Women’s History Month is a great time to remember the many women in jazz who’ve paved the way for those of us in jazz today.
As a middle schooler, I started what has now become Key of She Jazz, an organization devoted to supporting and encouraging girls and young women as they become involved in jazz, starting in the middle school years through high school, college, and beyond. Many girls need to see other girls succeed to believe they can do it, too, and a main goal of our organization is to increase the visibility of role models to girls in jazz. Several times a year, we host events that feature speakers, performances, masterclasses, workshops, and sessions that give incredible women in jazz a platform to inspire girls to pursue their passion of jazz. We also have developed comprehensive resources for students and jazz enthusiasts to learn more about women in jazz, both historically and present day.
As a college student, I experience first hand the lack of gender representation in academic settings. I also see how important it is to have a supportive community – not only of other girls and young women in jazz, but peers, teachers, and others who see the importance of the mission.
After all, jazz is such a collaborative art form, and it’s best played when everyone on and off the bandstand feels comfortable and happy playing.
Curating a supportive environment for all is crucial for honoring this art form. Jazz Philadelphia thanks everyone out there who cares about supporting women and girls and jazz.