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Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From one of this country's most important intellectuals comes a brilliant analysis of the blues tradition that examines the careers of three crucial black women blues singers through a feminist lens. Angela Davis provides the historical, social, and political contexts with which to reinterpret the performances and lyrics of Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday as powerful articulations of an alternative consciousness profoundly at odds with mainstream American culture.

The works of Rainey, Smith, and Holiday have been largely misunderstood by critics. Overlooked, Davis shows, has been the way their candor and bravado laid the groundwork for an aesthetic that allowed for the celebration of social, moral, and sexual values outside the constraints imposed by middle-class respectability. Through meticulous transcriptions of all the extant lyrics of Rainey and Smith−published here in their entirety for the first time−Davis demonstrates how the roots of the blues extend beyond a musical tradition to serve as a conciousness-raising vehicle for American social memory. A stunning, indispensable contribution to American history, as boldly insightful as the women Davis praises, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism is a triumph.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307574442
Subtitle:
Gertrude Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Author:
Davis, Angela Y.
Publication Date:
20111005
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
464

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Blues
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies

Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday
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Product details 464 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9780307574442 Reviews:
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