Feminist Songs…: Day 4, seeking justice

SIUE’s own Sue Cataldi is a professor in the philosophy department and a long-time member of the SIUE Women’s Studies Program. She nominated a song by the superb vocal ensemble Sweet Honey In the Rock.  This group consists entirely of black women who are the creative force behind their own work, rooted in African-American history and culture. Sweet Honey In the Rock takes pains to have ASL interpretation for the deaf and hearing-impaired. Their own statement about their audience composition speaks volumes about their commitment to a broad and inclusive notion of social justice: “Sweet Honey’s audience and community comes from diverse backgrounds and cultures throughout the United States and around the world, and includes people of all ages, economic/education/social backgrounds, political persuasions, religious affiliations, sexual preferences and differing abilities.”  Check out the cover of this excellent tune by the Cincinnatti Women’s Choir. I will give Dr. Cataldi the floor to briefly introduce it, but first, I give you a performance of “Ella’s Song” by Sweet Honey, themselves, a reminder of the intersectionality that makes women’s lives both similar and different depending on their race, class, sexuality, and other features of their social lives: “we who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes/ until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons/ is as important as the killing of white men, white mothers’ sons… I’m a woman who speaks in a voice and I must be heard/ At times I can be quite difficult/ I’ll bow to no man’s word.”

–Alison Reiheld, Director of the SIUE Women’s Studies Program

The lyrics of “Women Should Be A  Priority” are pretty clearly feminist.

At the time it came out (early 1990s) I remember thinking how refreshing it was to hear a rap-styled spoken word ‘response’ to some of the sexism contained in popular music.

I couldn’t find Sweet Honey performing it on the web, but there is a cover of it by the Cincinnati Women’s Choir performing it if anyone wants to check it out.


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