Popular indie band Boygenius recently performed at Coachella for the festival’s 250,000 attendees. The group is comprised of acclaimed solo artists Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker — and the three of them are sharing with the world the importance of using music as activism.
During their set, the members shared a message to their trans fans — and for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, according to The Desert Sun.
“If you’ve been following the tomfoolery in the news in Florida, Missouri… We want to say that trans lives matter and trans kids matter, we’re going to fight this and win,” said Dacus, with Bridgers adding, “F*** Ron DeSantis.”
It’s important to note that all three members of Boygenius are queer-identifying themselves, and they use their music to express that identity. The group formed after Bridgers, Dacus, and Baker bonded over shared experiences they had with growing up in Southern religious communities.
The name “Boygenius” is even a subtle fight against their experiences with oppression. It started as a joke on the trope of a “boy genius,” but then it stuck. Dacus told the New York Times in 2018, the name was a play on “boys and men we know who’ve been told that they are geniuses since they could hear, basically,” with the group channeling that trope through their creative process by acting like “the boy genius.”
Bridgers especially has spoken for using music as activism, even in her own solo career. During the height of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, she had an album Punisher scheduled to release on Juneteenth, but instead she released it a day earlier and encouraged fans to donate to a list of advocacy groups.
“That was one of my first moments realizing, ‘Oh, I actually have power,’” Bridgers told Teen Vogue. “On the days where everybody’s paying attention to me because I’m putting something out there, you can point it to something really useful.”
Boygenius has expressed that they feel let down by those in the industry that came before — most of who were white, straight, and male — who didn’t use their platforms for better. They have a sense of responsibility to improve the industry. As they harmonize in their 2018 EP, “I’ll bite at the hand that feeds me.”
Still, the group doesn’t want to be limited by turning their identities into a brand or a label for their music.
“Something that’s been really important to us is to be able to exist like any other band: to make a sick song and have that not be weighted because of all these extraneous identifiers that we work within,” Baker told Rolling Stone. “It would be more effective for a kid to look at photos of the live set or at the album credits and to understand this world is accessible to them than trying to make an explicit statement about [the band having] only queer folks.”
Boygenius released their first EP back in 2018, and were on hiatus for a while, deciding to continue their solo careers. But they returned this past March 31st to release their first full album, The Record. Now, they plan to go on tour this summer. They’re emphasizing friendship this year, and will likely continue fighting for what they believe in through music.
By Caileigh Winslade, Senior, ChiArts
Instagram: @fairytwist / Twitter: @silverrebi
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