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She’s a Shero: Alice Bag

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The artist Alicia Armendariz, also known as Alice Bag, is an inspiration. She’s been an outspoken activist and musician since the mid-70’s.

Her most recent video is for a song titled 77, so called because as of the 2012 census, American women only earned 77 cents to a man’s dollar. The song features other sheroes Kathleen Hanna and Allison Wolfe, and is off Alice Bags soon to be released album Blueprint. It’s a parody of 9 to 5, one of my favorite movies ever, and it features a beautiful color story too. I mean, this video couldn’t be filled with more amazingness!

But here’s the thing, Alice Bag has been out there for years protesting and singing about the ways our society is dysfunctional.

Pictured above in the green tights, Alice was the lead singer in of the punk band The Bags in the late 70’s.

Alice Bag Women of Rock Oral History Project teaser from Women of Rock OHP on Vimeo.

While the group had already split up by the time the movie came out, they were featured in the 1981 movie The Decline of Western Civilization.

She’s been making music and raising her voice ever since.

She’s so good, whether she is rocking out or doing an acoustic set, her music and words carry a powerful message. Her song Reign of Fear was her response to the presidential election of 2016 and it is a call out and a message of hope all at once.

In 2011 she wrote Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story *affiliate link*.
I urge you to head over to YouTube and check out this video of her reading an excerpt from her book where she talks about her junior high self and her discovery of Elton John.

I will leave you with this great discussion she had with Teri Gender Bender hosted by the Red Bull Music Academy.

If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, I’ll just give you my favorite parts:

We need to demand an education that teaches kids to think, and adults, so that we can question our leaders, so that we can call them to the mat when they’re not doing what we want them to do, and feel like we’re being patriotic when we do that. We’re being patriotic when we question, not when we follow and memorize.

I think people are much more aware. I think we’re constantly trying to… I know I have been more involved in marches and petitions and trying to make sure that we don’t get blown up or ruin our environment permanently or just fighting back. If all we do is fight back and minimize the damage, that’s a start. I would love to just do everything we can to…I have an image in my mind. I was in east LA yesterday and I was driving down Wabash and I saw a mural with a masked wrestler and he’s got Donald Trump down on the mat and he’s got him in a headlock. I just thought, “That’s us. That’s us. If we work together we can get that guy and make him bend to our will or get him out completely.” I really believe that. I believe in the power of the people and I believe in us.

The thing is you don’t have to be one certain type of activist. You don’t have to be an artist that writes political songs. You don’t have to be a writer that’s writing an article. You don’t have to be the person that’s marching out at the protests. You don’t have to do all those things…the important thing that you can do every day is talk to the people around you. Those are people that you actually have power with. Your coworkers, your family, just talk to them and work the conversation to, “Did you vote that way? Why did you vote that way? What is happening? Do you think this person is doing what you thought they were going to do?” Open the door. I feel like it’s not enough to go on Facebook and say, “This guy is an idiot, why did you vote for them?” And then you can’t troll the people whose minds you want to change, because you’re not going to change them that way. You need to have dialogue… If you want to change minds, you need to go open minded, and you need to have dialogue, and it has to be a two-way street.

But really, just watch the whole thing, she’s so good!

All photos via Alice Bag’s Flickr account

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