Among the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 2018 inductee class was a long-overdue accolade to a more obscure performer who had been gone for 45 years, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Some 80 years ago, Tharpe’s hit songs showcased her rhythmic electric guitar style, which is widely credited as inspiring, if not outright inventing, rock and roll.
The same year Tharpe was honored, She Shreds, a magazine devoted to supporting women guitarists and bassists, celebrated its sixth anniversary. This is no mean feat for a print publication these days, let alone one promoting new values that seek to close the gender equality gap.
“I feel we are the only guitar magazine that can proclaim a 50-50 percent readership of men and women.”
“Back when I first started playing guitar, when I was nine in early 2000? Which is not really that long ago,” ponders She Shreds Editor-in-Chief Fabi Reyna. “There really wasn’t anyone for inspiration who wasn’t a white male. That wasn’t just in the media, but something also supported by teachers; supported by community. There was a lot running against you as a young girl, or a young underrepresented voice outside of the norm.”
By the time Reyna was 18 and playing in bands, she experienced the music scene’s unlevel playing field and downright sexism firsthand and decided to do something about it. “It’s really the baby of my anger as a teenager; as a young, queer brown girl, and also my passion for music and community, and elevating art,” the 27-year-old says of the founding of She Shreds.