Bernadette La Hengst receives Keychange Inspiration Award

Musician and activist Bernadette La Hengst is the latest recipient of PRS Foundation's Keychange Inspiration Award.

Paul Nichols
  • By Paul Nichols
  • 21 Sep 2018
  • min read
Musician and activist Bernadette La Hengst is the latest recipient of PRS Foundation's Keychange Inspiration Award.

The award that honours and celebrates female pioneers who have made an extraordinary contribution to music and are role models for the next generation.

La Hengst is a musician and theatre-maker with a penchant for socio-political issues and utopian ideas. She was the founder of Hamburg beat-punk girl band Die Braut and she has been described as the voice of German pop feminism.

Her political interests have seen her work with marginal social groups, and raise awareness on how society deals with them, such as in her recent project with homeless people at the theatre in Freiburg.

Keychange partners select an Inspiration Award winner in each of their countries.

This German Keychange Inspiration award was presented by Alexander Schulz, chief executive of Reeperbahn Festival, who said: 'Motivate instead of lament! Bernadette La Hengst has been a role model for political and social commitment for years. Whether capitalism, climate change, integration policy, feminist discourse or everyday neoliberal madness - the musician and theatre-maker is never at a loss for critical words. She only proved this again at the beginning of September, when she provided the soundtrack for the 2018 autumn demo with her song Wir sind die Vielen. Thank you for your empowerment, Bernadette!'

La Hengst added: 'Since the late eighties I have always heard the same arguments: there are no female musicians!  So how could we support them, if they are not around?  But surprisingly I was always surrounded by many female musicians, female sound engineers, female booking agents, female label managers or female music journalists, because I wanted to get to know them.

'If we got more women in every music sector, the change will follow, because networking leads to more visibility. That’s what men have been experiencing for thousands of years. The database MusicHHwomen is a good example for female empowerment and networking in the music industry. Especially on music festivals we need more visibility of female role models to inspire the next generation. We definitely need a keychange, from lamenting the lack to celebrating diversity. '

Vanessa Reed, chief executive of PRS Foundation and founder of Keychange congratulated Bernadette, saying: 'It’s crucial that we celebrate and raise awareness of trailblazing women like Bernadette who’s story – as artist and activist – will inspire the next generation of female talent in Europe and beyond.'

Picture above: L-R Alexander Schulz (Reeperbahn Festival), Andrea Rothaug (RockCity Hamburg e.V.), Bernadette La Hengst (Winner Keychange Inspiration Award), Vanessa Reed (PRS Foundation)

Photo credit: Lena Mayer