The Linda Lindas, a band based in Los Angeles, are taking down sexism and racism, one viral song at a time.
On May 4, the Los Angeles Public Library began its celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month with a performance by The Linda Lindas, a "half Asian, half Latinx" band of sisters, cousins, and friends. The performance mostly went unnoticed. That is until the library posted their performance of 'Racist, Sexist Boy' to their social media accounts. Soon enough, the teen band blew up. The quartet, comprising drummer and singer Mila, aged 10; bassist and singer Eloise, aged 13; guitarist and vocalist Lucia, aged 14; and guitarist and singer Bela, aged 16, describe themselves as embodying the spirit of original punk, power pop, and new wave through today’s ears, eyes, and minds, NBC News reports.
Already, The Linda Lindas have played with Best Coast, Money Mark, and Alice Bag (a punk legend from Los Angeles). When Bikini Kill reunited for a series of shows in the year 2019, the band handpicked the teen group to open for one of their sets at the Hollywood Palladium. The recent viral video of 'Racist, Sexist Boy' only shot them further to fame. Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello proclaimed on Twitter, "Song of the day!" The song was inspired by an experience the drummer had with a boy in her class, she explained in an interview with NBC.
"A little while before we went into lockdown, a boy came up to me in my class and said that his dad told him to stay away from Chinese people," she said. "After I told him that I was Chinese, he backed away from me. Eloise and I wrote this song based on that experience." In addition to 'Racist, Sexist Boy,' The Linda Lindas played eight other songs during their set at the Los Angeles Public Library, including a cover of The Muffs’ 'Big Mouth' and Bikini Kill's 'Rebel Girl.' They also included other original songs, such as 'Claudia Kishi.'
The song was named after a character from The Babysitter's Club and performed for The Claudia Kishi Club, a documentary about the power of the character. Claudia provided Asian American representation for young girls in the 1980s and 1990s when TV shows and movies were otherwise dominated by White actors and actresses. The Linda Lindas themselves channel the energy of Claudia, an "artsy, free-spirited" character, by occupying space in punk music, a subgenre that has for too long been monopolized by White men. It comes as no surprise, then, that they were featured in Moxie, a movie about how a group of young girls in high school band together to fight sexism.
In the film, The Linda Lindas perform Bikini Kill's 'Rebel Girl' at a party for Vivian, the movie's protagonist, played by actress Hadley Robinson. More recently, the teen band was featured on the late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where they made their TV debut. They have even started selling their own merch for those interested in repping the coolest girls to hit the punk music scene. You can purchase your own The Linda Lindas merchandise here.