Date: Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Lecture: Labelle’s Rock and Soul Revolution: A Case Study of Gender, Race, and Musical Genre
The group Labelle, best known for their number one hit “Lady Marmalade,” presented a cocktail of gospel’s vocal intensity, rock’s volume, and funk’s grooves, as well as social commentary and a high degree of theatricality. Professor Mahon explores Labelle’s innovative musical package to consider how the intersection of race, gender, and musical genre culture shaped the experiences of African American women working in popular music in the 1970s, a time when boundaries between “white rock” and “black soul” were being solidified. Professor Mahon also discusses how members of Labelle followed a unique creative vision and brought a black feminist practice to popular music by consciously engaging the connections and boundaries between rock and soul.