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A Blueswoman Matters: Re-Visioning Blueswoman Performance in a (post?) COVID era

A Blueswoman Matters: Re-Visioning Blueswoman Performance in a (post?) COVID era In-Person / Online

Dr. Maisha Akbar examines blueswoman performance tradition as a means through which Black women expressed their stories of systematic oppression including economic exploitation, gender and race discrimination and broken romantic love. Although blueswomen are often characterized as working-class women who unapologetically broke norms, Dr. Akbar ties the blueswoman performance tradition to that of intellectual club women of the early 20th century who wrote anti -lynching (dramatic) literature. Like the music of Gertrude “Ma” Rainey and Bessie Smith, the cultural production of Harlem Renaissance writers Angelina Weld Grimke and Georgia Douglas Johnson suffers from under examination for the ways it diverges from respectability politics, or societal gender norms. Anti-lynching playwrights depict Black women as overworked, mentally and physically ailing and underpaid. For these women, systematic racism and sexism subjects them and the children for whom they love and care to cruelty, violence and death. Like the under- and un- employed, overworked Black women depicted in anti-lynching plays, Black women in Peach County Georgia, where Fort Valley State University is located, struggled on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.
In June 2020, Black women in Peach County comprised the ENTIRE total number of coronavirus deaths. Even further, Black women positions as essential workers in roles as custodians, teachers, principals and lower division undergraduate instructors further subjected them to unsafe conditions. COVID-19 (re) revealed systematic race-based health disparities, economic precarity and disproportionate death for Black women. Presently, the blueswoman performance tradition is currently re-visioned through the contemporary television screenplays of Katori Hall (a Memphis, TN native) the stage plays and show of Atlanta singer/celebrity Kandi Burress as well as Tyler Perry’s masquerade films. Dr. Akbar will briefly examine the cultural production of these artists to trace the cross generational reproduction of blueswoman performance.
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
5:30pm - 7:00pm
Time Zone:
Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
Museum Education Room
This is an online event.
Event URL:
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Evan Leavitt