Women’s Jazz Festival 2021: Black Women and Rock and Roll
Women’s Jazz Festival 2021: Black Women and Rock and Roll
Enjoy a musical performance by singer/songwriter Amythyst Kiah, hailed by Rolling Stone as "one of roots music's most exciting emerging talents," followed by a discussion illuminating the history of African-American women in rock and roll.
Schomburg Center online
March 16, 2021 | 7:00 pm
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Speaker details

Maureen Mahon
DJ Lynnée Denise
Amythyst Kiah

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Presented by

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
New York, NY

About The Participants

Maureen Mahon is the author of Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (Duke University Press, 2020), an exploration of the pivotal part African American women have played in the development of rock and roll. Her first book, Right To Rock: The Black Rock Coalition and the Cultural Politics of Race (Duke University Press, 2004), discusses the ways African American rock musicians used music and activism to challenge the limitations placed on black expressive culture and black identity in the 1980s and 1990s. Mahon’s articles on African-American music have appeared in academic journals and on the websites of National Public Radio and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was the Chief Academic Advisor for “Soundtrack of America,” the five-night concert series commission by filmmaker Steve McQueen that opened the inaugural season of The Shed in 2019. She teaches in the Department of Music at New York University.

DJ Lynnée Denise is an artist, scholar, and writer whose work reflects on underground cultural movements, the 1980s, migration studies, theories of escape, and electronic music of the African Diaspora. Her work on DJ scholarship has been featured at prestigious institutions and in publications including the Broad Museum, the Tate Modern, Savvy Contemporary Gallery in Berlin, Iziko South African Museum, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, Journal of Popular Music Studies, The Black Scholar and Women Who Rock. She is a 2020-2021 Artist-in-Residence at Stanford University and a lecturer for African American Studies at UCLA. Her current book project, Why Big Mama Matters will be published in 2022 by the University of Texas Press.

Amythyst Kiah has an unforgettable voice that’s both unfettered and exquisitely controlled. The Tennessee-bred singer/songwriter expands on the uncompromising artistry she most recently revealed as part of Our Native Daughters, an all-women-of-color supergroup whose Kiah-penned standout “Black Myself” earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best American Roots Song and won Song of the Year at the 2019 Folk Alliance International Awards. When met with the transcendent quality of her newly elevated sound, what emerges is an extraordinary vessel for Kiah’s songwriting: a raw yet nuanced examination of grief, alienation, and the hard-won triumph of total self-acceptance.

Image: Maureen Mahon / photo courtesy of New York University; DJ Lynnée Denise / photo courtesy of William Grant Still Art Center; Amythyst Kiah / photo by Anna Hedges