Black Women in Rock Roundtable 

By Kimberly Ortiz

On Saturday March 27, 2021, WLP and #Standing4BlackGirls celebrated Black women’s historic impact on American Rock music by having visionary guitar artists Ghetto Songbird, Malina Moye, Felice Roseer, and Gabby Logan as guests. During this event, each member introduced themselves to become familiar with one another, including a brief overview of their career and achievements. There were also guests providing information on programs from Girls Rock Camp L.A., and the Maurock Music Academy. After this, we were able to discuss the influence black women had in the making of rock music and also listen to some clips of live performances of our guests prior to the pandemic. When the music clips were over, we proceeded by having youth moderators ask them a series of questions related to the progress of their careers covering: initial plans before becoming known, obstacles, achievements, advice for younger people, tips from any early mentors, and their opinion on whether they supported music education for youth of color in their communities. The discussion closed off on a good note and everyone contributed by giving their point of view on the topics. Followed by these questions, WLP had fun trivia questions for guests/attendees to answer in order to have a chance to win something from a giveaway.

The key takeaways from this day were that Black women had a lot to do with the rise of rock music. These kinds of events are important because not a lot of people know the origin of things and it is good to educate them on where everything comes from. There is a big underrepresentation of black women/women of color in this music industry and it is shown by the mere fact that rock is usually represented by the typical white man in dramatic clothing or in a group/band. Black women are sexualized sometimes when they are brought up and it is not okay, there needs to be a change to how rock is thought of. This event could influence younger women of color to stand up for how they are viewed when it comes to them building their career. Just because there are not a lot of people that look like them in the career they want to follow, does not mean they do not belong. Knowing that our guests were able to endure obstacles and maybe rude commentary from other people throughout their life but yet still managed to get to where they are now could touch hearts and encourage other girls to do the same.

In my opinion, the discussion addressed the racism, sexism, and homophobia there is against Black women in the rock industry by allowing attendees and guests to give their opinion on what they have gone through as they became known artists. Everyone shared their experiences and perspective on how racism is seen in daily life routines.

I do not consider myself to be a musician but from the responses I heard, I felt for all of my Black women peers what it would feel like to be made less and not represented even if something was originated from them. Out of this event I would honestly just like seeing other people embrace the rock culture and music. I want the world to recognize the origin of it as well and it would be awesome to go out to places and sit down to listen to different music other than rap and any other modern music. I think rock is underrated and people have a stereotype for it. Some people confuse rock with heavy metal or things that have nothing to do with it. Being able to educate myself during this event will now help me talk more about this kind of music and I will for sure put my friends on to some good music.

Kimberly Ortiz is a junior at King-Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science