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Regional Interests

Teen Rockers The Linda Lindas’ ‘Racist, Sexist Boys’ Is the Anthem We Needed

As someone who still flinches at awkward memories of being a Russian immigrant kid in middle school, there’s something deeply healing about watching The Linda Lindas. In case you missed it, they’re a punk quartet comprised of Lucia (14), Eloise (13), Mila (10) and Bela (16), and this week they went viral for their Los Angeles public library performance of their original song “Racist, Sexist Boys.”

“A little while before we went into lockdown, a boy in my class came up to me and said that his dad told him to stay away from Chinese people,” said drummer Mila during the May 4 performance, which was part of an AAPI Heritage Month celebration. “After I told him I was Chinese, he backed away from me.”

“So this is about him and all the other racist, sexist boys in this world,” added lead singer Eloise before the band revved their distortion-heavy guitars and powered up the bass and drums. With fury in her voice, Eloise delivers lyrics that have been stuck in my head since I first saw the video: “Racist sexist boy, we rebuild what you destroy.”

These girls have fierceness I could only dream of when I was listening to the Ramones on my CD player at their age, and their message couldn’t be more timely as communities across the country figure out how to heal from recent anti-Asian racism and violence.

Other adults are taking notice. The Linda Lindas first began playing together in 2018 at the rock camp Girlschool LA, where they received guidance from musicians like Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Their star has only shone brighter from there: They’ve performed with punk veteran Alice Bag and contemporary acts such as Best Coast. They’ve also played at numerous activist events, and even wrote a song for the Netflix documentary The Claudia Kishi Club, about the importance of the Japanese American character from the popular Babysitters Club book series.

These are all impressive milestones to reach before high school (or even middle school) graduation, and it only gets better. The Linda Lindas were chosen to open for riot grrrl legends Bikini Kill for their 2019 reunion show, and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine is among their fans.

It’s safe to say The Linda Lindas have a bright future ahead, and I’m rooting for them. Watch the full concert and Q&A below.

Copyright 2021 KQED