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Making the 1BTN connection on International Women’s Day

Changing the #BalanceforBetter, one groove at a time on 1BTN as we celebrate International Women’s Day 2019.

As I thought about the words I would put together in celebration of International Women’s Day 2019 I leaned on my sisters at 1BTN, asking them for the female artists who have inspired their lives. And the response was as varied and glorious as the genres we’ll be filling the airwaves with on March the 8th. Kate Bush, Madonna, Salt N Pepa, Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, India Arie, Lauren Hill, Solange, Grace Jones, Joan Jett, Toni Halliday, Aretha Frankin, Dusty Springfield, Laura Nyro, Nenah Cherry, Delia Derbyshire, Wendy & Lisa, Shelia E, Stevie Nicks, Beyonce, Brix Smith, Bjork, PJ Harvey, Laurie Anderson, Janelle Monáe, Dolly Parton, Liz Fraser, Joni Mitchell, Erykah Badu, Sofia Jannock, Siouxsie Sioux. The list goes on. And on. Each woman groundbreaking and influential beyond the studio walls, making our lives sounder because of their presence dear.

An influential presence that has been making connections with me throughout my own life. First the Streisand effect that changed the way I saw myself, lumpy nose and all, as the diva they declared difficult reimagined the roles a female artist could play as Barbra became a songwriter, producer, director and campaigner, ensuring no Hollywood misogynist or music mogul should ever be allowed to rain on a woman’s parade.

An RCA female phono connection that charged my time as Frinton Primary School’s Class 6 record player monitor in 1979 when my new found vinyl addiction lead me to Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. A song filled with literary connections that whilst pleasing my teacher Mrs Ronson also opened my eyes to Emily Bronte’s feminism, showing this schoolgirl what I needed to be when challenging societies ideas of what a woman should be.

The jazz fuelled theme of a late night film show that brought me spinning round to the passion and righteous rage of Nina Simone, ensuring I would track down the Silk & Soul of I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free and fall for her lyrics. Lyrics that deftly connected me to the American civil rights movement, the defiant actions of Rosa Parks and the inspirational writings of Angela Davis.

The life-changing day this young disco devotee experienced when my mother told the tale of an 8-Track cassette single that lasted a full eight minutes (from Clacton to Frinton in a Ford Capri don’t you know!) and blew her mind. The vinyl version of I Feel Love soon made it’s way to our lounge’s Garrad deck and equally blew mine, beginning a goosebump fuelled affair with Donna that has lasted forty-three summers. An affair that by the early 90s connected this baby dyke to the decadent delights of the gay disco, a thing called house music and a career behind the decks playing for my LGBTQI family as we marched and sashayed and vogued our way towards the beginnings of full equality. A connection I am so proud to be making in 2019 (blatant plug incoming) as I join the 1BTN IWD Soundsystem fundraising for Threshold and The Girls Network at Patterns on Saturday the 9th of March supporting the amazing Honey Dijon, a black trans woman whose Chicago home grooves, groundbreaking BBC Radio 1 residency and glass ceiling shattering career behind the decks and in the studio are redefining the ideas of what a woman of colour in house music can be.

And finally with the many women at 1BTN who continue to deliver the best of life’s soundtracks. Not just on IWD but every day, battling for the basics of life, basics that men can often take for granted. From accessing affordable childcare to gaining equal pay, campaigning for Equalising Music to ensure fair female representation on line-ups at gigs, events and festivals or the simplest of requests, the right to be treated with respect when and wherever they make that most sound of connections, with the listener.

For these are the connections that can deliver the best of outcomes, a #balanceforbetter, a world fuelled by female empowerment that can inspire young women and girls where ever they live and sing and dance and play. Connections that ensure that the artists we name check with admiration, the artists who made such a sound difference to our own lives continue to inspire the next generation of female producers, DJs, musicians, singer-songwriters, sound engineers and promoters, regardless of sexuality, colour or creed. Connections I hope through IWD19 and beyond will continue to create female artists who will forever change our world, one glorious groove at a time.

1BTN International Women’s Day Takeover Friday 8th March 2019 8am-midnight. 101.4FM and DAB+ in the Brighton & Hove area, and worldwide 1btn.fm For more info and line-up click here.

1BTN International Women’s Day Takeover will be fundraising for Threshold and The Girls Network. To donate online click here

Threshold provides support to women in Brighton & Hove with issues including anxiety, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and perinatal depression. Services include 1-1 counselling, wellbeing workshops, intern placements, volunteering opportunities and drop-in sessions.

The Girls Network’s mission is to inspire and empower girls from the least advantaged communities by connecting them with a mentor and a network of professional female role models. They believe that no girl should have their future limited by their background, gender or parental income.

#PushTheBTN #BalanceforBetter

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