Friday, March 10, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: KoKo Taylor and Yuri Kochiyama

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

KoKo Taylor is the Queen of the Blues. Her flavor of blues is Chicago blues and electric blues. She played live music beginning in the late 50s and released her first record in 1965. She had one genuine hit record early on in her career, and then a life of touring and new music (there are worse ways to make a living). She influenced Bonnie Raitt, Janis Joplin and Susan Tedeschi, among others.

She is a lesser known name from the civil rights movement: a Japanese American spurred into activism after the internment of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor. She joined Malcolm X's movement after meeting him at a protest and was with X when he was assassinated (she held him as he died). She worked for reparations for those interred after Pearl Harbor (awarded to survivors in 1988) and fought bigotry and profiling of Muslims, Middle Easterners and South Asians, viewing that is the same treatment her family endured.

She is said to have "complicated beliefs" and made some controversial statements. If she were a wealthy white male that would make her eligible to be President.

* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

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