The 2021 Pop Convergence: A Virtual Pop Conference, April 22-25th
Artwork by Alex Nero; Design by The Art Dictator
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Friday, April 23 • 2:30pm - 3:45pm
Black Music at its Interstices: From “Coon Songs” to Hip Hop (Room B: Oscillator)

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Black Music at its Interstices: From “Coon Songs” to Hip Hop (Room B: Oscillator)

The diverse topics presented on this panel explore the interstitial nature of Blackness, Black people, and Black sounds within popular music in the United States. Spanning from the 1890s, a key moment transition to the modern music industry, through the contemporary moment—as we find ourselves in a continuous state of political, cultural, and technological flux— each of the authors provide analyses and raise questions that unsettle normalized understandings of what is at stake in popular music making. From the “coon song” craze of the 1890s, to early 20th- century Black Pentecostal revival circuits, and culminating in 1970s soul (Minnie Riperton) and contemporary R&B/hip hop (and conceptions of the “ho” figure), we consider the following questions: how were Black children and adolescents (girls, in particular) formative and formed by Black Pentecostal revival circuits during the Great Migration?; how might sampling elicit resistance and temporality through its mechanisms of performance and improvisation?; how do the affective logics of horror, desire, and pleasure impact the spectatorial conceptualization of the ho figure’s corporeality and ontology?; and finally, how did the invention and employment of early recording technologies that coincided with the explosion of the “coon song” shape the making of the commercial music industry in its infancy?
  The paper order will be: Dromgoole, Fekade, Ibaorimi, and Morrison.   

avatar for Alisha Lola Jones

Alisha Lola Jones

Assistant Professor, Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology; Faculty Director of the Global Pop Music Initiative, Indiana University (Bloomington)
Rev. Dr. Alisha Lola Jones is an assistant professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and faculty director of the Global Pop Music Initiative at Indiana University (Bloomington). Dr. Jones is a board member of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM, a member of the... Read More →

avatar for Ambre Dromgoole

Ambre Dromgoole

Ambre Dromgoole is a doctoral candidate in the Departments of Religious Studies and African American Studies at Yale University. Her dissertation “There’s a Heaven Somewhere’: Itinerancy, Intimacy, and Performance in the Lives of Gospel Blues Women, 1915-1983” positions the... Read More →

Beza Fekade

From Riperton to Tribe, and Back Again: Hip Hop Sampling’s Sonic Temporality and ResistanceAs poet and cultural critic, Hanif Abdurraqib (2020) wrote, “The casual music fan may know Minnie Riperton best not by a song, but by a song within a song. ‘Lovin’ You’..... At the three-minute mark of that tune, a perfect piercing note unfolds over the birdsong and the dreamlike electric piano." It was in that instance that her s... Read More →
avatar for Zalika U. Ibaorimi

Zalika U. Ibaorimi

PhD Candidate (African and African Diaspora Studies), The University of Texas at Austin
The (Ho)rror of It All: Ganja & Hess, Summer Walker and the Soundtrack of Ho OntologiesMireille Miller-Young postulates that hos exist as outcasts—part victim and part threat. The ho is articulated by Black feminist scholars and sex workers through triangulated dialectics which... Read More →

Matthew D. Morrison

Assistant Professor, Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, New York University
A Decade in Transition: The “Coon Song” and American Popular Music in the 1980sThe 1890s is the epitome of a decade “in flux” within the U.S. popular music industry. As the phonograph, along with other industrial developments, went from a novel invention to a commercial product... Read More →

Friday April 23, 2021 2:30pm - 3:45pm PDT
Room B: Oscillator