Heather AugustynMay 25, 2023
Women in 2 Tone and One Step Beyond
In her latest book, Rude Girls: Women in 2 Tone and One Step Beyond (Sally Brown Publishing, 2023), Heather Augustyn explores the ska revival in the UK during the lates 1970s and 1980s. The 2 Tone label represented unity of black and white in both the content of the songs, and appearance of the bands. While race may have been central to this declaration, where did gender fit in? Many bands had few, if any, women in their lineup and so women had to do it for themselves. Empowered by punk and impassioned by Jamaican ska and reggae, they took up the microphone, the saxophone, drumsticks. Women demanded their space on the stage and in the studio. Through exclusive interviews with more than 50 women involved in ska in the UK during the '70s and '80s, Rude Girls: Women in 2 Tone and One Step Beyond tells their stories of adversity, perseverance, and sisterhood for an inspiring look at half of the story that has never been told.
Rebekah Buchanan is a Professor of English and Director of English Education at Western Illinois University. Her research focuses on feminism, activism, and literacy practices in youth culture, specifically through zines and music.