Category: Beyoncé

  • Intersectionality: Beyoncé Feminism

    “When the Levee Breaks,” Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy (1929): “When the Levee Breaks,” Led Zeppelin, 1971: Beyoncé samples the Zeppelin version in “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” off Lemonade (2016): She also samples a 1962 speech by Malcolm X: In the official video for “Formation,” we see what happens when the levee actually breaks: Beyoncé […]

  • The Sadness of the New World

    In 1893, Dvorak and his family traveled from New York to Chicago by train to visit the World’s Fair. From Chicago, they went to Spillville, Iowa, a farming community of Czech immigrants. While in Spillville, Dvorak met and heard the music of Native Americans for the first time. As his son described it, they were: […]

  • From Revolution to Rap

    By 1966, the Civil Rights Movement, defined by peaceful protests such as the 1960 Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins, the 1961 Freedom Rides, and the 1965 marches led by Martin Luther King, Jr. from Selma to Montgomery to register voters, was in decline. The Students Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which had been formed in 1960 as […]

  • Ridden by the Spirit(s)

    Down South I always went to church . . . those services were rich with music and emotion. I would sit caught up in the music and watch those people who had “got happy” or “got the spirit” jumping around all over the place . . . In the Black [church] . . . the […]

  • Booker T. vs. W.E.B.

    (W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington) I subscribe to the Poem-A-Day email offered for free by the Academy of American Poets. It’s nice to wake up to a poem before you start dealing with your to-do lists and putting out the various fires of everyday life. During the week, the Academy sends out a […]

  • Affrilachia

    A diagram of the major themes of country music. Country music may seem like the whitest of music genres, and has even been called “The White Man’s Blues.” Songs like Merle Haggard’s “I’m a White Boy” certainly advance that narrative. But is that narrative reliable? It’s true that some of the major themes of country […]

  • Race, Class, Art, and Consumption

    Trigger/content warnings: N-word in original source. Marie-Guillemine Benoist, Portrait d’une négresse 1800, Musée du Louvre. New Zealand singer Lorde’s 2013 hit “Royals” appeared to be a critique of conspicuous consumption: My friends and I – we’ve cracked the code. We count our dollars on the train to the party. And everyone who knows us knows that we’re fine […]