Last Word From Sister Sledge Before America Votes Today
Interview by Sangeeta Haindl
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – America finally goes to the polls today, after what has been the most fiercely fought presidential campaign that could elect either the first female president of the US or not. Sister Sledge, the iconic music band of the 70s who gave us massive hits such as ‘We are Family’ and ‘Thinking of You’ have been major supporters of the #HillaryforAmerica Campaign.
I had the opportunity to speak to Joni Sledge about some of the reasons why Sister Sledge want Clinton as president, how they are empowering women through their music and what has this historic election been like for them as American women.
SH: Sister Sledge is such an iconic 70’s group… a time that where new social movement stook center stage. It followed the lead of the civil rights movement, as well as the mounting protests against the Vietnam War. In this era, American women were determined that their voices be heard and “I am woman; hear me roar” were the lyrics of a popular Helen Reddy song from 1972 - the phrase suggests an independence and stature for women that still, four decades later, is not fully realized. Even with a string of laws and legal wins that have advanced women’s positions in the workplace, advocates say there is still a long way to go. Is this why you have now released "Women are the Music of the World" (WAMOW)?
JS: Partly, yes. It’s undeniable that huge progress had been made for the advancement, equality and empowerment of women worldwide, but as you say, there is still a long way to go. WAMOW is also our way of contributing to the cause. WAMOW is also for our love of music, our love of humanity and the idea that all women no matter the struggle and challenges are beautiful inside and out.
SH: What is WAMOW about? What do you want to change?
JS: Music has the power to change the world. It’s important that our music changes peoples’ lives in a positive way and WAMOW is trying to do exactly that. WAMOW—Women are the Music of the World—stands for powerful women, women who have been knocked down but will stand up again and push for their lives as well as their families, friends for equal opportunities. WAMOW also takes the second line of the James Brown song “It’s a Man’s World” which says “But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl” a step further. Yes, it’s a man’s world and men are the rhythm but women are the music, and music has the power to unite us regardless of our differences.
SH: What has inspired you to get behind Hillary Clinton? What changes do you think having a female president will make to women here? As an aside, there has been no other time in world politics or history where there have been more women leaders – Merkel, May, Aung San Suu Kyi and now, maybe Clinton. Do you think better world decisions will be made and more will be done for women’s equality everywhere?
JS: We have always been interested in the equality and the empowerment of women. As a woman, I have watched all those female leaders whether it’s Merkel or Aung San Suu Kyi ascend the ranks of government. And as women, we were all watching, and are still watching.
Hillary is the definition of a strong woman, a WAMOW. She has fought long and hard for a legacy that is more than her marriage. Worked tirelessly under a president that defeated her in the primaries, and she is the first viable female presidential candidate in US history. For us, she’s already a winner. Her actions and devotions speak louder than words, and Hilary has been speaking loud and clear for the past decade. Yes, she will definitely make a difference on an inspirational and emotional level for many girls and even boys around the world. For young girls today the emotional impact of growing up with a female president is beyond measure. It will shape and build their world view and mentality to be more open and more hopeful than our generation. In 2016, the idea that a 10-year old child could grow up thinking that the opportunity to be President is based on "brilliance" and not "gender", is beautiful. It obliterates the stereotype that men are more powerful.
SH: What has this Presidential election been like for you as American women? Particularly, in light of the negative stereotypes and comments that have come from Trump?
JS: If there is one thing this presidential race has showed us it is the casual sexism still rampant in our society whether in the developing world or in the West. Every step of the way, Hillary’s intentions has been questioned – and it’s such a shame, but she has powered through.
SH: Sister Sledge has supported some big international women empowerment campaigns. Why do you think initiatives like are important? Why do you think it’s important for high-profile names like yourself to get behind these projects?
JS: It’s really important to have people listening to our music and to believe in our values. It almost becomes a duty to help the causes we believe in whenever we have the opportunity to do so. Like you said earlier, empowering women and reducing the gap between gender inequalities is an ongoing campaign. So as long as we can help as women and as a family, we will. Our music and messages are relevant and it will be a privilege to inspire the next generation to produce great music with powerful messages.
Photo Credit: Photographer: Camilla Camaglia/Sister Sledge WAMOW endorsed by Joni Sledge