ABSTRACT

This article focuses on the power of narrative, specifically Black women’s stories, to shift ideas that circulate in American culture about popular music and the artists who create these works. Black women in country and Americana music, such as Mickey Guyton and Rhiannon Giddens, are using their voices to reclaim their rightful places in these predominantly white music scenes. There has also been an impressive stretch of recent popular music scholarship by Black women. Narratives shape musical genres, music scenes, artists’ music and personal histories, and music journalism and criticism itself. How, why, and who tells these stories makes all the difference. Ultimately, I argue that these new stories are essential, as narrative has the power to correct historically inaccurate or incomplete records about musical artists and their works, music writers and their contributions, and the construction of the genres in which musicians and music writers navigate.

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