You are currently viewing Topic: Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith Blues Singers facing racism, sexism and classism and black feminist thought

Topic: Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith Blues Singers facing racism, sexism and classism and black feminist thought

Multiple definitions of the blues genre
The blues has been defined in a variety of ways throughout history, including as a musical genre
that embodies a mode of human expression, sentiments, and musical elements. The Oxford
dictionary, on the other hand, defines blues as melancholic African American folk music,
typically in a twelve-bar sequence, that developed in rural southern United States toward the
end of the nineteenth century, evoking feelings of sadness, depression, and sorrow (Oxford
dictionary). However, Hazel Carby asserts in Davis’s article, the 1920s and 1930s Classic Blues
can be understood as a discourse articulating a cultural and political struggle over sexual
relations, with the female body frequently sexualized and objectified within the patriarchal order
and serving as the song’s sexual object (231).
But as Davis puts it, “Blues is rooted in slavery and gives musical expression to the new
social/sexual realities encountered by African Americans as free women and men” (232).
Although many African Americans’ economic circumstances remained largely unchanged, they
experienced a “sexual revolution” in which “masses of women and men gained the ability to
make autonomous choices about the sexual relationships they entered” (232). However, they
did not adhere to the strict tenets of Christian, Eurocentric patriarchal norms. In other words,
because black men and women were no longer bound by slavery and restraint and were now
free to love whomever they pleased, black people felt liberated to have relationships with
whomever they pleased, whether men-to-men or women-to-women and even when lesbian and
homosexuality were frowned upon, they chose to love whomever they pleased. Furthermore, as
a product of slavery, the ‘blues’ central role in post-slavery black cultural consciousness was
linked to a philosophy of love and sexuality that frequently included extramarital affairs,
domestic abuse, multiple relationships, and bisexuality, but this style of music was largely
shunned by mainstream popular music and embraced by African Americans.

Type of service: Rewriting
Type of assignment: Research Paper
Subject: Sociology
Pages /words: 14/3850
Number of sources: 3
Academic level: Senior(college 4th year)
Paper format: MLA
Line spacing: Double
Language style: US English