Daphne A. Brooks explores more than a century of music archives to examine the critics, collectors, and listeners who have determined perceptions of Black women on stage and in the recording studio. How is it possible, she asks, that iconic artists such as Aretha Franklin and Beyoncé exist simultaneously at the center and on the fringe of the culture industry?
Liner Notes for the Revolution offers a startling new perspective on these acclaimed figures—a perspective informed by the overlooked contributions of other Black women concerned with the work of their musical peers. Zora Neale Hurston appears as a sound archivist and a performer, Lorraine Hansberry as a queer Black feminist critic of modern culture, and Pauline Hopkins as America's first Black female cultural commentator. Brooks tackles the complicated racial politics of blues music recording, song collecting, and rock and roll criticism. She makes lyrical forays into the blues pioneers Bessie Smith and Mamie Smith, as well as fans who became critics, like the record-label entrepreneur and writer Rosetta Reitz. In the twenty-first century, pop superstar Janelle Monae's liner notes are recognized for their innovations, while celebrated singers Cécile McLorin Salvant, Rhiannon Giddens, and Valerie June take their place as cultural historians.
Janina Edwards, a graduate of New York University's Tisch Schools of the Arts, recorded her first audiobook in 1987. She was born in Chicago, soaked in New York City's African and West Indian accents for 11 years, and for the past twenty years has swum in the swagger of the south (Atlanta, Georgia). As a result, she excels in portraying authentic characters and voices the African Diaspora. Her 2018 audiobook, The Wedding Date, is an AudioFile Earphones Award winner, and Voice of Freedom (2016, Dreamscape) was an Audie Award finalist. In addition to narrating audiobooks, she is a certified yoga teacher, sings kirtan, and plays the violin.