FEMINIST FRIDAY: #BlackGirlMagic With The Radical Monarchs, FKA Twigs’ Short Film & Beyonce’s All-Female Band The Suga Mamas

‘We Are The Radical Monarchs’ | PBS POV

Welcome to another Feminist Friday column! The part of our week where we sit around our virtual campfires and check out 3 videos we can’t get enough of right now, centered around an intersectional feminist theme. This week it’s all about the #BlackGirlMagic, in our continued mission to use our platform to amplify the voices and stories of especially black and brown womxn.

First up is the trailer for a new documentary coming to PBS’ POV series, July 20th, called ‘We Are The Radical Monarchs’. Set in Oakland, a city with a deep history of social justice movements, the film follows the two trailblazing, queer women of color who created The Radical Monarchs, a more diverse and inclusive alternative to the scout movement.

With bullhorns and protest signs at the ready, Co-Founders Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest juggle the challenges to grow their organization after a viral explosion of interest in the Radical Monarch’s mission to create and inspire a new generation of activists. The film takes us on a journey following the first troop of Radical Monarchs for over three years — before and after the 2016 Presidential election — at the front lines of social justice as they complete units on such subjects as LGBTQ allyship, environment racism, and disability justice.  

Co-Founder Martinez was inspired to create a diverse and inclusive group for her daughter, Lupita, and other girls of color. Martinez and Hollinquest’s work is anchored in the belief that adolescent girls of color need dedicated spaces and that the foundation for this innovative work must also be rooted in fierce inter-dependent sisterhood, self-love, and hope.

Instead of selling cookies, these formidable and outspoken girls earn badges for units such as “Radical Beauty,” “Radical Bodies,” and “Radical Roots.” A typical troop meeting may focus on discussing what defines Pride, or the gender spectrum, or what it means to be an ally. Or it may find the girls meeting with an original member of the Black Panthers, getting into parks and the streets for protests, taking part in Black Lives Matter marches or even taking a road trip to the California legislature to advocate for highly pressing issues in their communities for their “Radical Advocacy” badge. For the inquisitive young women who make up the first Radical Monarchs troop – including, eight-year-old Amia and Martinez’s ten-year-old daughter, Lupita – radical means respecting others while still standing up for yourself. Watch the trailer below, and see the film in full starting July 20th. Available to stream on all PBS platforms, including PBS.org, the PBS Video App and pov.org. For more information, visit PBS here.

The second video this week is an inside look at Beyonce’s all-female band The Suga Mamas. Ever since Destiny’s Child went their separate ways and Beyonce shot to fame as a solo artist, she has been traveling the world and selling out stadiums with a badass group of musicians notable for their musical prowess and the fact that they happen to all be women – something highly unusual for a major global touring act.

As Cheatsheet.com recently wrote, Beyonce introduced her all-female band in 2007, called The Suga Mamas.

“The auditions consisted of keyboard players, bassists, guitarists, horn players, percussionists, and drummers re-creating the performance of “Work It Out” from Bey’s live album Live at Wembley (2004). They also had to perform at least a one-minute solo. In the end, Beyoncé hand-selected 10 female musicians out of thousands of applicants and brought them along with her to perform 96 shows during a five-leg tour. Beyoncé’s motivation behind The Suga Mamas was simple: to highlight female musicians so young girls could be inspired to play instruments,” writes Bre Williams.

In 2017, the musicians came together to celebrate their 10th anniversary as a group with a series of concerts, Master Classes, and shows around the world, although a number of the original members have since left to move onto other solo music projects.

Watch the video below to get familiar with some of the The Suga Mamas, and let this be a reminder that when it comes to everything Queen Bey does, girls really do run the world!

The final video this week is a short film called ‘We are the Womxn’, from British artist FKA Twigs. Made for WeTransfer’s WePresent series, the film documents the artist’s time in Atlanta during and after her 2019 performance at the Afropunk Festival. In addition to her closing set at the festival, twigs hosted a women-centered celebration featuring a moon dance led by spiritual leader, Queen Afua, and a gathering at Blue Flame, Atlanta’s first black strip club.

“The film details these events, capturing twigs, her fans, and the dancers at Blue Flame dancing for one another in a celebration of their own femininity. The result is a stunning and empowering tapestry of female power and healing,” writes DancingAstronaut.com‘s Sophie Bress.

“My experience at the Blue Flame solidified that, although historically [women] are often pitched against each other because of their looks or their assets by the patriarchy, when left to our own devices we are incredibly nurturing and healing for each other,” said FKA Twigs of her experience.

Watch the short film below: