2017 Polaris Music Prize winner Lido Pimienta deservingly won for her incredible self-released debut album La Papessa and we’re so happy this record is starting to get the attention it deserves. On the downside Pimienta has unfortunately been facing some terrible racism, in reaction to her Halifax Pop Explosion performance. In response, she told Billboard…
I started asking men specifically to go to the back of the room because in my 15+ years of attending shows, both on stage and in the audience, men make it unsafe for me to be in such spaces.
From the audience’s point of view, [men] for the most part will not think twice before they put themselves right in front of you. I am a short woman, so I always have to show up very early to be able to enjoy the music, to see the acts… From the stage point of view, I noticed how most men who plant themselves at the front, they tend to overpower ME. Their presence usually at my own show is a threatening one and I have had men grab me, grab my hands, grab my waist, scream “TE AMO MAMACITA.” My show is all about high energy and high feminine power, so I can see for some men, my energy reads “sexual” and they feel like my show is FOR THEM, when in fact, my show if anything, is for WOMXN.
When I started asking womxn to the front, I noticed how white women were usually at the front and brown girls would be behind the white girls, a bit more shy, a bit more restrained. Even at HPX, I had to call out a few black girls who were “too shocked” and felt I was “putting them on the spot” by saying, “Girl come to the front! This is for you!” As an immigrant, as an Afro-Indigenous person, as an intersectional feminist, as a mother and all of the other signifiers that qualify me as “other,” I understand what it is like to not see yourself in the media, to not see yourself in institutions and to not see yourself represented or reflected at a music show, because the “artist of colour” (and I put that in quotation marks because even that term is extremely problematic), we don’t get to see each other at that level.
My being on stage in an otherwise mainly white folk artist bill, in Nova Scotia, a province famous for the segregation and mistreatment of African Nova Scotians, was not meant to be an act of HATE AGAINST WHITE PEOPLE. It was meant, as it has always been to me, [as] an act of love for the children of these African Nova Scotians, the children of Somalian refugees who ended up somehow in Halifax, and for the children of the many immigrant and migrant folks who, just like my mother, one day arrived in Canada with a specific narrative but the same story of “hoping for a better future.” But still for us, the children of these immigrants, it is still quite strange, the act of enjoying ourselves uninterrupted by a white person who feels threatened by our presence.
This is why I do what I do, because I understand the feeling of oppression and exclusion. I never asked white folks to leave my show, I would never do that. I never ask men to leave my show, I ask them to share the space in a more significant manner as an act of love and solidarity with people who, outside of the music show bubble, have to constantly justify their existence to the world.
In lighter news, Pimienta has released a video for La Papessa track Quiero Que Te Vaya Bien,” which translates to “I Want You To Do Well.” Directed by Caroline Macfarlane, the video features Lido singing to camera, putting on make-up accompanied by her son (who is dressed as Mario) & sinking deep into a tub.
Watch the video for “Quiero Que Te Vaya Bien” above.
La Papessa is out now, buy it here and enjoy. You can also watch Lido’s Live on KEXP from Iceland Airwaves set below.