cuts hard to the truth of how racist and misogynistic our world (let alone the music industry) still is. She tells her powerful story, how none of it could break her, and now as she breaks boundaries with her art, she is changing the landscape for Black women in this country.

Backxwash, “F.R.E.A.K.S”

Rising Montreal rapper Backxwash identifies as queer and a witch—two communities that have historically been broken through hateful, patriarchal culture. F.R.E.A.K.S is an anthem to all the incredible people existing in the margins of society who are changing our culture by showing up unapologetically. Historical change has always come from queer and marginalized communities, pushing the restricted boundaries of normalcy and redefining identity. Today we celebrate all the amazing freaks.

Riit, “qaumajuapik”

Riit, a Juno-nominated and rising artist from Nunavut, is an embodiment of the slow but real change beginning to happen in the music industry. Her Inuktitut lyrics and throat singing speak of her experience growing up in the Northern Territories, and the strength she has found as a woman through much of it. “qaumajuapik,” the first video from her 2019 album, landed her on many incredible shows and festival lineups, a massive hurdle for an artist living in such an isolated population. Making space for voices like Riit’s is the reason our individual actions matter.

Tei Shi, “Alone in the Universe”

Colombian-born singer Tei Shi often sings on themes of love and loss but her 2019 anthem “Alone in the Universe” is a song for us to march to. If there is a God, and if she is a woman, she’s dropping the ball, Tei Shi proclaims. She follows it by promising to speak up for the sake of others, where she hasn’t been able to speak up for herself. It’s a powerful reflection on the isolation of being a woman, and the importance of taking action on behalf of ourselves and others.

Lido Pimienta, “Eso Que Tu Haces”

Lido Pimienta returns this April with her first album following her 2017 Polaris Prize win, titled Miss Colombia. “Eso Que Tu Haces” depicts the magnificent colour, warmth, and dance tradition of San Basilio de Palenque, the first place of refuge for those fleeing slavery in the Colonial Americas. Her magnetic voice and storytelling has begged Canada for years now to be accountable to continued racism in the country, and this song is no different as she sets a boundary around what can be considered a “loving action,” and what is false.

Sudan Archives, “Glorious”

This video is Black Girl Magic personified as Brittney Parks imagines her own prayer to God in the style of old oral tradition hymns. Inspired by Aisha al-Fallatiyah, the first woman to ever perform in Sudan, “Glorious” prays for money, a foundation of life in our world. It is a stunning and raw nod to intersectional equality—if we want an equal world, we have to understand that it takes marginalized genders, races, and identities that much more effort to get what they need to survive in it.

Austra, “Risk It”

Austra returns this year with new music after four years when we last heard “Future Politics,” a plea for a more equal, utopian world. “Risk It” is a call to action that can be interpreted in our love lives, our political lives, or both (since there’s really no separation in the end, is there?). As we march to the beat of this song, we can contemplate risk as an essential part of growth and change. There are places where we all need to risk it in our lives in order to see equality grow in the world.

Black Belt Eagle Scout, “Indians Never Die”

This song is a beautifully haunting comment on our Earth and the Indigenous communities that have cared for it over many generations. Colonial violence is still painfully active and destructive in the 21st century, and we are each responsible for our part in ensuring that the land we live on and the individuals who continue to care for it do not waste away. Perhaps the physical earth can be part of our vision for equality, too.

Vagabon, “Every Woman”

Do not be deceived by the gentle strum of this song. In the lyrics lives a war cry, a proclamation that Laetitia Tamko is not afraid of the battle that women face every day to exist and be free. There is a solidarity in her lyrics as we understand the importance of every woman coming together in the name of equality. We may be tired, but there’s a ways to go still before we sit down.

Related Playlists

You can also find all our playlists on Spotify under LiisBeth.
https://www.liisbeth.com/2017/07/11/summer-reset-playlist-feminist-entrepreneurs/
https://www.liisbeth.com/2018/03/15/a-change-makers-playlist/

Categories
Our Voices

Have Yourself A Merry Little
All-Inclusive Holiday Season

debi-hubbs-children-winter-season-holiday-music-violin-red-bird-melody-art-debi-hubbs

I’m not much of a traditionalist. My family didn’t celebrate things in typical fashion. One year we celebrated Christmas, the next we didn’t. One year my father decided that on our birthdays we should give everyone else presents rather than receive them. (That lasted for just one year.) My parents were raised in different religious traditions, which neither of them practiced and they didn’t bring traditional faith into our mixed-bag home. So I’ve always floated just outside of most traditions, never feeling a meaningful connection to any.

