Los Angeles band WASI is excited to introduce the world to Riot Pop, a genre ushering in a new movement of empowerment and inclusion with the release of their single “What is Riot Pop?,” from their forthcoming album Riot Pop due out on June 7th.
“Like the rad, queer riot bands before them, this Los Angeles duo, comprised of Merilou Salazar and Jessie Meehan, is about more than just sick beats: it’s about using the emotive intensity of sound to rock the world into a better, more progressive future. ” – CURVE MAGAZINE
So “What is Riot Pop?” It’s about being true to yourself and trusting your instincts. “It’s being on the edge of an airplane cabin ready to jump,” says Merilou Salazar (WASI co-founder), “being scared as all hell but you jump anyway because in the end life is short and you need to live it to the fullest, then just when you think it’s all over, your parachute opens and you land safely-just like all the risks in life we’ve taken. You trust that parachute just like you trust in yourself and your gut decisions.”
“WASI……is a pop dream for woke grrrls.” – BUST
WASI’s anthemic songs speak of their experience as outsiders and owning your voice in a cloudy world. The band draws equal influences from the rebellion of the Clash and the pop sensibilities of Tegan & Sara. Not only does WASI write songs about defiance and shaking up the system, but they live it everyday. At the helm of the band are newlyweds and human rights activists Jessie Meehan and Merilou Salazar. The group developed and produce the Women f s Up Fest that takes place in Los Angeles, and last year made it’s Washington DC debut, have worked with LGBTQ youth centers around the country and on their upcoming Love is Gay tour, starting in June they will be doing the same, working with LGBTQ centers around the country meeting with kids in each city to talk to them about music, art, and above all spreading a message of pride and acceptance.
The group’s activism reached the national level last year, where they single-handedly got Walgreens to establish a nationwide bathroom discrimination policy. Two years ago, Jessie and Merilou were on their way to the Pride festival in West Hollywood and stopped at the Walgreens on Sunset and Vine. Jessie, who is a woman but tends to dress a bit more masculine asked to use the restroom and the manager on staff refused to open the women’s restroom, insisting she use the men’s room. After some humiliating and frustrating back and forth the couple went straight to the ACLU boot at the Pride festival to share their story. Jessie then worked for a year writing letters on the local level, then the state level and the ACLU stepped in when Jessie made her way to the national Walgreens headquarters and together, they got Walgreens, with 8,000 stores in the U.S. to adopt a nationwide policy to address bathroom discrimination. See the video on the ACLU website HERE.
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