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Art as Archives
Transcript of Art as Archives
Mind, Body, Spirit
African American Experiences in Popular Music Post-Reconstruction
Reclaiming the Body
Birth of the Cool
Empresses & Queens
In her book,
Black Pearls: Blues Queens of the 1920s
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 Great Migration, Banjo,
Intergenerational & Multidimensional
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".
- 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.
your ones & twos
Though I ain’t rich,
I know my stitch
I earned my
National Black Consciousness
Are not available
To the dreamers,
To the singers.
In some lands
And cold steel
But the dream
Will come back,
And the song
-adaptable, organized & highly proficient sound reflects
the deepening ideologies and new formations
of AA social & political actions
Reinforcing the Spirit
Revitilizing the Mind
"Alabama's gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about
all the time
Just because she
wouldn't let you
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
like I would
a piece of meat
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
Art as Archives
Ocean Cultural Construct
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