Human Song

Rocker/rapper Ani DiFranco wrote a song called Sister Song which is about seeing women less as a/sexual beings and more as human beings. I first heard it as a Sarah McLachlan/Paula Cole cover, but I immediately recognised it as a DiFranco song, because if anyone’s a humanist, then she is.

DiFranco has her fair share of songs about women’s issues only – abortion, inequality, insecurity. But the bulk of her work (at least as far as I’ve heard) is about human flaws. “˜Napoleon’ is about becoming too big for your britches and selling yourself out for the almighty dollar; “˜As Is’ is about being true to and honest with yourself (take me as is). Her lyrics don’t speak to men or women as a gender; rather, men and women, as human beings. Her music is also deeply seeped with the reality of day-to-day insecurities, especially in an industry as tenuous as media.

But she never speaks as a woman, rather, as a human, and from the people I’ve spoken to who like her music, she seems to have a reasonably equal demographic between men and women. (The women may just be more prepared to fess up/pay to go to a concert.). Is it just me, or could we do with a few moire Anis and a few less Kanye Wests on our charts?

I’ll give Ani the last word:

I speak without reservation from what I know and who I am. I do so with the understanding that all people should have the right to offer their voice to the chorus whether the result is harmony or dissonance, the worldsong is a colorless dirge without the differences that distinguish us, and it is that difference which should be celebrated not condemned. Should any part of my music offend you, please do not close your ears to it. Just take what you can use and go on. – Ani DiFranco

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