I actually did not have plans to watch the Grammys.
Because GET OFF MY LAWN *shakes fist*
BUT THEN I FOUND OUT THAT THE CAST OF HAMILTON WAS GONNA PERFORM
(Hi! I’m Briya and I loooooooove musicals!)
(I love music in general)
(something something stereotypes about black people and music)
(and watermelon. Which I also love)

I ESPECIALLY LOVE ME A GOOD ROCK SONG.
Like, LOVE.
Which, growing up, I got a lot of flack for.
I’m not sure why though.
::whispers:: Yes, I am. Because people who don’t know the history of rock and roll think it’s not music for black people.
But that’s not so!
The phrase “rocking and rolling” was originally used to describe the spiritual fervor of black church rituals and as a sexual analogy as early as the 1920’s.
In fact, the word “rock” has long been used in gospel songs (Rock My Soul, Rock Me, Rock Daniel and so on).
I could make a comment here, but I’m not going to. I’m just going to give you a few minutes to re-read the list of gospel songs. OR ARE THEY?
IN FACT, Sister Rosetta Tharpe (born in 1915) became gospel music’s first crossover artist and its first great recording star, referred to later as “the original soul sister” and “the godmother of rock and roll”. Tharpe recorded for the first time – four sides with Decca Records backed by Lucky Millinder’s jazz orchestra. The first gospel songs ever recorded by Decca, “Rock Me,” “That’s All,” “My Man and I” and “The Lonesome Road” became instant hits, establishing Tharpe as an overnight sensation and one of the first commercially successful gospel recording artists. Her records caused an immediate furor: many churchgoers were shocked by the mixture of gospel-based lyrics and secular-sounding music, but secular audiences loved them.

Tharpe’s appearances with jazz artist Cab Calloway at Harlem’s Cotton Club and in John Hammond’s “Spirituals to Swing” concert at Carnegie Hall, gained her even more fame, along with notoriety. These performances, which both shocked and awed the crowds, were controversial as well as revolutionary in several respects. Performing gospel music in front of secular, ‘nightclub’ audiences and alongside blues, jazz musicians and dancers was highly unusual, and within conservative religious circles the mere fact of a woman performing guitar music, particularly in those settings, was frowned upon. For these reasons, Tharpe was often falling out of favour with segments within the gospel community.
(Guess who had a guitar and didn’t give a fu…damn? This fine upstanding gospel singer. That’s who)

Other late 1930s hits, which combined gospel themes with bouncy up-tempo arrangements, continued to become hits among audiences with little previous exposure to gospel music. Tharpe continued recording during World War II. Her song “Strange Things Happening Every Day”, was the first gospel song to make Billboard’s Harlem Hit Parade (later known as Race Records, then R&B) Top Ten. This record made in 1944 has been credited by some as being the “First rock and roll record”. Tharpe’s performances were curtailed by a stroke in 1970, but she is cited as an early influence on figures such as Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.

And I’m also gonna guess she made an impression on this pretty fucking talented lady

Brittany Howard. Lead Singer of the Alabama Shakes.
Winner of Best Rock Song
SECOND Black woman to ever win in this category.

And it’s probably because of Sister Tharpe that she can.

I bet she played the HELL outta that guitar. See what I did there? Anybody? No?

 

*RACE RECORDS. Then R&B
**Really, guys? Is it really us that keeps “playing the race card”?
Anyways. That’s all.
See y’all tomorrow.

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