‘The Beat Girl’ Inspiration Was A Pioneering Trans Woman

Track Of The Day 22/9 - Sophie Jamieson

A new documentary sheds light on the true story behind The Beat Girl.

It’s an image instantly familiar to anyone connected to the ska world: designed by Hunt Emerson for Midlands outfit The Beat, it’s a young girl dancing to ska music in pristine 60s fashions.

Together with Walt Jabsco – famously based on a youthful (and ultra-sharp) Peter Tosh – the design helped introduce ska to a new generation, with a second wave of British groups blending Jamaican culture with punk energy.

The Beat Girl has donned graffiti designs, t-shirts, and tattoos, and a new online documentary goes deep on the origins of the cartoon.

Seemingly lifted from a reprinted photograph in a 1979 report by Melody Maker on the ska revival and 2-tone, the cartoon was sculpted by Hunt Emerson, and based on a fascinating young woman.

Brigitte Bond – also known as Brigitte Saint John / Brigitte St. John – was a huge ska fan, who went on to record for UK label Blue Beat. She was also a trans pioneer, and her ultimate fate remains a mystery.

The new documentary was pieced together by Miss Upsetter, a film maker and designer whose work is well worth checking out.

The film is fascinating – a 30 minute deep-dive into ska, and the life of a true original: Brigitte Bond.

Tune in now.

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