Beyoncé in the World: Making Meaning with Queen Bey in Troubled Times

Posted in Anthologies, Arts, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-10-01 15:45Z by Steven

Beyoncé in the World: Making Meaning with Queen Bey in Troubled Times

Wesleyan University Press
2021-06-08
392 pages
31 color photos
Hardback ISBN: 9780819579911
Paperback ISBN: 9780819579928
eBook ISBN: 9780819579935

Edited by:

Christina Baade, Professor, Communication Studies & Media Arts
McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Kristin A. McGee, Associate Professor of Popular Music
University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands

Essays investigate Beyoncé’s global impact

From Destiny’s Child to Lemonade, Homecoming, and The Gift, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has redefined global stardom, feminism, Black representation, and celebrity activism. This book brings together new work from sixteen international scholars to explore Beyonce’s impact as an artist and public figure from the perspectives of critical race studies, gender and women’s studies, queer and cultural studies, music, and fan studies. The authors explore Beyoncé’s musical persona as one that builds upon the lineages of Black female cool, Black southern culture, and Black feminist cultural production. They explore Beyoncé’s reception within and beyond North America, including how a range of performers—from YouTube gospel singers to Brazilian pop artists have drawn inspiration from her performances and image. The authors show how Beyoncé’s music is a source of healing and kinship for many fans, particularly Black women and queer communities of color. Combining cutting edge research, vivid examples, and accessible writing, this collection provides multiple lenses onto the significance of Beyoncé in the United States and around the world.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword / Janell Hobson
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Beyoncé Studies / Christina Baade, Marquita Smith, and Kristin McGee
  • Part One “Diva” / Black Feminist Genealogies
    • 1. “I Came to Slay”: The Knowles Sisters, Black Feminism, and the Lineage of Black Female Cool / H. Zahra Caldwell
    • 2. From Colorism to Conjurings: Tracing the Dust in Beyoncé’s Lemonade / Cienna Davis
  • Part Two “Formation” / A Southern Turn
    • 3. Beyoncé’s South and a “Formation” Nation / Riché Richardson
    • 4. Merging Past and Present in Lemonade’s Black Feminist Utopia / J. Brendan Shaw
  • Part Three “XO” / Faith and Fandom
    • 5. At the Digital Cross(roads) with Beyoncé: Gospel Covers That Remix the Risqué into the Religious / Birgitta J. Johnson
    • 6. “She Made Me Understand”: How Lemonade Raised the Intersectional Consciousness of Beyoncé’s International Fans / Rebecca J. Sheehan
  • Part Four “Worldwide Woman” / Beyoncé’s Reception Beyond the United States
    • 7. The Performative Negotiations of Beyoncé in Brazilian Bodies and the Construction of the Pop Diva in Ludmilla’s Funk Carioca and Gaby Amarantos’s Tecnobrega / Simone Pereira de Sá and Thiago Soares
    • 8. A Critical Analysis of White Ignorance Within Beyoncé’s Online Reception in the Spanish Context / Elena Herrera Quintana
  • Part Five “Hold up” / Performing Femme Affinity and Dissent
    • 9. Six-Inch Heels and Queer Black Femmes: Beyoncé and Black Trans Women / Jared Mackley-Crump and Kirsten Zemke
    • 10. From “Say My Name” to “Texas Bamma”: Transgressive Topoi, Oppositional Optics, and Sonic Subversion in Beyoncé’s “Formation” / Byron B Craig and Stephen E. Rahko
  • Part Six “Freedom” / Sounding Protest, Hearing Politics
    • 11. Musical Form in Beyoncé’s Protest Music / Annelot Prins and Taylor Myers
    • 12. Beyoncé’s Black Feminist Critique: Multimodal Intertextuality and Intersectionality in “Sorry” / Rebekah Hutten and Lori Burns
  • Part Seven “Pray You Catch Me” / Healing and Community
    • 13. Beyond “Becky with the Good Hair”: Hair and Beauty in Beyoncé’s “Sorry” / Kristin Denise Rowe
    • 14. The Livable, Surviving, and Healing Poetics of Lemonade: A Black Feminist Futurity in Action / Mary Senyonga
  • About the Contributors
  • Index
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Radio Diaries: Harry Pace And The Rise And Fall Of Black Swan Records

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-07-16 18:20Z by Steven

Radio Diaries: Harry Pace And The Rise And Fall Of Black Swan Records

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2021-07-01

Nellie Gilles, Managing Producer at Radio Diaries at Radio Diaries

Mycah Hazel, Radio Diaries Fellow


Harry Pace started the first major Black-owned record label in the U.S., but his achievements went mostly unnoticed until recently, when his descendants uncovered his secret history.
Courtesy of Peter Pace

A century ago, around the dawn of the Harlem Renaissance, New York City was brimming with music. Black artists like Eubie Blake, Florence Mills and Fats Waller were performing in dance halls and nightclubs including Edmond’s Cellar and The Lincoln Theatre.

“Every block between 110th Street and 155th Street buzzed with creative energy,” says journalist Paul Slade, author of Black Swan Blues: the hard rise and brutal fall of America’s first black-owned record label.

Despite that energy, when it came to recording and selling music by Black artists, the opportunities were limited. White-owned record labels — Columbia, Victor, Aeolian, Edison, Paramount — recorded few Black artists at the time, and when they did, it was often limited to novelty songs and minstrelsy.

“They were making a fortune off these negative portrayals of Black people,” says Bill Doggett, a specialist in early recorded sound.

Okeh Records was one of the first labels to break the mold. Perry “Mule” Bradford, a Black composer, pushed Okeh to record Mamie Smith and her song “Crazy Blues” in 1920. The record was a hit and entrepreneur Harry Pace took notice…

Read the entire story here.

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Black Swan Blues: The Hard Rise & Brutal Fall of America’s First Black-owned Record Label

Posted in Arts, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2021-07-16 14:21Z by Steven

Black Swan Blues: The Hard Rise & Brutal Fall of America’s First Black-owned Record Label

PlanetSlade.com
2021-07-03
190 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1527296978
6 x 0.43 x 9 inches

Paul Slade

Forty years before Motown, there was Black Swan. Created by a young Black songwriter called Harry Pace, this pioneering 1920s blues label gave 14 million African-Americans the chance to hear their own authentic music on disc for the first time. Ethel Waters’ Down Home Blues was the label’s first big hit, its sales fuelled by a ground-breaking US tour which made headlines everywhere it touched down. Soon, the exciting new records Pace produced were pulling in white listeners as well as Black, and providing the essential soundtrack at every chic Hollywood party.

But there was danger too. In the Jim Crow South, Waters and her band were cheered to the echo on stage only to have racist insults spat at them in the street outside. In Georgia, the corpse of a young lynching victim was hurled into the lobby of a theatre Waters was just about to play. Pace had to battle a constant stream of dirty tricks from his white rivals, who were determined to sabotage Black Swan at every turn. This is the story of a truly remarkable record label – and of the even more remarkable man who founded it.

This expanded 2021 edition of the book, published to mark the 100th anniversary of Black Swan’s launch, contains a wealth of new information and many fresh insights into both the label’s own story and Harry Pace’s determination to improve African-Americans’ lives.

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‘An American riddle’: the black music trailblazer who died a white man

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-07-15 15:14Z by Steven

‘An American riddle’: the black music trailblazer who died a white man

The Guardian
2021-07-14

Ammar Kalia


Harry Pace, lawyer and cultural entrepreneur, thought by his family to have been Italian. Photograph: Courtesy of Peter Pace

A fascinating new podcast delves into the life of Harry Pace, forgotten founder of the first black-owned major record label in the US – and unlocks a shocking and prescient story about race

There are, according to the academic Emmett Price, “six degrees of Harry Pace”. He is referring to the man born in 1884 who founded America’s first black-owned major record label; desegregated part of Chicago; mentored the founder of Ebony and Jet magazines and spearheaded the career of blues singer Ethel Waters. Pace is a figure who is seemingly everywhere at once, yet his name has been suspiciously absent from the history books.

“This story encapsulates how progress comes about in America – and it is never in a straight line,” says Jad Abumrad. “It is often a cycle – one that contains hope and despair, smashed together.”

Best known for their work on Radiolab and its hit spin-off, Dolly Parton’s America, Abumrad and his co-producer Shima Oliaee are speaking from New York about their latest podcast, The Vanishing of Harry Pace. The six-part series examines the life and legacy of its titular character – the founder of Black Swan records, who had a hand in coining the term “rock ‘n’ roll”. Pace was also a civil rights lawyer, a collaborator of WEB Du Bois, and, you might think, a pioneering black American erased from history because of his race…

Read the entire article here.

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Policing Cardi B’s Blackness: A Critical Analysis of “Commonsense” Notions of Race

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2021-06-30 02:41Z by Steven

Policing Cardi B’s Blackness: A Critical Analysis of “Commonsense” Notions of Race

Black Latinx Studies
2019-06-15

Shantee Rosado, Assistant Professor of Afro-Latinx Studies
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick.

When Cardi B entered the Hip Hop landscape during Love & Hip Hop: New York, the world seemed more entertained by her loud, humorous persona than her music. So, it didn’t surprise me that her emergence as a Hip Hop tour de force was met with some skepticism. Cardi B, born Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar, is a Bronx-born and raised Hip Hop phenom. If you haven’t heard of her by now, I’d like an escape to the deserted island you’ve been living on, por favor. Cardi is known for many things these days: for her tenuous relationship with fellow hip hop artist Offset, from Migos, for her very public pregnancy and recent birth of baby girl Kulture; and for her awkward, yet hilarious, interviews with late night figures like Jimmy Fallon.

Despite her obvious appeal to listeners, Cardi’s rise to fame was also met with some ridicule and suspicion, as critics took to Twitter to debate her legitimacy as an artist and her appearance as a “racially ambiguous” woman. Public concerns over Cardi’s Blackness are obvious from just a quick Google search. Existing articles include a blog post on Blavity, published last fall, titled “People want to know if Cardi B is Black, but for Afro-Caribbeans, things are not Black and White.” Another article, published on fuse early last year, is titled “Yes, Cardi B is Black and proud of it: Why the rapper’s Afro-Latina heritage shouldn’t be erased.” Tapping into similar concerns, a YouTube video published by The Talko and titled “20 things you didn’t know about Cardi B,” uses the first item on their list to “clear up” rumors regarding Cardi’s ethnic background. The video “clarifies” that her parents are Dominican and Trinidadian, but that Cardi was born and raised in the Bronx.

Read the entire article here.

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Racial Mixture and Musical Mash-ups in the Life and Art of Bruno Mars

Posted in Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2021-06-30 02:16Z by Steven

Racial Mixture and Musical Mash-ups in the Life and Art of Bruno Mars

Lexington Books (an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield)
November 2020
154 pages
Trim: 6½ x 9
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-7936-1982-2
eBook ISBN: 978-1-7936-1983-9

Melinda A. Mills, Visiting Instructor
Department of Women’s and Gender Studies
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida

This book argues that Bruno Mars is uniquely positioned to borrow from his heritage and experiential knowledge as well as his musical talent, performative expertise, and hybrid identities (culturally, ethnically, and racially) to remix music that can create “new music nostalgia.” Melinda Mills attends to the ways that Mars is precariously positioned in relation to all of the racial and ethnic groups that constitute his known background and argues that this complexity serves him well in the contemporary moment. Engaging in the performative politics of blackness allows Mars to advocate for social justice by employing his artistic agency. Through his entertainment and the everyday practice of joy, Mars models a way of moving through the world that counters its harsh realities. Through his music and perfomance, Mars provides a way for a reconceptualization of race and a reimagining of the future.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Introducing Bruno Mars
  • Chapter 1: New Music Nostalgia, Or, Is What’s Old New Again?
  • Chapter 2: Blurred Boundaries, or Reading Between the Lines
  • Chapter 3: The Performative Politics of Blackness
  • Chapter 4: The Sonic Politics of Pleasure, Or Love and Joy in a Time of Trauma and Tragedy
  • Chapter 5: (Re)fashioning Race and Music
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The Afro-Latinx Experience Is Essential To Our International Reckoning On Race

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Latino Studies, Media Archive on 2020-12-12 02:38Z by Steven

The Afro-Latinx Experience Is Essential To Our International Reckoning On Race

National Public Radio
ALT.LATINO
2020-07-03

Felix Contreras
Anaïs Laurent
Marisa Arbona-Ruiz
Jasmine Garsd


In Tijuana, raised fists show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Guillermo Arias/AFP via Getty Images

Let’s pause the music for a bit and talk through some things.

In three segments, we’re going to have a conversation about how Afro-Latinx folks often get left out of national discussions about Blackness and, in particular, the Black Lives Matter movement. Petra Rivera-Rideua, of Wellesley College, and Omaris Z. Zamora, of Rutgers, help us wade through layers of complexities. Our newest contributor to the Alt.Latino family, NPR publicist Anaïs Laurent, lends her considerable knowledge of Afro-Latinx culture and reggaeton to the conversation.

“I don’t think that the media, on a national level, is doing the work to understand that Blackness is heterogeneous,” Zamora says.

“There are Black Latinos, there are Afro Latinos who very much a part of Black Lives Matter and the experiences we’re talking about,” Laurent adds.

Read the entire story here.

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The Black Violinist Who Inspired Beethoven

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2020-09-11 02:13Z by Steven

The Black Violinist Who Inspired Beethoven

The New York Times
2020-09-04

Patricia Morrisroe


The violinist George Bridgetower has, like so many other Black artists, been largely forgotten by a history that belongs to those who control the narrative. The Trustees of the British Museum, via Art Resource, NY

George Bridgetower, the original dedicatee of the “Kreutzer” Sonata, was a charismatic prodigy but faded into history.

Six months after Beethoven contemplated suicide, confessing his despair over his increasing deafness in the 1802 document known as the Heiligenstadt Testament, he was carousing in taverns with a charismatic new comrade, George Polgreen Bridgetower. This biracial violinist had recently arrived in Vienna, and inspired one of Beethoven’s most famous and passionate pieces, the “Kreutzer” Sonata.

Beethoven even dedicated the sonata to Bridgetower. But the irritable composer — who would later remove the dedication to Napoleon from his Third Symphony — eventually took it back.

While Napoleon didn’t need Beethoven to secure his place in history, this snub reduced Bridgetower to near obscurity. Though his name was included in Anton Schindler’s 1840 biography of Beethoven, he was described inaccurately as “an American sea captain.” Like so many Black artists prominent in their lifetimes, he has been largely forgotten by a history that belongs to those who control the narrative.

Bridgetower was born on Aug. 13, 1778, in eastern Poland, and christened Hieronymus Hyppolitus de Augustus. His father, Joanis Fredericus de Augustus, was of African descent; his mother, Maria Schmid, was German-Polish, making Bridgetower what was then known as a mulatto, a person of mixed race. (The poet Rita Dove’s 2008 book “Sonata Mulattica,” an imagined chronicle of Bridgetower’s life, has helped raise his profile a bit in recent years.)…

Read the entire article here.

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Revisiting The Pioneering Composer Florence Price

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-06-18 00:10Z by Steven

Revisiting The Pioneering Composer Florence Price

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2019-01-21

Tom Huizenga, Music Producer


Florence Price was the first African-American woman to have her music performed by a major symphony orchestra.
Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries

In 1933, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra gave the world premiere of Symphony No. 1 by a then little-known composer named Florence Price. The performance marked the first time a major orchestra played music by an African-American woman.

Price’s First Symphony, along with her Fourth, has just been released on an album featuring the Fort Smith Symphony, conducted by John Jeter.

Fans of Price, especially in the African-American community, may argue that her music has never really been forgotten. But some of it has been lost. Not long ago, a couple bought a fixer-upper, south of Chicago, and discovered nearly 30 boxes of manuscripts and papers. Among the discoveries in what turned out to be Price’s abandoned summer home was her Fourth Symphony, composed in 1945. This world-premiere recording is another new piece of the puzzle to understanding the life and music of Price, and a particular time in America’s cultural history.

Read the story here. Listen to the story (00:04:00) here.

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Ahamefule J. Oluo: Susan

Posted in Arts, Biography, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-02-07 18:28Z by Steven

Ahamefule J. Oluo: Susan

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
University of Maryland
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park, Maryland 20742-1625
2020-02-07 and 2020-02-08, 20:00 EST (Local Time)

After moving audiences at The Clarice in 2017, trumpeter, composer and comedian Ahamefule J. Oluo returns with “Susan,” a memoir delivered through wry comedic monologue and live, grand-scale big-band and jazz.

When Susan Hawley was a sophomore in college, she fell in love with a doctoral student from Nigeria. They got married, had two children, and just as their dream life seemed like it was coalescing, her husband went back to Nigeria to visit his family and never contacted her again—leaving her a Midwestern white lady with two African babies. They were desperately poor; Susan began gaining weight rapidly, soon reaching 400 pounds. These were the cards she was dealt. Ahamefule J. Oluo’s theatrical work, Susan, tells his mother’s story as a means to tell the story of millions of women. It is a tangible crystallization of how race, class and size affect people all over the world every day. Despite all that darkness, Susan will be funny. It’s a collection of wry, black, but humane monologues, interspersed with live, grand-scale orchestral music.

This vulnerable theatrical work about his childhood tells the story of how his Midwestern mother was left to raise two bi-racial babies after the sudden departure of her husband. There’s obvious chemistry between Oluo’s singular voice and the grand creation of the music; at times, when the story is too painful for him, the ensemble carries the show. “Susan” is a category-defying reflection on how race, class, and appearance impact everyone—and how we play the hand that we’re dealt.

In 2002, after being selected as Town Hall Seattle’s first-ever artist-in-residence, Oluo realized he wanted to do something different. After years of performing and recording with prominent musicians like John Zorn, Hey Marseilles, Wayne Horvitz and Macklemore, Oluo knew he had his own story to tell—and the diverse set of skills to do it. During his time in residency, he began experimenting with blending big-band, jazz, standup and memoir to formulate a new musical and theatrical identity.

For more information, click here.

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