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Speaking Out Against Sexism

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Tuesday March 06, 2018

From PBS News Hour

Female Jazz Musicians Raise Their Voices Against Sexism

At this year’s Winter Jazzfest in New York, one of the world’s biggest jazz festivals, women took center stage in more ways than one. In a year when more than a third of the festival’s acts had female bandleaders — the highest in its history — it also joined 44 international music festivals to sign onto Keychange, a European music industry initiative for gender parity. Ivette Feliciano reports.

IVETTE FELICIANO: Composer and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington is a three-time Grammy award winner. Perhaps the most prominent female drummer in jazz, Carrington was a child prodigy.

TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON: I started playing the drums at 7 but at 10 I got my union card and started working. My dad was a saxophone player and drummer and my grandfather was a drummer, so I had music running through my blood.

[…]

IVETTE FELICIANO: For Terri Lyne Carrington, one way to help end sexism in jazz is to involve more women: including recruiting more female teachers at music schools. as a professor at the Berklee College of Music for over a decade, she sees the positive effect of being a female role model for her male students.

TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON: That’s why I love teaching because I really feel like I can make a difference in somebody’s life. And often, it’s a young man’s life.

IVETTE FELICIANO: In the meantime, both Carrington and Berliner have signed an open letter, started by a group of female jazz musicians inspired by the “MeToo” movement — declaring, in part, “We will not be silent. We have voice. We have zero tolerance for sexual harassment.” The letter calls on institutions and the music community to take on a greater role in creating a safe and equitable environment for not just women, but people of all different backgrounds. The letter has more than 800 signatures.

Read the whole transcript or watch the segment here