There’s pink, shocking pink, dayglo pink and then there’s Delilah Bon in your face, shout-it-loud, confrontational, girl-punk, pink. Or should that be PINK!
Delilah who I hear you say? Well over 100K Tik Tok followers know exactly who that is. Yorkshire born, lead singer for ‘Hands Off Gretel’ Lauren Tate (Delilah’s real persona) now promotes her rap-hip hop alter ego as the rapidly rising star Delilah Bon. With lyrics like
“What's the matter boy have you never been told no by a girl? Did that little girl upset you? You walk 'round like you're King Kong. Really you're just hiding that extra small ding-dong”,
she’s clearly no intention in keeping her attitudes under wraps.
So, it was with great pleasure that AWTY took time to talk to her about feminism, prejudice and rap, as post lockdown Delilah struts her stuff.
What does feminism mean to you?
“One thing that has transformed me as a person is understanding that you’re not in competition with other girls. Feminism, for me, is like a sisterhood, you care about other women, and you don’t drag them down. There are times in my life where people have said things to me which aren’t right. As a woman you have to fight and stand up to it, know that such behaviour isn’t acceptable and be proud of your own femininity!
You were fairly clear in your lyrics about your attitude to clothing for Delilah Bon?
"People wanna judge. Throw shade at girls like us. Who don't bow down to the men. Who wanna try and cover us up. We aren't your property. We aren't accessories. So listen carefully 'cause I don't listen to you."
“I believe it’s your choice whether to cover up or wear more revealing clothes. I like to do both with Delilah Bon. I enjoy experimenting with styles. Sometimes I will wear a baggy T-shirt and other times I might wear more revealing clothing. Empowerment is about dressing how you want!
What reactions have there been to Delilah?
“It’s been really popular with women, non-binary and the trans community. In terms of negative responses, I have had some men say they feel it’s man hating, because when I mention the word misogyny, they seem to think it means I’m hating men. That’s not the case. I just hate men that hate women! On the other hand, I’ve had some positive responses from dads. They’ve said things like ‘thank you so much for making this music. It’s really helped me understand my daughter especially being able to hear songs that talk about women’s safety’. So that’s been really good!
How does Delilah relate to ‘Hands off Gretel’?
“When I started ‘Hands off Gretel’, I wanted it to be about female empowerment and I always had a strong feminism lyric in the band’s songs. I wanted to have the sort of ‘Bikini Kill’ type of audience. I was seventeen when I played my first ‘Hands off Gretel’ gig and I expected it to be full of really cool young girls. Instead, it was lots of older men. I was shocked by that and found it quite upsetting. For about a year there were no women in the audience and we only seemed to attract blokes. However, Delilah Bon, has resonated much more with women, perhaps because they can relate to hip hop more than screaming metal.
How else has your approach to music been influenced by feminism?
“When we first had the band, I used to sit in with the producer and talk about my ideas, but they didn’t listen. A lot of the time the producer would say ‘leave me to do my job. You just sing. Don’t get involved in production.’ So, my confidence got knocked quite a bit. When you search for studios it’s pretty much all men who work at them. There was one female producer I came across who I wanted to work with but she was booked up, so we couldn’t use her. In fact, the only girl I’ve ever met at a studio was the tea girl! So, although I’ve had had no mentoring, I decided to produce my own album. Of course, there’s the risk of not being taken seriously but I just felt I had to show people I can do it.
Finally, are there any tips you would give women and girls coming into the industry?
“Make your music a diary to the world and leave behind a message, not just for now, but for the future. That’s what I do when I write. I imagine in fifty years’ time someone might find one of my songs and it might just be the message a girl needs to hear at that time.”
To keep up with Delilah Bon:
Tik Tok: @delilahbon
Heard but not seen: Women and Punk
The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned; the names of punk's best known bands trip off the tongue. Yet there are questions as to why has women's role in the punk revolution become somewhat lost?