That made me an observer. I watched and tried to figure out what all this holiday business meant. What I saw was a good deal of beliefs being co-opted for commercial ends. And a lot of stress wrapped up in skyrocketing expectations. I saw people from a dominant culture wondering why their world had to adjust to accommodate people of different religions and cultures. Similarly I understood how lonely it feels to exist on the sidelines of what everyone else seems to be sharing.

Whether you approach the holiday season with the traditional signs and symbols of Christmas or Hanukkah, or your world includes a more diverse community of people, including those like me who don’t celebrate anything, there are interesting ways to make the year-end joyful, inclusive, and meaningful. That’s because the holiday season—and end of the year—isn’t about just one thing.

Year-end is an important time for many, both in business and at home. It’s often when we say thank you to the people with whom we work and the customers who have supported our business. And it’s a time that we associate with family and friends, no matter what your background is.

There are plenty of ways to avoid the usual holiday hell and make it meaningful and fun without resorting to “Festivus,” the whacky anti-holiday celebration featured on a Seinfeld episode in 1997. While something totally new may be novel, I’m not sure it will diminish the holiday stress. There can be a happy balance between sticking green and red bows on everything—which a friend in retail said makes anything sell—and denuding all references to Judeo-Christian culture to the point of ennui.

I get that people don’t like change being imposed upon them but inclusivity can broaden our horizons and understanding of the richly complex and diverse world. Why not introduce new (or maybe old) traditions to your usual business celebrations? The promise of an interesting and exciting new experience may engender enthusiasm among staff and customers. How you bring about change to your work community, or your customer base, isn’t all that different than how you bring it into your own life. “Respectfully” is probably the first essential step, and you may find the result is a tighter connection with staff and customers.

Business success requires the ability to constantly adapt. If you realize your customer base has changed—for example, you’ve begun to attract a Jewish clientele—you’re not going to advertise specials tied to Christian or Muslim holidays. The green and red bows aren’t going to cut it. At the same time, to keep your business base growing, you might not want to advertise specials that would only engage Jewish clients. You would figure out how to balance two different needs to achieve your business goals.

Designing your holiday celebration approach to achieve the social and cultural goals of your work and business communities makes good sense. The people you work with can likely give you the most interesting insights into what that means. If your interest is genuine, you will create an experience that everyone can enjoy and value, one that truly encourages community and involves others.

Here are three possible ways to make the holiday season special and create a closer community among the people with whom you work and do business.

  • Share a meal: Breaking bread together is universal. Include a bunch of traditions and make it fun. And while you’re eating…
  • Share a story: Learn about each other through the stories of our traditions. What you may discover is how similar many stories from different traditions and cultures are.
  • Share a symbol: Share the stories behind the symbols we see and use in holiday celebrations.

I think one of the greatest attitudes we can all bring to the holiday season is curiosity. It keeps us learning and connecting with each other. Apply curiosity to your work—and your life—and you’ll be richer for it. So bring on Chrismukkahwanzaamawlid* and discover how much alike—rather than different—we really are. Even for those of us who don’t celebrate anything, it’s nice to be included and learn what it means to people who do celebrate.

*Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Mawlid are celebrations that take place in December this year. There are other religious, secular, and pagan celebrations as well, so you might be surprised and delighted to discover what different people celebrate. And who knows, maybe it will uncover a new business opportunity or customer base. 


Related Article: If Santa Was A Woman by LiisBeth curator

 

