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Popular Music

Sophie Tucker Performing

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Singer and comedian Sophie Tucker performing.
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JWA use only on jwa.org
Contributor: Institution
National Center for Jewish Film
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Sophie Tucker.jpg

Singer and comedian Sophie Tucker performing.

Just Like Animals

We need to pay strict attention to what messages we get from the media and how those messages perpetuate violence and misogyny. Violent and offensive lyrics, such as those in “Animals,” glorify and romanticize sexualized violence, causing distorted views on healthy relationships. Objectification and violence toward women can too easily become mainstream when popular celebrities endorse this behavior.

Choosing Our Role Models, and Letting Them Go

When I was younger, I used to love watching Hannah Montana on television. The lead character, played by Miley Cyrus, lived a double life as pop sensation Hannah Montana. Cyrus had so many fans, so many young not-yet-teenagers who looked up to her. I remember going to see her in concert when I was in fourth grade. It was one of the highlights of my year. 

Miley Cyrus Performs at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, September 14, 2009

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Miley Cyrus performs at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, September 14, 2009.
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Creative Commons (attribution non-commercial share alike)

Miley Cyrus performs at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, September 14, 2009.

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Barbara (Monique Andree Serf)

The singer who called herself Barbara became an icon of French music in her lifetime and remained beloved decades after her death.

Naomi Weisstein, 1974

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Naomi Weisstein in 1974.
Photograph courtesy of Virginia Blaisdell.
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JWA use only on jwa.org

Naomi Weisstein in 1974.

Photograph courtesy of Virginia Blaisdell.

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Naomi Weisstein, 1939 - 2015

“Papa don’t lay that shit on me, I ain’t your groovy chick.
Papa don’t lay that shit on me, it’s just about to make me sick.”

—Naomi Weisstein in the Chicago Women’s Liberation Rock Band

Naomi Weisstein was a fierce warrior for justice. She was a passionate disrupter of the existing order. She was a brilliant scientist. She was a fighter for women’s liberation. She was hysterically funny. She had biting insights. She was my beloved friend.

Odetta Holmes

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Musician and activist Odetta Holmes.

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Creative Commons (attribution non-commercial share alike)

Musician and activist Odetta Holmes.

Odetta Holmes, Singing for the Voiceless

Through her blues music, Holmes inspired people all over America to take a stand for black equality. She performed at numerous rallies, advocating for civil rights for all; in fact, her music is often called the “soundtrack of the Civil Rights movement.” 

Odetta Holmes

odetta_burg_waldeck-festival_1968_germany.jpg

Musician and activist Odetta Holmes.

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Creative Commons (attribution non-commercial share alike)

Musician and activist Odetta Holmes.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Popular Music." (Viewed on May 29, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/popular-music>.

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