Honoring Black History Month
Excerpt from article below by Beca Oliveira below
She was Elvis before Elvis, she was Aretha before Aretha, she was Jimi before Jimi. She was the
queer Black woman who literally invented rock ’n’ roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She gave Little
Richard his first gig outside the church. She opened the doors for Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly,
and before the 1990s, almost no one into rock ’n’ roll had heard her name.
White men were making big money and big news in rock ’n’ roll; admitting the entire genre rests
squarely on the shoulders of a woman, Black AND queer at that, was a little too much for
European-descended folks in the 1900s.
To quote Rolling Stone, on the announcement on her induction to the Hall of Fame in 2018:
“A queer black woman from Arkansas who shredded on electric guitar, belted praises both to
God and secular pleasures, and broke the color line touring with white singers, she was gospel’s
first superstar, and she most assuredly rocked.”