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07 May 2012

From Beastie to Feminist: The Legacy of Adam Yauch

On Friday, Adam Yauch (a.k.a. MCA) died after a long battle with cancer. What I'll always remember about Adam was his tremendous transformation into adulthood. Compare the lyrics to these two Beastie Boys songs.

"Girls" (1986):

(1:41) Girls, to do the dishes...to clean up my room...to do the laundry...and in the bathroom.... That's all I really want is girls. Two at a time, I want girls.
"Sure Shot" (1994):

(2:08) I want to say a little something that's long overdue. The disrespect to women has got to be through. To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends, I want to offer my love and respect to the end.
Adam was proof positive that it is possible to change one's values. I remember hearing the song "Girls" for the first time on my older neighbor's boombox, sitting on our street corner. I also remember listing to "Sure Shot" on repeat while on roadtrips with my buddies in high school. My attitudes were able, in part, to shift with permission from public figures like MCA. I don't want to overstate his influence, but certainly, this kind of stuff matters, and Adam Yauch was an outspoken advocate for women's rights and a number of other progressive causes in his later life. He was a tremendous artist and humanitarian and will be missed.

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