Letter to My Unborn Daughter on International Women’s Day

poetry, talk, Uncategorized, Words

By Katie Harvey

riley

To my little girl on International Women’s Day:

Today we celebrate & honor what it means to be a woman. We celebrate the women before us who fought for our rights. The women who got arrested trying to vote, the woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus, the women who let the credit for their work go to men while they quietly landed men on the moon.

But really Sugarbean, we honor them every day. We honor them by being the most true form of ourself. We honor them by empowering our fellow women everyday. By helping our sisters in need. I hope you’re never afraid to speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.

I hope you know that if women had stood quietly by and asked politely for equality, it never would have happened.

Women roar.

Never let anyone make you feel inferior, because chances are they came from a vagina.

We are the creators of life. Do not back down. Do not be afraid to be loud.

Do not be afraid to be called bossy or intimidating.

Those are just labels slapped on women of greatness. Never be afraid of your wings, and never forget you can always come home to mom & dad. We love you sweet girl.

The future is female.

The future is you.

The world is yours.

 

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Louise Chantal is in Control

Uncategorized

Interview by Kayla Gutierrez

lc

Sucker: Who is Louise Chantal?

Louise Chantal: I’m a singer, songwriter, creative director, and entrepreneur from London, living in the NYC area.

Sucker:  Who or what are some of your musical inspirations?

LC: I’m inspired by so many people in different genres for different reasons. One person that inspired me vocally to grow and push myself, and accomplish as much as I can is Whitney Houston. Beyonce also continues to inspire me as an outstanding boss of her brand and talent as well. Her work ethic is unmatched in my eyes and I would like to strive to be the same way with an uncompromising devotion to my craft.

Sucker: What is your creative process?

LC: Each song has a very different story. Some of the songs on my project, I wrote without hearing instrumentation first and other songs I wrote to instrumentation. The biggest evolution in my creative process from the time I started writing and recording my EP to now is that I am much more involved in the musical production. I really wasn’t an executive producer outside of funding my project when I first began recording songs, but by the end of the project I was heavily involved in music production, not just the songwriting, vocal production, and arrangements of the voice. A big portion of that growth I think I can credit to working with producers that were far more experienced in the industry than me. Syience, who executive produced the project with me, always encouraged me to think and speak for myself. Once I began doing that wholeheartedly, I gained a lot more confidence in myself.

Sucker: What kind of messages do you want to convey through your music?

LC: I would like to convey honest messages. Many of my songs promote feminism and anti-patriarchal concepts because that’s who I am, but then I also have a few songs in which I’m hopeless romantic. All of the emotions I have written about are things that I’ve experienced and battled with. I have experienced men who made me feel like shit, made me feel absolutely horrible about myself, and it’s bigger than intimacy or relationships for me, it goes way back to my childhood up to now and witnessing how society isn’t structured to uplift or celebrate the woman of color. And in this album I’m talking about how I had to find myself, and find out what I loved about me, and why I was special, and why I didn’t need a man to define my worth. My life stories I haven’t share in the Welcome to Aranbi EP. I shared stories of the many women in me.

The emotions are really what I care about. Cry, cry, cry but then you have to move the fuck on. That’s my music. There’s a lot of sadness behind it, I feel that’s the core. There’s other happier songs, but for the most part I wrote about men that didn’t want me to know my worth or think that I was smart enough to be excellent, outstanding, or powerful alone. It was more to their advantage and ego to make me feel small. In this project, I said fuck that.

Sucker: At what age did you start singing?

LC: I was 12 years old, a point in my life where the world I thought I belonged to shifted drastically. I went from a very diverse public school to an all white private school. The way I viewed myself and my value flipped completely. But in the midst of all the sadness that came that year, I fought for a music career, and joined a production company. I wrote and recorded two EP’s, and a mixtape with them, and we created really great things. Years later I’m here, with my own company, having fun and doing it my way.

 

Sucker: Where do you see yourself in five years?

LC: I get that question quite a bit. Hopefully in five years – I’ve done three albums. If it doesn’t work out that way, it’s okay. But hopefully, I’ve done a few albums and I’ve become the creative director of a fashion brand. Maybe I’ll have had a role in a move or guest starred in a TV show. Hopefully my charity has expanded its outreach globally. That would be most amazing. And I’ve toured the world a few times.

