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Donna Summer: Trying to Be Free

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Echols, author of the disco history “Hot Stuff," said one of Summer’s strengths was the solidarity she had with “Bad Girls” and women everywhere. Summer agreed:

All women, in this modern world, as we excel, and as we go further, we’re selling ourselves. On whichever level that is – it can be emotionally, physically. We sell parts of ourselves to get to the dream. To hold the dream. To have the prize. They may be selling their bodies, they may be on the first rung of it all, but the fact is, we’re not that different...

I think that what I was trying to get to in those songs, especially in “Love to Love You Baby” was getting back to the femininity of women. Because we’ve become so emasculated by trying to be liberated, that sometimes I think we’ve forgotten the essence of who we are. We have breasts. We can feed and sustain life. In that context, I was trying to say ‘No, come back. This is who we are. We can have those things. All we have to do is use what we’ve got.

Tune in to our full discussion of disco culture and how it liberated America with Echols, author of “Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture."

This program aired on April 9, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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