Saturday, May 27, 2017

From Boom Boxes to Writing Panther History: Our Collective Soundtrack -- The Intersectional Black Panther Party History Project | NewBlackMan (in Exile)

From Boom Boxes to Writing Panther History: Our Collective Soundtrack -- The Intersectional Black Panther Party History Project | NewBlackMan (in Exile):

From Boom Boxes to Writing Panther History: Our Collective Soundtrack -- The Intersectional Black Panther Party History Project



IPHP Collective Soundtrack Boom Box copy 2.jpg
From Boom Boxes to Writing Panther History: Our Collective Soundtrack
by the Intersectional Black Panther Party History Project | @mfphillips ‏| NewBlackMan (in Exile)

In July 2016, Angela D. LeBlanc-Ernest, Mary Phillips, Tracye Matthews and Robyn C. Spencer, four historians working on the Black Panthers, created the Intersectional Black Panther Party History Project.  As we collaborated on how to center women, gender and sexuality in Panther history, it became clear how much of our own scholarship reflected not just shared understandings of politics, activism and the academia, but an overlapping aural soundscape. Our generation of Black Power scholars often came of age in cities where the Black Panther Party’s (BPP) roots ran deep despite the devastation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Counterintelligence Program. As children of the hip hop, R&B and reggae explosion of the 70s and beyond, music was a lens, a crucible, a muse, and a catalyst. From Detroit, to Brooklyn, to New Orleans, our girlhood flowered and floundered in soil nourished by similar beats, riddims and rhymes. This is our sonic autobiography.

Our political consciousness pulsed to a deeply gendered beat. Early rappers like Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Pepa, Ms. Melody, Monie Love, J. J. Fad and M.C. Lyte represented the strong, powerful voices of young women taking control of their own lives. At a time when Black women struggled to emerge from the shadow of the dominant “black men as endangered species” discourse and when the music industry was male-dominated, these artists fought back against their invisibility by putting in the work and creating their own following. That following included us. As young women, we plumbed this music for ourselves, our voices, experiences and stories. 


These musicians showed us that young Black women could have a strong message of independence and have a major impact From Boom Boxes to Writing Panther History: Our Collective Soundtrack -- The Intersectional Black Panther Party History Project | NewBlackMan (in Exile):


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