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Liner Notes for the Revolution

The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound

Daphne A. Brooks

ISBN 9780674292208

Publication date: 02/01/2023

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Winner of the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Winner of the American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation
Winner of the PEN Oakland–Josephine Miles Award
Winner of the MAAH Stone Book Award
A Pitchfork Best Music Book of the Year
A Rolling Stone Best Music Book of the Year
A Boston Globe Summer Read

“Brooks traces all kinds of lines…inviting voices to talk to one another, seeing what different perspectives can offer, opening up new ways of looking and listening.”
New York Times

“A wide-ranging study of Black female artists, from elders like Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters to Beyoncé and Janelle Monáe…Connecting the sonic worlds of Black female mythmakers and truth-tellers.”
Rolling Stone

“A gloriously polyphonic book.”
—Margo Jefferson, author of Negroland

How is it possible that iconic artists like Aretha Franklin and Beyoncé can be both at the center and on the fringe of the culture industry? Daphne Brooks explores more than a century of music archives to bring to life the critics, collectors, and listeners who have shaped our perceptions of Black women both on stage and in the recording studio.

Liner Notes for the Revolution offers a startling new perspective, informed by the overlooked contributions of other Black women artists. We discover Zora Neale Hurston as a sound archivist and performer, Lorraine Hansberry as a queer feminist critic of modern culture, and Pauline Hopkins as America’s first Black female cultural commentator. Brooks tackles the complicated racial politics of blues music recording, song collecting, and rock and roll criticism in this long overdue celebration of Black women musicians as radical intellectuals.

Praise

  • Brooks traces all kinds of lines, finding unexpected points of connection…inviting voices to talk to one another, seeing what different perspectives can offer, opening up new ways of looking and listening by tracing lineages and calling for more space.

    —New York Times

Awards

  • 2021, Winner of the The MAAH Stone Book Award
  • 2021, Joint winner of the Josephine Miles Book Award
  • 2022, Winner of the PROSE Awards
  • 2022, Winner of the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Awards
  • 2022, Winner of the Harry Shaw and Katrina Hazzard-Donald Award for Outstanding Work in African-American Popular Culture Studies
  • 2022, Winner of the American Book Awards
  • 2022, Joint winner of the ARSC Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research
  • 2023, Winner of the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation Awards

Author

  • Daphne A. Brooks is author of Jeff Buckley’s Grace and Bodies in Dissent, winner of the Errol Hill Award for outstanding scholarship in African American performance studies. The William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of African American Studies and Professor of Theater Studies, American Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University, Brooks has written liner notes to accompany the recordings of Aretha Franklin, Tammi Terrell, and Prince, as well as stories for the New York Times, The Guardian, The Nation, and Pitchfork.

Book Details

  • 608 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press

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