ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Women Musicians & Their Causes

Updated on February 25, 2010

Music has played such a significant role in activism over the past 50 years that it's hard to imagine a march, rally or cause without it. From Joan Baez singing "We Shall Overcome" at the civil rights march on Washington to Melissa Etheridge belting out "Maggie May" at the Inaugural Triangle Ball, women have helped provide the soundtrack for the nation's social changes.

In the new millennium, women are at the forefront of efforts to raise awareness about issues ranging from breast cancer research to organic farming. But in a twist that would have astounded their '60s counterparts, many of today's musicians aren't fighting the system, but are working with a variety of corporate sponsors, universities and others to raise money for causes.

Here are just some of the women and some of the causes, catching our attention in the 21st century:

Sarah McLachlan, When Sarah launched Lilith Fair in 1997, the industry wasn't sure that a celebration of women in music would be a hit. Lilith Fair went on to be the most successful concert tour of the decade, showcasing the talents of many different female artists, improving awareness of women in music, and raising money for charity. Throughout its three-year run, Lilith Fair partnered with a number of corporate sponsors and donated one dollar from every ticket sold to local and national charity organizations devoted to helping women.

Mary J. Blige, "The queen of hip-hop soul" has raised more than $1,000,000 for AIDS organizations across the country on behalf of the M·A·C (Make-up Art Cosmetics) AIDS fund. The fund gives money to organizations that provide day-to-day services such as food, clothes, medicine, childcare and education to people living with HIV and AIDS. On her 33-city Mary Tour, Mary has visited many local AIDS organizations and presented the check herself. Mary is also involved in Rap the Vote, an effort to involve urban youths in the political process.

Lil' Kim, Lil' Kim works on her own and with Mary J. Blige to raise awareness for the M·A·C AIDS fund. Her flamboyant and controversial image appeals to many urban, African-American and Hispanic youths who might not be reached through mainstream media. "If I can help one person by lending my image, I am going to do it," Lil' Kim said of her decision to be involved with the fund. Drag diva RuPaul and singer k.d. lang have also worked as spokespersons for the project.

Natalie Merchant, Natalie's concert in New York's Central Park raised money to fund breast cancer research. A portion of the proceeds from the Mind Body SELF Festival went to the Big Bam! Foundation, a charity organization dedicated to educating and supporting young women in the fight against breast cancer.

Tori Amos, A leading spokesperson for RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, Tori has been frank about being raped, and some of her songs reflect her experience. She helped form RAINN in 1994 in response to the many fans who had contacted her with their own experiences of rape and sexual assault. RAINN was one of the first national beneficiaries of Lilith Fair.

Tracy Chapman, Tracy considers herself primarily a musician, not an activist, but has been involved in a number of causes, including raising money for literacy programs, breast cancer research and organic farming. Her New Beginning CD featured photos of her in the organic fields at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and she donated a block of tickets to her San Jose concert to benefit UCSC's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems and the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

Sheryl Crow, Sheryl played Stevie Nicks' benefit in Arizona for the Arizona Heart Institute Foundation. She's also involved in the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines with Emmylou Harris and wrote the song "Redemption Day" after visiting Bosnia and seeing the destruction there.

Rock for Choice, Started in 1991 by the female grunge band L7, music journalist Sue Cummings and the Feminist Majority Foundation, Rock for Choice has given up to 12 shows a year on college campuses to raise money for the National Clinic Access Project effort to keep women's health clinics open nationwide.

Many musicians express the sense that, by raising money for causes, they are "giving back" to the community and to the fans who have helped them become successful. But they're also very aware of the power celebrity support plays in bringing an issue to public attention.

Young kids are influenced by seeing their favorite bands playing at concerts. Melissa Etheridge recalls listening to '60s protest songs sung by Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, and how they influenced her. Many kids, then and now, listen to the music first and appreciate the activism later.

Rock and roll is here to stay. Social activism is, too. Together, artists and fans willing to stand and be counted are making a difference in the lives of us all.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      I'm a nobody. Just another one of many cats riding motorcycles around looking for my next fix of Whiskas. :)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 

      8 years ago

      "... hoping that nobody notices they can't sing."

      Nobody? Well, you have noticed, so have I! :)

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      Personally I think that ANY of the female music stars of the 60s would have blown today's crop of exposochix away. All they're mostly good for is to show off their cleavage and bikini wax while hoping that nobody notices they can't sing. For example, I LOVE Taylor Swift, but I sing better in the shower than she did with Stevie Nicks! :P

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 

      8 years ago

      Had she started her career in this era, she would have blasted the likes of Spitny Breers, Carry Amarie and the likes to total insignifix, ya?

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      nicomp, don't remind me. Google never replied to my complaints about those Scientbastids. :(

      quicksand: Sandie, the barefoot princess, how could we ever forget her. The first and ultimate Brit girl! :)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 

      8 years ago

      Remember Sandie Shaw? She really had a great personality didn't she?

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      I see Scientology ads here. :(

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)