Sucker: How do you want your fans to perceive you?

LC: As a business woman that is passionate about what I do. I love my supporters because they understand that about me. They understand that I’m here to change the world through art. I want them to know that I have an uncompromising attitude and devotion when it comes to my work. There is a lot of negative stereotypes about women in the industry, obviously bred by misogyny. They want to promote these messages that women aren’t intelligent enough, aren’t powerful enough to be successful without selling their bodies to a man in power. I hate that shit. I want my fans to know that I’m in control of my shit. No one in the ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’ music video told me, ‘Oh I want you to wear this or I want you to pretend to be that’, everything you see in my content is what I wanted. I’m very much involved, I’m very much in control. There is no one telling me what to do and I’m proud of that and I think it’s important that my supporters know this isn’t been repackaged by a man.

In the PYMWMYI music video I made some people uncomfortable. Uncomfortable to the point where they felt the need to write in the comments ‘oh I wonder who she fucked to get to the top,’ or ‘go back to the strip club’ or ‘slut slut slut.’ If a man puts 100 strippers in his music video, he’s the man. He’s a God. It’s never going to be oh I wonder how many women he had sex with to get where he is because they have all the power and they keep it in their circle. But if embrace my sexuality or look a little too confident in my sex appeal, I get 3,000 comments reducing me down to object. Stripper or no stripper, I’m made out to be an object. I’ll take the backlash in a heartbeat and just do what the fuck I want to do. That’s who I am. That’s who I am going to remain throughout my career, a woman that is unapologetic and willing to make people uncomfortable.

louise-chantal

Sucker: How have you ever experienced sexism first-hand? What changes need to happen to end sexism?

LC: I don’t know how I could be alive in this world as a woman as color, and not have experienced sexism. I could rant on and on about how people undermine on my capabilities or what I can achieve because I’m a woman. But at this point for me it’s about changing the program and what is promoted through the media. The idea that women have to have sex with men in order to achieve career success. The messages that say being in control as woman isn’t sexy. The messages that are promoted through the media must change.

Sucker: Is there anyone you want to collaborate with?

LC: Princess Nokia, I really like her a lot, and I really like what she has stands for in and outside of her music; the messages she promotes. Her entire life story is really inspirational. I’d also like to work with Drake one day.

Sucker: Do you believe personal relationships go with professional business?

LC: Business is always first priority for me, but I tend to become very close to the people I work with continuously. Some of my best friends are people I work with regularly. For that reason I’ve learned about the importance of knowing and respecting boundaries. I once had a friendship in past that became too multi-dimensional. There were no boundaries or moments alone, too much became intertwined. I learned a lot from that relationship and the outcome was sad. But with time and experience I’ve learned how to navigate my business life and my personal life and how to always keep them separate to a certain extent.

Sucker: Many artists claim that motherhood is not a good combination with their life’s work, do you see yourself being maternal in the near future along with balancing your career or solely dedicated to the music?

LC: I’m so in love with me and what I do professionally. All of my siblings have kids. I have so much work I have to get done, and I don’t think a kid would make that any easier for me due to first hand experience babysitting. You need time to be a parent, I don’t have the time or wisdom at this stage in my life to become one for sure.

Sucker: Who has been the most supportive to you through your journey as an artist?

LC: Probably my dad, I’ll give my dad that one.

Sucker: Is there more in life you want to accomplish than music?

LC: Absolutely. I already see myself and my brand as being bigger than music. I want to change the world and I think it will take multiple mediums in order for me to change how kids learn, how the world thinks and I’ll start with music, but I will definitely be branching out. I have a passion for business, branding and market. , I feel there’s so many ways for me to grow as mogul, as an entrepreneur. I love music, but I will definitely be taking advantage of every opportunity to do so much more.

Sucker: With growing movements such as Black Lives Matter, will fans see you spreading activism, will it be in your music?

LC: I definitely feel as though I am an activist through my music and my words, but I am planning to really take things to the next level by launching the Aranbi Foundation in November. At this point in my life, actions are really speaking even louder than words for me and that’s why I’ve begun taking initiatives to become active in the inner city communities that are being targeted the most by a flawed criminal justice system.

