Conceived and directed by Laura Bell Bundy, Double Standards is a star-studded benefit concert celebrating women’s rights, health and empowerment. We spoke with Laura about why this concert is so important to her and what it means to feel empowered as a woman.
Can you tell us about Double Standards, a concert which is celebrating women?
What sparked it all was watching the election process go down last year and seeing how scrutinized Hillary Clinton was compared to our current president, and how he got away with doing things that were highly inappropriate. I felt quite a sense of a depression after the election happened, thinking of the possibility that for the first time ever we could have a female president.
I think many women felt the same way and I was kind of paralyzed by those results. I was reading everything on Facebook and not quite sure what to post or what to do and feeling like I needed to do something – of course, I wanted to go to a women’s march. A good friend of mine said we have to activate and stay active and have to stay woke about this because clearly we have an issue of sexism in this country and we are risking losing some of our rights. She quoted Nina Simone, who said, “An artist’s duty is to reflect the times”.
Then I had this idea of doing an album called Double Standards which is like singles doing duets on a jazz standard. I posted it on Instagram and I had a lot of people respond, then a friend of mine said, “this needs to be a concert,” so I started to figure out how to make it a concert. My friends from iS Clinical Skincare (which I am not even joking, it’s like the best skincare I ever used) came on board and were like yes, we will support you and we will sponsor this event. Then it just took a long time to get it to where we are right now.
We had the women’s march in January and we were all fired up. Those same issues exist right now. We have to stay awake. We have to remember there is work to be done. There are things we will not tolerate, and so I think this concert should stand as a reminder of that, where we are, how far we have come as women, celebrating the fact that it’s the 100‑year anniversary of women getting the right to vote in New York, that it’s the centennial anniversary of Planned Parenthood. There are some great things to celebrate, but there are also some issues that we are going to be dealing with that we need to face head on and we need to support each other and support the organizations that support us as a gender. That’s the way to activate. If we raise enough money for ACLU and Planned Parenthood, then we help them with what they are dealing with as they fight this administration and anything that’s going to discriminate against women.
What song are you performing and why did you choose it?
I am doing a combination of “Ain’t Nobody’s Business But My Own” which is a Billie Holiday song and “That’s Why the Lady is a Tramp.” It’s got a little bit of a twist at the end. “That’s Why the Lady is a Tramp” is basically a song of a woman who has an independent spirit and who doesn’t hang out with barons or earls and doesn’t dish the dirt with the rest of the girls, but she is called a tramp because she is not high falutin’. She is just down to earth. She is a cool girl, with a reputation of being a tramp. So we picked that song because people often don’t know what it actually means. I am singing with Linda Hart who played my mother in the original cast of Hairspray– she always told me she was going to sing this at my wedding. I am also doing an opening number with Adrienne Warren and there are a lot of people singing with each other, duets and some group numbers.
As a woman, what makes you feel empowered?
I think it’s the example of other women. When I see strong independent women unafraid to express themselves openly and effectively, that makes me feel empowered, that makes me feel like I can do that too. I feel empowered when I am listened to and I am respected and when I say things effectively as well. As a performer, I feel very empowered on stage because I have the mic and I am expressing myself openly. I think taking that feeling an