1st Edition

Black Women's Liberation Movement Music Soul Sisters, Black Feminist Funksters, and Afro-Disco Divas

By Reiland Rabaka Copyright 2024
    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    Black Women’s Liberation Movement Music argues that the Black Women’s Liberation Movement of the mid-to-late 1960s and 1970s was a unique combination of Black political feminism, Black literary feminism, and Black musical feminism, among other forms of Black feminism.

    This book critically explores the ways the soundtracks of the Black Women’s Liberation Movement often overlapped with those of other 1960s and 1970s social, political, and cultural movements, such as the Black Power Movement, Women’s Liberation Movement, and Sexual Revolution. The soul, funk, and disco music of the Black Women’s Liberation Movement era is simultaneously interpreted as universalist, feminist (in a general sense), and Black female-focused. This music’s incredible ability to be interpreted in so many different ways speaks to the importance and power of Black women’s music and the fact that it has multiple meanings for a multitude of people. Within the worlds of both Black Popular Movement Studies and Black Popular Music Studies there has been a long-standing tendency to almost exclusively associate Black women’s music of the mid-to-late 1960s and 1970s with the Black male-dominated Black Power Movement or the White female-dominated Women’s Liberation Movement. However, this book reveals that much of the soul, funk, and disco performed by Black women was most often the very popular music of a very unpopular and unsung movement: The Black Women’s Liberation Movement.

    Black Women’s Liberation Movement Music is an invaluable resource for students, teachers, and researchers of Popular Music Studies, American Studies, African American Studies, Critical Race Studies, Gender Studies, and Sexuality Studies.

    Introduction. The Musical Icons and Anthems of the Black Women’s Liberation Movement  1. The Black Women’s Liberation Movement  2. Black Musical Feminism  3. Soul Sisters  4. Black Feminist Funksters  5. Afro-Disco Divas  Conclusion. On the Popular Music of Black Women’s Unpopular Movement


    Reiland Rabaka is the Founder and Director of the Center for African & African American Studies and Professor of African, African American, and Caribbean Studies in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is also a research fellow in the College of Human Sciences at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

    "Reiland Rabaka is one of America’s foremost scholars of the African American experience. That he has turned his gaze to Black women and music can only be cause for excitement, as all his previous works carry the label: SOTA, or state of the art. Given the depth and scope of this work, it will readily become a standout ‘reference’ work. This represents an amazing accomplishment, even by Rabaka’s standards."

    William E. Cross, Jr., Professor Emeritus, University of Denver and author of Shades of Black

    "Black Women’s Liberation Movement Music is in some ways an extension of themes that have figured prominently in Professor Rabaka’s previous books including The Hip Hop Movement, Hip Hop’s Inheritance, Hip Hop’s Amnesia, Civil Rights Music, and Black Power Music! In all, Rabaka speaks as a sociologist, musician, and social historian to confront head-on the tacit and pervasive marginalization and erasure of women’s agency in the tides of progressive social change, especially as these tides manifest themselves in music; and in all he dismantles the strategies of erasure and highlights a dazzling tapestry of Black women’s crucial contributions. But in this book, those themes find their fulfillment or even culmination. Although scholarly and popular study of this watershed period in cultural history has focused on men (White and Black), Black Women’s Liberation Movement Music demonstrates compellingly that the liberation movement of Black women, including its music, was a primary agent if not the primary agent of transformational societal changes during the period 1960-80. I recommend this beautifully structured and eloquently argued study to anyone interested not only in the Black Women’s Liberation Movement, but also in other movements including the Black Power movement, the women’s liberation movement, and the sexual revolution."

    John Michael Cooper, Professor of Music, Southwestern University