FAR OUT Magazine:
Frightwig: Kathleen Hanna on a “hugely influential band” for Bikini Kill

While Kathleen Hanna is undoubtedly highly respected, it’s clear that she doesn’t receive mainstream acknowledgement for her outstanding contributions to women in music. Serving as the creative powerhouse behind riot grrrl trailblazers Bikini Kill and dance-punk icons Le Tigre, Hanna rightfully takes her place alongside pioneering figures like Poly Styrene and Siouxsie Sioux.

An influential figure in third-wave feminism during the early 1990s and a boundless source of energy on stage, Hanna’s impact endures to the present day. Without her legacy, alongside Bikini Kill and the riot grrrl movement, it’s difficult to assess the trajectory of gender equality.

In Hanna’s own words, “To make riot grrrl move into the future in a new way with a bunch of new names, a bunch of new energy, younger people have to learn about it and apply it to their own lives and own modern conversation. And they are.”

Of course, certain facets of the world have progressed past the need for the more seemingly outdated feminist tropes prevalent in the 1990s. Still, Hanna’s contributions significantly bolstered important conversations and helped many feel confident and valued enough to stand up for what was right. In short, we owe a lot to figures like Hanna for her unwavering dedication to good causes.

Regarding her own influences, Hanna points to Frightwig as a “hugely influential band on Bikini Kill”.

Explaining her appreciation for their seminal album, Faster, Frightwig, Kill! Kill!, Hanna remarked: “There are lots of radical political moments on this album—really feminist, but it was also really funny and really beautiful. There’s this one skit about this fucked-up rich valley girl who loses her Amex checks and is trying to get new ones. There’s also a song on it about hating some stupid groupie who’s fucking around with someone’s boyfriend—stuff probably from the band members’ lives.”

Although Hanna also praises the works of Blondie and Carole King, one artist and album she deems “close-to-perfect” is esteemed rapper and singer-songwriter Lauryn Hill. Hill is largely regarded as one of the best rappers of all time and a defining voice of a generation. Discussing Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Hanna said: “I bought this at [New York hip-hop store] Fat Beats when I turned 30, and it was really inspirational. She does it all—she sings, she raps, she produces. It has all these references to Stevie Wonder and old reggae songs that I love. Again, a close-to-perfect, classic record.”

Overall, Hanna’s influences are a reflection of her commitment to instigating change. As a central figure in a movement advocating for female empowerment, her musical preferences exemplify her distinct style and resilience, solidifying her status as one of the most impactful figures in the music industry.

Originally posted at faroutmagazine.co.uk


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