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Pollet, Tiik, 2008

 File — Multiple Containers

Scope and Contents

From the Collection: An Activist Life Oral History Project is a collection of life histories of women who have dedicated their lives to social and political activism. The project documents both the diversity and the persistence of women's activism, as organizers and as cultural workers, in a variety of social movements such as women's health, economic justice, LGBT liberation, peace, education, and environmental sustainability. Narrators include educators and academics, musicians, writers, and artists, as well as community and religious leaders. They come from a variety of class, ethnic, racial, social, and geographic backgrounds. Interviews cover childhood and growing up experiences; education and employment; activism and politics; family, identity, relationships and community.

Narrators include:
From the Collection:
  1. Lois Ahrens
  2. Joan Ballas
  3. Joyce Berkman
  4. Annie Cheatham
  5. Maria Cuerda
  6. Frances Crowe
  7. Delight Dodyk
  8. Merle Feld
  9. Barbara Hammer
  10. Sue Hyde
  11. Lesléa Newman
  12. Jane Pincus
  13. Letty Cottin Pogrebin
  14. Tiik Pollet
  15. Christine Shelton

Dates of Materials

  • 2008

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

At the direction of the narrator, this interview is not available for research use because it must be redacted before being opened.

Permission is required from the narrator to access the unedited version of the interview. Please consult with special collections staff at specialcollections@smith.edu to inquire about redaction or access to the unedited version.

Conditions Governing Web Access

This interview may not be placed on the web because there was no formal web access agreement signed. Please consult with special collections staff at specialcollections@smith.edu to inquire about the existence of or access to digital copies.

Conditions Governing Use

The interviewer and narrator have transferred copyright of this interview to Smith College.

Biographical / Historical

Tiik Pollet was born in Washington D.C. to Pierre Pollet Sr., a big band musician, and Helen Juanita Bowen Pollet. She was raised in Silver Springs and Tacoma Park, MD with her brother and sister. With her father as a creative role model and teacher, Pollet learned to play music at an early age. After graduating high school, Pollet traveled around Europe playing music. She came back to the US in 1970 and moved to LA with her mother, brother, and sister. She lived in LA and the Bay Area until 1976, performing rock music with the bands Lizzy Tisch and BeBe K'Roche. She came out as a lesbian in 1973, and participated in lesbian-feminist and women's music scenes. She lived in three collective houses, one in Berkeley, CA, and two in Washington, D.C. She moved back to Washington, D.C. in 1976 and has lived there since. She worked for Food For Thought Restaurant from 1976 until it closed in 1999. In 2000, Pollet went back to school at the Concoran College of Art and Design and studied photography. She was awarded the Martin Chambi Award for Excellence in Photography for Girls Will Be Boys, an ongoing series of portraits of FTM transgender individuals. Living in D.C., Pollet also volunteered with various political organizations having to do with food and farming, women's health, and violence against women. She also has played many benefit concerts and was active in the Take Back the Night rallies. She now works at the Fillmore Arts Center, where she teaches music and digital arts to children.

Language of Materials

English

Overview

In this oral history, Tiik Pollet discusses her experiences of class, race, sexuality, and gender, as well as her music career and her work as an activist. The focus of the interview is her experience in lesbian-feminist and women's music communities in the 1970s and 1980s in California and Washington, D.C., as a working-class, mixed race lesbian. Pollet discusses her struggles in the community, in collective living situations, and with her bands, especially surrounding drugs and relationships. She also discusses her issues with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, resulting from violence at the hands of many men, including her father, her own internalized homophobia, and her struggles with alcoholism. Gender is another central point of the interview, as Pollet discusses her gender formation from childhood and into adulthood, as well as her music, photography, and beliefs concerning gender. She also describes her activism and work in Washington, D.C. at Food for Thought Restaurant, Take Back the Night rallies, Jeremy Rifkin's Pure Foods Campaign, and the Fillmore Arts Center, where she teaches music and digital arts to children. She explains why the history of women's rock within the women's music scene is important, and why she works to preserve that history.

Creator

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Contact:
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063