Vp Issue 7: "The Little Folk Singer that Could (and Did): Ani DiFranco"

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Vp Issue 7: "The Little Folk Singer that Could (and Did): Ani DiFranco"

talent, work ethic, and commitment to excellence, she has set the standard for the indie industry. Writer/Professor & Singer/Songwriter www.colleensexton.com

Bitch: I’m driving through a Texas sunset with this piece on my mind How to talk about Ani. How she’s moved me How her words came into my brain and never left “I got pulled over in West Texas so they could look inside my car he said are you an American citizen I said yes sir so far” I got my first Ani tape in the mail a dubbed over dubbed copy of her first self-titled album It was 1990 and I was a senior in high school For years she was this magnetic secret This tape with my sister’s handwriting no face attached that I would refer to as a great literate and spiritual source the way I carried around Toni Morrison or Adrienne Rich When years later I finally saw her perform intensity increased Seeing a woman not much older than me spewing such wisdom had an incredibly empowering effect This effect being the root of all great protest artists How they inspire others to act When her words came out of her mouth they had this weight that held them there made us want to go into that sunny still jar of these defiantly spoken truths that formed this whole community around them Hordes of us Whores, freaks, smart radical women and men would come time after time to be moved by this poet She-Ra gnarly and tattered by the world as much as we were and still standing to sing it for years It’s hard to live on the road let alone a girl alone (refer to so many poems especially Ferron’s “girl on a road”) Now that I’ve joined that still very small crowd of us that swim through strip mall hotels drink gas on the well live out of a bag (I go from Linda Carter to Bitch in 30 seconds flat) In countless bars, offices, bathrooms across this crazy and fucked up world we have 40 mailing addresses hardly a home to bring this art to you Ani inspires me the most for her insistence on her songs You know how many offers you have to say no to to say yes to belief in your art let alone how to get around this system that wants us in one place and working like a race You know how many women aren’t even allowed to speak And the fact that amongst all these seas of buy-me-up spit-me-out greed she has had the eggs to keep moving her teeth When there’s such a powerful force working to kill us her words and ways come to fill us with an image outside of TV of a woman so righteous who made this whole new sound for us who burns up a guitar like she’s channeling a star One of my heroine friends Ani reminds us all to be who we are Fight for it Make room for it This makes change It affects all our brains So take your power And manifest it. I’m driving through a hot Baltimore sunset with this piece on my mind “I’m trying to see through the glare and your music is faint in my ears” Multi-Instrumentalist/Poet/Radical Goddess www.bitchmusic.com.

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Velvetpark Magazine, Issue 7 (Summer 2004).