Happy Women’s History Month

It’s still March and this month, the world has continued giving every female trailblazer (past and present) her flowers. I made a brief presentation that I intended to share at my virtual book launch. However, because of timing and technical issues, I left it out. Therefore, I’m going to share Black female rock trailblazers, with emphasis on those that broke barriers in punk and grunge (since that is some of the type of rock my novel’s heroine performs).

Sister Rosetta Tharpe a.k.a. the Mother of Rock n’ Roll. Her ingenious style of gospel and blues with electric guitar made her one of the originators of rock n’ roll. Every Black female rocker, regardless of her level of success or fame, owes Tharpe for making it possible.

While Tharpe is one of the originators of rock n’ roll (next to Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley), Tina Turner is the Black female rockstar archetype. She’s probably the first (if not only) Black woman to reach global fame and icon status in the rock genre and continues to be honored as such to this day.

Grunge has become synonymous with Kurt Cobain and white Seattle rocker boys from the ’90s, and it is all a misconception. Grunge is one of my favorite subgenres of rock and it is a shame that I found out just last year that a Black woman pioneered grunge. Although she is no longer with us, her legacy is being shared. She’s getting her flowers–even though she’s not here to smell them.
Poly Styrene from the late-’70s punk band, X-Ray Spex broke barriers creating visibility for Black women in punk in the U.K. Ronnie Spector is considered the original “bad girl” rock, ushering in a punk image and sound for women of all colors. Fefe Dobson broke barriers as the first Black female rock/pop-punk artist to perform on MTV, TRL, and to gain mainstream success in North America. Santigold started off in the punk band, Stiffed, and went on to have a successful solo career in alternative and electronic music, with her sophomore album being in the top 10 of the US Rock Album charts in 2012.

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