The Los Angeles Public Library kicked off its celebration of AAPI Heritage Month on May 4, in line with its “TEENtastic Tuesdays,” with a performance from youth Los Angeles band The Linda Lindas.
But it wasn’t until today that their set exploded over social media when the LAPL posted their performance of “Racist Sexist Boy” to its social accounts. “Song of the day!,” Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello proclaimed on Twitter. And just because the drummer donned a Bikini Kill t-shirt, the riot grrrl band’s name was trending.
The Linda Lindas are a quartet made up of Mila, 10, Eloise, 13, Lucia, 14, and Bela, 16, who describe themselves as embodying the spirit of original punk, power pop and new wave through today’s ears, eyes and minds. Already they’ve played with Best Coast, Money Mark and L.A. punk legend Alice Bag. When Bikini Kill reunited for a string of shows in 2019, they handpicked The Linda Lindas to open for one of their sets at the Hollywood Palladium.
Setting their sights on Hollywood, the mostly teenaged band wrote and performed an original song for “The Claudia Kishi Club,” a documentary about the power of “The Babysitter’s Club” character Claudia Kishi. As described in the Netflix movie, she was a character who provided Asian American representation for young girls in the ’80s and ’90s when not much else of popular culture did. Even beyond the song, The Linda Lindas — a group that is half Asian, half Latinx — themselves channel the essence of artsy, free-spirited Claudia Kishi by occupying space in a music scene that has long been known for its whitewashed, masculine dominance.
“A little while before we went into lockdown, a boy came up to me in my class and said that his dad told him to stay away from Chinese people,” the drummer said to introduce “Racist, Sexist Boys.” “After I told him that I was Chinese, he backed away from me. Eloise and I wrote this song based on that experience.”
The nine-song set includes other original songs, such as “Clauda Kishi.” They closed out with a cover of The Muffs’ “Big Mouth,” but not before thrashing away at Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl.” It was a reprise moment of their cameo in the Netflix movie “Moxie” where The Linda Lindas perform at a party for protagonist Vivian (Hadley Robinson) and all her new friends who came together to fight the sexism at their high school.
Watch The Linda Linda’s full performance below.