Categories
Our Voices

Have Yourself A Merry LittleAll-Inclusive Holiday Season

debi-hubbs-children-winter-season-holiday-music-violin-red-bird-melody-art-debi-hubbs
I’m not much of a traditionalist. My family didn’t celebrate things in typical fashion. One year we celebrated Christmas, the next we didn’t. One year my father decided that on our birthdays we should give everyone else presents rather than receive them. (That lasted for just one year.) My parents were raised in different religious traditions, which neither of them practiced and they didn’t bring traditional faith into our mixed-bag home. So I’ve always floated just outside of most traditions, never feeling a meaningful connection to any.
That made me an observer. I watched and tried to figure out what all this holiday business meant. What I saw was a good deal of beliefs being co-opted for commercial ends. And a lot of stress wrapped up in skyrocketing expectations. I saw people from a dominant culture wondering why their world had to adjust to accommodate people of different religions and cultures. Similarly I understood how lonely it feels to exist on the sidelines of what everyone else seems to be sharing.
Whether you approach the holiday season with the traditional signs and symbols of Christmas or Hanukkah, or your world includes a more diverse community of people, including those like me who don’t celebrate anything, there are interesting ways to make the year-end joyful, inclusive, and meaningful. That’s because the holiday season—and end of the year—isn’t about just one thing.
Year-end is an important time for many, both in business and at home. It’s often when we say thank you to the people with whom we work and the customers who have supported our business. And it’s a time that we associate with family and friends, no matter what your background is.
There are plenty of ways to avoid the usual holiday hell and make it meaningful and fun without resorting to “Festivus,” the whacky anti-holiday celebration featured on a Seinfeld episode in 1997. While something totally new may be novel, I’m not sure it will diminish the holiday stress. There can be a happy balance between sticking green and red bows on everything—which a friend in retail said makes anything sell—and denuding all references to Judeo-Christian culture to the point of ennui.
I get that people don’t like change being imposed upon them but inclusivity can broaden our horizons and understanding of the richly complex and diverse world. Why not introduce new (or maybe old) traditions to your usual business celebrations? The promise of an interesting and exciting new experience may engender enthusiasm among staff and customers. How you bring about change to your work community, or your customer base, isn’t all that different than how you bring it into your own life. “Respectfully” is probably the first essential step, and you may find the result is a tighter connection with staff and customers.
Business success requires the ability to constantly adapt. If you realize your customer base has changed—for example, you’ve begun to attract a Jewish clientele—you’re not going to advertise specials tied to Christian or Muslim holidays. The green and red bows aren’t going to cut it. At the same time, to keep your business base growing, you might not want to advertise specials that would only engage Jewish clients. You would figure out how to balance two different needs to achieve your business goals.
Designing your holiday celebration approach to achieve the social and cultural goals of your work and business communities makes good sense. The people you work with can likely give you the most interesting insights into what that means. If your interest is genuine, you will create an experience that everyone can enjoy and value, one that truly encourages community and involves others.
Here are three possible ways to make the holiday season special and create a closer community among the people with whom you work and do business.

  • Share a meal: Breaking bread together is universal. Include a bunch of traditions and make it fun. And while you’re eating…
  • Share a story: Learn about each other through the stories of our traditions. What you may discover is how similar many stories from different traditions and cultures are.
  • Share a symbol: Share the stories behind the symbols we see and use in holiday celebrations.

I think one of the greatest attitudes we can all bring to the holiday season is curiosity. It keeps us learning and connecting with each other. Apply curiosity to your work—and your life—and you’ll be richer for it. So bring on Chrismukkahwanzaamawlid* and discover how much alike—rather than different—we really are. Even for those of us who don’t celebrate anything, it’s nice to be included and learn what it means to people who do celebrate.
*Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Mawlid are celebrations that take place in December this year. There are other religious, secular, and pagan celebrations as well, so you might be surprised and delighted to discover what different people celebrate. And who knows, maybe it will uncover a new business opportunity or customer base. 


Related Article: If Santa Was A Woman by LiisBeth curator
 

Categories
#AskLiisBeth

How To Stop Your Spouse From “Splaining” How To Run Your Business

Avoid the power struggle that can create serious problems for your business.

Dear LiisBeth,

I can’t take it anymore! My spouse, who has no formal role in my business since it was founded before we met, will often show up to my work and talk to staff, specifically my VP of operations, about how to run the company and he’ll commiserate with his concerns. Then, he’ll “mansplain” to me about how I should handle it. How can I get it to stop?

Signed,
Smouldering Volcano

Dear SV,

Sadly, you are not alone. We know it happens a lot. And it’s super frustrating! The kicker is that he likely means well and thinks he is actually helping. But his actions create serious problems for you, your relationships with your direct reports, and the power balance among staff. If you don’t nip it in the bud, your staff will start to think that they need to talk to your spouse, not directly to you, if they want to be heard.

Tell him to stop. Then set clear boundaries. Let your spouse know that while you appreciate his interest in learning about your business, he is effectively undermining your leadership, which is not good for business—or your relationship.

Also, tell your spouse to limit his conversations with staff to pleasantries like the weather when he’s at the office or at a social gathering. In no way should he engage in discussions related to decisions on how to run your company. If someone tries to engage him in that way, he should politely respond, “I think you should talk to Jane about that,” and move on.

If he still doesn’t stop, bar him from company events or visits to the office. The damage created by his behaviour can seriously affect your company’s performance, and hence your ability to create value or even draw a salary.

–LiisBeth

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