Jan 11, 2023
Francesca T. Royster’s Black Country Music: Listening for Revolutions is a vital read that helps us to understand how country music got whitewashed, stripping it of its distinctly African American origins in slavery and its aftermath, and shows us how embracing that history will only enrich the form. Royster weaves Black, queer, and feminist scholarship into her analysis, but even more compellingly, she brings her own experiences as a Black, queer country fan to bear on her exploration of Black artists in country’s past and present. Through engaging essays, she explores Tina Turner’s country album, Darius Rucker’s Black bro image, Our Native Daughters’ history-steeped banjo music, and Lil’ Nas X’s fight to be considered country.
The DePaul University English professor talks to Pop Literacy about what inspired her book, shares some of her favorite country music memories (like a set visit to Hee Haw!), and recommends some of her favorite country artists to add to your playlists.