Sucker: What is music to you?

LC: Music is the one place where I can say whatever the fuck I want. I can just say what I feel, and I can just cry on a song, and I speak my mind with no dialogue, and no conversation, just me and the world that I created in pain and isolation. Aranbi is me in my head.

Sucker: What is one place you know for certain that you can go for peace and quiet?

LC: My dad’s place. He’s so calm, relaxed, and open minded. I love that about him. I feel so loved in the presence of my father, and enjoy spending all of my time with him. Another place I love going is to the beach.

Sucker: What advice to you have for young aspiring artists?

LC: Don’t underestimate your value, don’t allow anyone other than you to determine what you can or cannot do. Don’t underestimate your ability to think for yourself. Finding yourself and then believing in who you are is key.

Slamming Sexual Violence

Art, poetry, talk, Uncategorized

University of Oregon’s Student Poetry Slam Addresses Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Words by Alyssa Campbell

Illustration by Kayla Guttierez

slamming sexual violence

Illustration by Kayla Gutierrez

 

Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words are also weapons.

When saying “no” is not enough, how do you cope with the trauma of being violated?

On April 5, the Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Team at the University of Oregon held round three of their Anti-Sexual Violence Poetry Slam. The first round took place fall 2014, followed by the second round fall 2015.

It started as a release party, a way to get people in the same space to pick up the newest issue of “The Siren Magazine,” a feminist magazine on the UO campus.

Students and guests showed sincere respect and expressions of deep compassion.

It was a safe zone.

“If I lose my voice I lose everything,” said poet and member of UO’s Organization Against Sexual Assault Sofia Mackey. “You cannot protect yourself from isolation.”

This year the slam was geared towards SAAM (Sexual Assault Awareness Month).

“There’s a lot of talking at people and informing them. Getting the word out and not a lot of survivors getting to stand up and say ‘This is my experience and I’m gonna talk about it the way I want to talk about it,’ ” said Sophie Albanis. “This is valuable in that sense, it lets people define themselves and their experiences.”

Albanis is the organizer of the slam event, a member of Associated Students of UO and an advocate for the UO student government.

“This is definitely the biggest turnout we’ve had for this event,” said Albanis. “This is the most overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve gotten. I really feel motivated to do more poetry slams.”

These poetry slams have helped her become comfortable identifying as a survivor.

Albanis` experience is one that she has no memory of. Someone had to tell her about what happened the next day and although she doesn’t remember, she knows it happened.

“A lot of people feel because I didn’t remember it or because I didn’t feel the pain after it happened, I’m not a real survivor,” said Albanis. “This event is what enabled me to say ‘Fuck you, I am a survivor.’ ”

Through poetry, readers shared experiences of rape trauma, repressed anger, new love and generational trauma.

“I was suffering a lot, for me what really helped me figure some things out was writing,” said poet Vienna Soulé. “I didn’t have to keep that inside of me anymore. I could write it out on paper and that’s where it stayed.”

Vice President for the UO student government Claire Johnson works as a member of the Organization Against Sexual Assault.

“I strongly believe too often our society puts these ideas into survivors heads that it’s their fault or they deserve it,” said Johnson. “All of your stories really make a difference.”

It was her first time sharing a piece she wrote since becoming a survivor a month ago.

“Art expression is a super valuable way for people to release feelings and thoughts they may not be able to get out otherwise,” said Johnson. “Expressing myself definitely helps me one way or another.”

Working at past poetry slams and speak-outs inspired her to let her voice be heard.

“I really learned how important it is to have a safe space for people to feel comfortable to express themselves and their experiences,” said Johnson. “Without these safe spaces, it’s hard for someone to heal. I definitely resonate with that.”

The support she’s gotten from her coworkers, friends and other survivors she knows has given her the courage to share her story.

“I looked to them for strength and found courage within myself from the courage they had,” said Johnson.

Emma Sharp and Charlie Landeros, members of UO’s Sexual Wellness Awareness Team switched the mood up with rhythm and poetry.

The crowd responded back with praise as the duo rapped lyrics like “It’s my body and you’re not God motherfucker.”

