The Linda Lindas became a sensation over the weekend after they rocked the internet with their anti-hate anthem, “Racist Sexist Boy.” The all-girl garage punk band told HuffPost about the roots of the song and what it’s been like reaching people around the world with it.
Mila, 10; her sister Lucia, 14; their cousin Eloise, 13; and close friend Bela, 16; were heard by millions after the Los Angeles Public Library shared a clip of their blazing performance at the Cypress Park branch to kick off Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Mila, the drummer, introduced the song: “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. After I told him that I was Chinese, he backed away from me. Eloise and I wrote this song based on that experience.”
She and Eloise wrote the verse in the car right after the interaction last year, she told HuffPost.
“At first I was confused, and I didn’t know how to respond,” Mila said. “Then after talking about it with my family and bandmates, I realized how messed up it was. Writing the song made me feel better, and I’m glad it makes other people feel better, too.”
Eloise, a seventh-grader who plays bass, said she sees a lot of sexism among her peers. Boys call each other “woman” as an insult or tell one another they throw like girls or “got beaten by a girl,” she explained.
“It really sucks that people can be racist and sexist at our age, and we want to stop them from growing up into racist and sexist adults.”
The girls are thrilled with the buzz over their music ― though noted that it highlights a disappointing reality. A lot of commenters said the anthem really hit home amid an ongoing surge in anti-Asian discrimination throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“The amount of people that have seen it in just a few days is really shocking, and sometimes I still don’t believe it! The positive reaction makes us so happy, but it’s sad how many people can relate,” said Lucia, a guitarist.
The Linda Lindas signed with Epitaph Records not long after the song blew up, though they’d reportedly been in talks with the label for months.
And that’s not all: The accolades have poured in from rock legends, including riot grrrl legend Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello.
In 2019, Hanna posted the Linda Lindas’ cover of “Rebel Girl” with the caption: “When the cover surpasses the original.” The girls had opened for Bikini Kill at a reunion show at the Hollywood Palladium.
Bela, who mostly plays guitar but also sings along with all the members of the band, said it was great to see people she admired posting her music “and to see the thousands of people that really feel this song.”
“But it’s also sad that people have been treated badly,” she said.
The group has a self-titled EP, released last year, as well as a 2020 single titled “Vote!” The EP includes an original song for the Netflix documentary “The Claudia Kishi Club,” which explores the importance of Asian representation demonstrated by the Japanese American character in the iconic Baby-Sitters Club books.
The kid rockers are currently writing new songs and practicing for “whatever comes next.” Their hundreds of thousands of fans, new and old, are waiting with bated breath.