A Bunch of Interviews with Kick-Ass Women: Today’s Recommended Reading

Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the Internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘Net are doing, too. Today, we are celebrating International Women’s Day by compiling a list of interviews of female subjects: with a feminist rapper, with a Grammy Award-winning jazz musician, with an acclaimed poet/author, and with an eSports commentator.

Noisey’s Jack Guy profiles the Guatemalan-based activist-cum-“feminist rapper” Rebecca Lane.

With more than 1,000 women murdered in Guatemala during the past two years, Rebecca Lane is understandably angry. In her efforts to fight against the misogynistic system, the activist realized how she could use music to speak to a larger audience than she had been already and picked up rapping as a way to empower her fellow women.

If she’s not rapping about justice for the victims of the violence that rocked the country during the 36-year civil war, she’s singing about the freedom to love whoever and however you want despite what a conservative Catholic society may say. Lane is a feminist, yeah, but she is also an anarchist, an activist, and the voice of a generation of Guatemalans that are dealing with the country’s dark past, and the violence and discrimination which lingers on today.

VICE‘s Mike Diver speaks with Lauren Scott, a “shoutcasting” eSports commentator working to redefine the male-saturated world of gaming.

Since joining ESL as a full-time “multi-game caster,” Lauren Scott has seen the audience figures for her commentary skyrocket from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands. But this isn’t just chance: Scott talks at length about how much preparation and work she does to excel in her profession, and, by the looks of it, her goals don’t seem all that impossible.

But what’s even clearer from our exchanges is that she’s completely in love with what she does, with her living, and how she’s part of a culture that continues to grow fantastically. “I constantly want to improve. I think the moment I’m ‘content’ with my commentating, that’s the moment I’m out of it. When it comes to my craft, I want to do the best I can.”

The Los Angeles Times’ Sasha Frere-Jones has an email conversation with Maggie Nelson to discuss writing and form.

Maggie Nelson, whose narrative flourishes employed in last year’s excellent The Argonauts ushered in a new wave of writing modes, surely has a lot to say about the nature of writing. The acclaimed art critic/poet/essayist/author speaks to her poet beginnings as being a primary source of inspiration for her overall approach to writing prose; what may seem fresh to us is actually, for Nelson, completely natural.

Yeah, I’m interested in the kind of life-writing that’s inexhaustible, i.e., that has little to do with the “summing up” typically indicated by the word “memoir.” Also, since the book contains elements of my childhood, I see why it’s “memoiristic,” but since much of it is also a fairly straight-ahead documentary account of a courtroom trial, along with a meditation on criminal justice, misogyny, and more, it’s more of a nonfiction mash-up than any one autobiographical thing. So I thought “autobiography of a trial” seemed a truer description.

Pitchfork’s Alex Frank talks to Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist Esperanza Spalding after the recent release of her newest album.

Esperanza Spalding, a jazz musician who sparked a sea of “Who is she?” questions after being called to the stage to accept her Best New Artist trophy at the 2011 Grammy Awards, just released Emily’s D+Evolution — a concept album that finds Spalding embodying an imaginary character, Emily. Here, the self-aware performer — she references “milking it while I’m still considered young and pretty”— discusses being a woman who writes and produces her own music, what it’s like to perform for the Obama family, and labels herself a “Bernie [Sanders] girl.”

But now, the 31-year-old is throwing a curveball with the conceptual Emily’s D+Evolution, in which she fully channels Emily, a playful persona who has an interest in physics and staging makeshift plays. While the themes of the album aren’t entirely clear even to her, Spalding thinks of the record as an attempt to get back to a childlike curiosity and freedom in her practice.