Image: (Left to right) Regina Napolitano and Nora Cooper
I met Regina Napolitano at a party in April. She first clarified that she had no relation to Janet Napolitano (good). She had a little black flip-phone, which she has since traded in for an iPhone, because “What’s the use of being in the real world when no one else is with you?” She also spearheads UCLA Radio’s one and only feminist radio show, RadWomxn Radio.
I was lucky enough to go into the studio last week and hang out with her and her intern, Nora Cooper, on air. Regina, a third-year, says that the show is her favourite thing to do at UCLA. She started out as an intern for UCLA Radio, and has been broadcasting the show since January 13th this year. RadWomxn Radio is the first entirely feminist radio show on our airwaves, which, according to its manifesto, celebrates female musicians, and explores the intersection of feminism and music.
Regina is addressing an issue I think a lot of us who enjoy music face. She says:
“I’ve been totally musically obsessed since I was 14, and I think I noticed a little bit later that the vast majority of the bands I loved were completely male. Plus, when I became a gender studies major, I began thinking about gender and how it interacts with our every-day experiences in very small and sometimes very large ways.I think music can be another manifestation of patriarchal domination. I understand that that sentence might sound totally bonkers to the uninitiated. But, more or less, the voices we hear on the radio, the people playing the instruments, and writing the songs, are almost all male.
It is sometimes even worse in non-mainstream scenes like indie rock or EDM. It is so hard to find a female beat maker, and the most popular indie rock acts are all male. Like Mac Demarco or Vampire Weekend.
But, so many womxn (and non-binary or otherwise not male people) make and produce really good music. So, I try to find diverse music to play because female musicians aren’t getting the attention they deserve. They almost never headline festivals. In fact, at the most recent Coachella, something like 13% of the acts had a female musician. So the show is essentially a way for me to align my politics with my passion. I’m a feminist, and I love music.”
Music is one of the most widely-accessible forms of art we have today—so it is extremely important that it be representative of all of our voices. RadWomxn Radio is doing something very important by working exclusively to amplify the voices of womxn. Stay awesome, Regina!
Tune in to RadWomxn Radio, Tuesday nights from 10 to 11 pm on uclaradio.com