"And yet, we rise." Artist & Activist VIAA on the Value of Female Empowerment, and the Art of Advocating While Doing What you Love
In today’s political climate, it’s easy to get disheartened by the negative noise surrounding us. But it’s times like these that can ignite the most inspiration and motivation for change in those that are afflicted. Even with a president who publicly berates women (among other things) and a society that unabashedly discriminates against women in such areas as workplace equality and reproductive rights, women are still uniting as activists and allies.
I’m VIAA, a singer/musician living in Los Angeles, where I’ve found the city has a wide range of talented, driven women who know that together we are better than apart. Specifically in the male dominated field of the music and entertainment industry, women are finding their voices in different ways to promote fellow women. I had the pleasure of performing this past Memorial Day weekend, for an organization doing just that called Play Like A Girl at their 1 year anniversary event. Play Like A Girl is a women-powered collective that wants to create a safe space for women and all who identify as women to connect, create and prosper. PLAG, for short, throws a monthly feminist showcase that celebrates some of the raddest female musicians and artists around. Check out their website: http://www.playlikeagirlla.com/ for upcoming events. All are invited and it’s an All-ages show. You can also check out the PLAY LIKE A GIRL zine- about music, culture, art, politics- released once a month, the night of the show. They welcome all submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In making music and finding MY voice as an artist, I’ve been fortunate enough to align myself with organizations that benefit women like Planned Parenthood, etc. Another organization I had the honor of performing for was The Model Behavior; a non-profit which cultivates awareness and support to provide our most vulnerable women with feminine hygiene products. It was founded by model, actress, and designer, Chandra Anderson. On SUN, May 21, The Model Behavior teamed up with other fabulous, entrepreneurial women including Claudia Cassina, [who owns and runs the LA clothing store “Desperate” where the benefit was hosted] and Singer/songwriter Sophie Strauss to organize the benefit, titled “Desperate Behavior”. Strauss, Melaena Cadiz and myself each performed stripped down, intimate sets at the benefit and collaborated on an acoustic cover song “Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston. The Desperate Behavior benefit, in it’s modest duration, raised over $1300 and a plethora of donations of feminine products for women in need. You can still join the movement by supporting women here: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/desperate-behavior or check out their website here: http://www.themodelbehavior.com/ to learn more about them.
As a woman, and even deeper as a woman of color, I’ve come to embrace being an enigma to others; we unapologetically embody power, pride, fierceness and determination that many can’t quite understand or even accept, and yet, we rise.
More about VIAA:
VIAA is a singer/musician from Dayton Ohio; a transplant to Los Angeles CA. Taking time to find the musical direction and sound of her own, she interned at Songs Music Publishing, and began singing back-up professionally for up and coming artists like Doja Cat, Gavlyn and Azul. She has recently gained further experience backing up Willow Smith at the Soulquarius Festival and backing up emerging artist Anderson Paak on tour; including performances at Coachella alongside Kendrick Lamar and Dr. Dre, on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, and more.
VIAA's Debut EP will be released late Summer 2017. It is a collection of songs written over the past year that set the tone for her sound and represents all of the highs and lows that come with love and relationships.
VIAA's debut single "Hurt So Good" debuted on NYLON and she has been featured on Saint Heron, and other publications.
Keep up with all the incredible work she does here: