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Art as Archives

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r m

on 8 May 2014

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Transcript of Art as Archives

Art as Archives

Mind, Body, Spirit
African American Experiences in Popular Music Post-Reconstruction
Walkin' Blues
Reclaiming the Body
Birth of the Cool
Empresses & Queens
In her book,
Black Pearls: Blues Queens of the 1920s
Black scholar
Daphne Duval Harrison
lists the following the themes:

advice to other women; alcohol; betrayal or abandonment; broken
or failed love affairs; death: departure; dilemma of staying with man
or returning to family; disease and afflictions; erotica; hell;
homosexuality; infidelity; injustice; jail; serving time; loss of lover;
love; men; mistreatment: murder; other woman; poverty; promiscuity;
sadness; sex; suicide; supernatural; trains; traveling; unfaithfulness;
vengeance; weariness, depression and disillusionment; weight loss

Blueswomen challenged dominant constructs of womanhood and
confronted stereotypes of Black women by expressing their authentic
experiences and desires. ((time:marriage, economics, etc)

It's true I wear a collar and a tie,
Makes the wind blow all the while
Don't you say I do it, ain't nobody caught me
You sure got to prove it on me.
I went out last night with a crowd of my friends,
It must've been women, 'cause I don't like no men.
Wear my clothes just like a fan

Talk to the gals just like any old man
Honey baby, won't you cuddle near,
Just sweet mama whisper in your ear
I'm wild about that thing,
it makes me laugh and sing
Some of you men sure do make me tired
You've got a mouthful of "gimme",
a handful of "much oblige"
The Roots
The Great Migration, Banjo,
Syncopated Rhythms

Cultural Renaissance
Intergenerational & Multidimensional

Jazz Values
-Improvisation -Intellect/Ability
-Self-worth -Interdependence

People Get Ready
Songs of the Civil Rights Movement
document Black experiences & responses
to contradictory reality of US Democracy

Black artists used the power of their voices
& social status to address continued inequalities

Themes of Resistance, Hope & Strength

The struggle for equal rights continues
AA power in personal decisions is radically
transformed by the abolition of slavery.

Black women & men had attained a new freedom
to act on their ambitions and desires.

The Blues took shape to express these new realities.

Songs document economic realities,
reflect societal issues & share intimate
details of personal relationships

When everything is finished in a world, the people go to look for what the artists leave. It's the only thing that we have really in this world --is an ability to express ourselves and say "I was here".
Bo-Weavil Blues
- Ma Rainey &
Mississippi Boweavil Blues
- Charley Patton

Times is Gettin' Harder
- Lucious Curtis
Times is gettin' harder,
Money’s gettin' scarce.
Soon as I gather my cotton and corn,
I’m bound to leave this place.

Dear Old Southland
- Bessie Smith
Dear old Southland I hear you calling me
And I long, how I long to roam
Back to my old Kentucky home
Dear old Southland for you my heart is yearning
And I long just to see once more
Was the time you could walk round here
And call this place your home sweet home.
But now its all mine for a time,
I’m free and sitting all alone.
Don’t need
your clothes.
Don’t need
your rent.
Don’t need
your ones & twos
Though I ain’t rich,
I know my stitch
I earned my
strutting shoes
National Black Consciousness
Now dreams
Are not available
To the dreamers,
Nor songs
To the singers.

In some lands
Dark night
And cold steel
But the dream
Will come back,
And the song
Its jail.
-adaptable, organized & highly proficient sound reflects
the deepening ideologies and new formations
of AA social & political actions
Reinforcing the Spirit
Revitilizing the Mind
High Priestess
of Soul
"Alabama's gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about
Mississippi Goddam"

Mistreating daddy,
mistreating mama
all the time
Just because she
wouldn't let you
Mistreating Daddy,
mama's drawed the danger line
Yes, you'll cross it, I'll get you
If you see me setting on another daddy's knee
Don't bother me, I'm as mean as can be

I'm like the butcher
right down the street

I can cut you
all apieces
like I would
a piece of meat
Freedom Songs

Black Popular Music

Serves as a useful historical record of AA experiences
Gives a unique voice to Black experiences & desires
Provides an insightful counter the Dominant Discourse

Guiding Theories
Art as Archives
Ocean Cultural Construct

Musical Eras
The Blues, Jazz, CRM Music

Messages in the Music
Cultural texts, Music & other Art can give us valuable
insight to multiple aspects of AA lives

These Musical Eras' themes and sounds embody
Major Advancements, Struggles & Desires
of Black Communities in America
in the decades following Reconstruction

Our Art is Our Power
Full transcript