Photo credit: Alison Gordy
In light of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and in support of all the brave women who have come forward, also those victimized by Bill Cosby, another on-trial preditor, I’d like to add my voice. I cannot name names because all these years later, I have no “proof,”
I started performing at coffeehouses, open stages, VFW halls, etc. when I was 13 years old. I had nobody to protect me: my parents were dysfunctional, and I really was on my own. The unwanted attention started immediately. “Can I take you home?” “No, my mom is coming to pick me up.” “Can I buy you a drink after the show?” “No, I’m 13.”
Over the years, I kept playing, and as I got older, the overtures were bolder and more insistent. Groping, sexual comments, suggestive offers. All of it made me feel icky and in danger. Still, like a black kid in the projects who see sports as a way up and out of poverty, I clung to my music and kept going. I was going to make it up and out of my dysfunctional childhood and play my music in front of a world audience.
Fast-forward to the 1990s. I was part of the Folk Revival movement in Greenwich Village, playing in all the key venues. I had a lawyer, who, unfortunately, convinced me that he knew “someone” at Sony who could get me a record deal. “How far was I willing to go? Answer: Not that far. He did nothing for me but put his hand up my skirt and take my money while I took him out to dinner.
I ditched him when he asked for half my publishing.
I had a meeting with a major label, demo in hand, and was asked to give a blowjob to the A&R rep. I refused, and that was the end of the meeting.
I finally took my music and formed my own label, Anvil Records, in 1994 and have released two CDs, Broken Hearted Angel, and Darkness Visible. I decided to remove myself from the predators’ pool because it was utterly demoralizing.
Harvey Weinstein is just a pimple on the acne’d face of the entertainment industry, and let’s take it a step further, on our society in whole. There is a deep vein of hatred towards women and their “ample assets,” “pert derrieres,” “bikini-ready bodies,” ad nauseum. Women who are strong, capable, and willing to make a difference in society are hounded, pursued, derided, and discredited. In other words, there are a lot of men who really hate women, and will go to the ends of the earth to keep us as tits and ass toys.
I gave up on the music industry for those reasons. I support all the women who have come forward to decry this gross (and I mean that in all ways) injustice done towards them. Let’s put an end to this “I grab ’em by the pussy” mentality. It has to go. Look at who we have in the White House. Harvey’s brother.
Do I still play? Of course. Old musicians never die, we just decompose.