Concluding the slam a man named Julius Alecsandre shared his story about being sexually assaulted and his family not supporting him.

“I’m very openly gay,” said Alecsandre. “Pertaining to sexual awareness, this is my story.”

The crowd covered their mouths and put their heads down as Alecsandre shared vivid details about his horrific experience.

“Even though I was fighting back his fists felt like bricks to my face. I felt him tearing me open,” said Alecsandre. “I remember waking up in the hospital surrounded by my family. They were embarrassed and angry.”

Dealing with the trauma of being sexually assaulted isn’t something that is easy to overcome, the scars never heal. But there are ways to help, you don’t have to suffer and isolate yourself. You don’t have to live feeling alone. There are people who care and you do matter.

“I want to challenge people to educate themselves on sexual assault. Go to events like this. There’s very real humans behind the stories, get to know them,” said Landeros. “Art is one of the last forms of magic we have in this world, especially poetry, it’s just raw emotion.”

At a Glance:

  • According to the Bureau of Justice, “Sexual assault is a wide range of victimizations, separate from rape or attempted rape. These crimes include attacks or attempted attacks generally involving unwanted sexual contact between victim and offender. Sexual assaults may or may not involve force and include such things as grabbing or fondling.  It also includes verbal threats.”  
  • Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network has reported that every year there’s an average of 293,000 cases of sexual assault.
  • Every 107 seconds another American is sexually assaulted, 44 percent of victims are under the age of 30.
  • Four out of five assaults are from someone known by the victim and 47 percent are a friend or acquaintance.
  • Sixty-eight percent of assaults are not reported to police, meaning 98 percent of rapists will never face jail time.

 

That Girl Thinks She’s the Queen of the Neighborhood

music, Playlists, Uncategorized

In celebration of our Riot Grrrl theme this month, Sucker Magazine staffers hand-picked their favorite songs from the movement and compiled this playlist. Our only request is that you play this as loud as humanly possible and share it with all of the riot grrrls you know.

Click below to listen:

jkh

 

“We’re Not Anti-Boy, We’re Pro-Girl”

music, talk, Uncategorized

The Riot Grrrl Movement

By Dylan Conner

Most people aren’t exactly sure what the hell I’m talking about when I go on long tangents about how kick-ass the Riot Grrrl movement really is. So I figured, “hey it’s the theme of the month, why not break it down for our readers before they get halfway through this month and have no idea what’s going on with Sucker and why we keep posting about angry punk girls.”

 

Babes In Toyland

 

So what IS the Riot Grrrl movement? First off, it’s awesome, always will be. I mean, what could possibly be more badass than an entire DIY punk subculture of activist women who are just super down with equality and giving a voice to those who don’t have one? The Riot Grrrl movement started in the early 90s in the Pacific North West, notably in Olympia, Washington. Their goal was to combine feminist consciousness and punk style. The Riot Grrrl bands sparked conversation about rape, domestic violence, sexuality, patriarchy, and global/intersectional woman empowerment. All of which is important to modern day feminism. Combining music with art, zines, political action and activism, the Riot Grrrls aimed to use these platforms to speak out about the issues I just mentioned. Often, they would be known to host meetings and be supporters of all women in music. Some notable names in the Riot Grrrl community you might be familiar with are Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, Joan Jett/The Runaways, Courtney Love of Hole, Babes in Toyland, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, Siouxsie Sioux and Sleater-Kinney… just to name a few. I wont even get started on where you should start listening first (that’s why we compiled a sweet playlist for you, coming soon.)

So with all of that said, I hope this next month will make a lot more sense. The Riot Grrrl movement is incredibly important to all of us here at Sucker, and we hope we can share that love with our readers.

Book Club: Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

Art, Lifestyle, music, Uncategorized

“Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl” – Carrie Brownstein (2015)

By: Tracie Marrose

02-hunger-makes-me-a-modern-girl-carrie-brownstein

“My story starts with me as a fan. And to be a fan is to know that loving trumps being beloved. All the affection I poured into bands, into films, into actors and musicians, was about me and about my friends.”

Carrie Brownstein used to be my age. She grew up blaring loud music and singing along even louder. She lived in a college town.  She went to concerts and lost herself in the music while being mesmerized by the performers on stage.