August 22, 2018
Yoko Ono is doing something crucial: revisiting the past. With her latest album Warzone(out October 19), Ono is reworking songs from her 30-year career at a time when remembering our history to influence our future couldn't be more crucial.
One of those songs, "Woman Power," is premiered below along with a new music video conceptualized and designed by Ono. The immediacy and relevance of the song is startling; it is hard to imagine that as women we are still fighting for rights we thought we had secured in 1973 when the song came out. Equally shocking is Ono's call out to then-Presdient Richard Nixon in the track to find his humanity, which is just as applicable to current President Donald Trump.
Along with the new video, Ono asked Refinery29 to reprint her compelling 1971 essay on female liberation that served as the liner notes in her Infinite Universe LP in 1971, paired with an original illustration by her late husband John Lennon. Both follow the video and interview below.
Refinery29: How is the female revolution different today than it was in 1973, when "Woman Power" was first released? Are men making any changes that you think will be significant in how they approach equality?
Yoko Ono: "There’s not much difference yet, but what happened was women’s voice went into their heart and they are slowly changing."
What influence has watching the Women's March and seeing women get more involved in American politics, running in record numbers in 2018, had on your work or your hopefulness for a female revolution?
"I don’t think that revolution is necessary, I prefer the word evolution."
When you originally released this song, the mention of the president and your urge for him to "be human" was during the Nixon era. Does it feel defeatist to have to deliver the same admonishment to another president, Trump, all this time later? Should we hold out hope for Trump to find his humanity?
"I think they have to, and they will."
What steps would you like to see the women in the #MeToo movement take next? What is most crucial to address in order to affect real change for women in the arena of sexual harassment?
"Instead of thinking of it as harassment, think of it as desperation. Women should continue to speak out, but men should speak as well, it should be a dialogue."
In your opinion, are we closer or further from achieving any manner of equality?
"Equality is a very strange word, because we are basically not equal, none of us are. We want justice, not equality. I myself, do not want to be equated with men, I want to always be me."
by Courtney E. Smith
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