Controversy erupted on Austin music scene Facebook pages over the weekend when a band full of white dudes with an inflammatory name that references black women’s genitalia had their show at Hotel Vegas cancelled following a social media backlash related to the band’s name. This post is not about that. Instead, we’re dedicating the brain space we could use analyzing whether it’s ironic or sexist for male artists to use mis-gendered band names and whether it’s really worth fighting for the right to upset black women to celebrate some of the fine black female talent rising through the ranks of the Austin music scene.
Anastasia. On her new mixtape “Kale & Yoga” this Austin-born and raised emcee spits rugged rhymes about perseverance, resilience and soul power. Backed by a live band, she set the stage on fire in her early afternoon set at Sound on Sound Festival. Then she dropped by to mix it up with us on the Statesman Shots podcast. She’s a force to be reckoned with on her own, but her squad also goes deep. As part of the black female powerhouse collective C.A.K.E. she strives to empower young women and girls through music and performing arts. You can catch her Friday night at Flamingo Cantina for “Tha Get Down,” and Saturday night at the Gatsby for “Austin’s Very Own.”
Alesia Lani. Sliding her silky tones over steamy, baby-making grooves from her killer backup band Keyz Street, this sultry singer invites you to pull a loved one close, snuggle in and feel the heat. Experience it live every Friday in December, as she kicks the weekend off right with a happy hour set from 7 to 9 p.m. at Stay Gold.
Upper Reality. Smoky-voiced Afro-futurist Jessica Bathea is a 21-year-old economics student at the University of Texas who’s also making waves on the local hip-hop and R&B scenes. Her new EP “Silver” swirls dreamy electro-soul together with pointed spoken word. She spent this spring studying abroad in South Africa where she conceptualized “Silver” to reflect the fear of going all in and coming up just short of gold. “When I came back from South Africa, I vowed to never take that destiny,” she said earlier this month, right before the EP dropped. The video above is from her release party.
A few more black female ATX artists we love
Magna Carda’s Megz Kelli
Mindz of a Different Kind’s Te’aunna ‘Blakchyl’ Moore
Riders Against’s the Storm’s Qi Dada