EventsThey Want Our Rhythm, but Not Our Blues: African American Innovation through Pop Culture

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They Want Our Rhythm, but Not Our Blues: African American Innovation through Pop Culture

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Lynnwood Library


The freedom often denied to African Americans to move and express themselves has meant that they have had to be especially creative in building their culture. The innovations created under oppression are often appropriated by the oppressor—they want our rhythm. And such culture and creativity has been forged from their everyday struggles—but they do not want our blues.

Reflecting on music, sports, language, food, and even hair, this talk calls audiences in beyond the rhythm to recognize the blues that made African American popular culture. It serves as a guide to appreciating the art of Black pop culture by understanding how and why African American culture was created, and when and where it appears across multiple platforms of popular culture—never without a unique artisan style.

LaToya Brackett (she/her) is an associate professor of African American studies at the University of Puget Sound, where she also serves as a member of the leadership team for the Race & Pedagogy Institute. A scholar with two degrees in Black studies, one from Cornell University and the other from Michigan State, she is an interdisciplinarian who centers the Black experience.

Brackett lives in Tacoma.

In partnership with Humanities Washington.

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