Published March 16, 2021

As part of the all-virtual 2021 Virginia Festival of the Book, Regina Bradley (Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of Hip-Hop South), Adam Gussow (Whose Blues? Facing Up to Race and the Future of Music), and Claudrena Harold (When Sunday Comes: Gospel Music in the Soul and Hip-Hop Eras) discussed the ways that music, history, and race intersect in the creation of American identity, with a focus on blues, southern hip-hop, and late-century gospel music.

After the discussion, The Blues Doctors, a two-man band out of Oxford, Mississippi, featuring Adam Gussow and Alan Gross, performed a set of live music. They play a mix of down-home Delta standards and urban grooves from the Clarksdale-to-Chicago axis with some New Orleans funk thrown in. Since joining forces in 2012, they’ve transformed themselves into a two-man band with a bold and distinctive sound: Gussow on harmonica and drumset, Gross on guitar, with both men sharing vocal duties. CLICK HERE to watch a performance of one of Gussow’s original compositions, “Thunky Fing Rides Again,” performed by his longtime “other” duo, Satan & Adam.

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Watch the recording of this event here and read the transcript below:

Thanks to our bookseller for this event, UVA Bookstore.

“A brilliant, beautifully written, creatively innovative, and field-shifting work…. Bradley is already recognized as one of the key figures in the study of the contemporary black South. This book solidifies the centrality of the South to hip-hop studies and Bradley to the future of the field.”—Imani Perry, author of May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem

“In Whose Blues?, Gussow tackles the provocative reality of the blues. He ties the music’s tortured history to the current racial climate and adds chapters on blues’ place in African American literature and the Black Arts Movement. This is essential reading to better understand the power of the blues.”—Art Tipaldi, Blues Music Magazine

“The beauty of Harold’s brilliant When Sunday Comes is in how it illustrates the power of gospel music to maintain its character, grow from its roots, evolve to reach new listeners, and spiral steadily upward in its call-and-response to new audiences who acclaim the uplifting spiritual strength and enduring beauty of the music.”—No Depression

Sponsor

Thanks to W. Tucker Lemon, advocate for Reading Under the Influence, for his support of this program.

Community Partner

Thanks to The Muse Writers Center for sharing information about this event.

Transcript

SARAH LAWSON: Hello. Welcome to “Reading Under the Influence,” a program in the all-virtual 2021 Virginia Festival of the Book. I’m Sarah Lawson, associate director of the Virginia Center for the Book, a program of Virginia Humanities. Thanks for joining us.

A couple notes before I hand the program over to our speakers. Please share your questions on Zoom using the Q&A tab. Also, this event has optional closed captioning, which you can turn on and customize at any time during the event by using the closed captions tab at the bottom of your Zoom window. If you haven’t already read today’s books, we hope you will. For details about how to buy them from our bookseller this event, UVA Bookstore, visit VaBook.org, where you can also explore our full schedule and watch past events. While you’re there, please consider making a donation to support the Festival’s ongoing work at VaBook.org/give.

Tonight, I want to thank our sponsor, W. Tucker Lemon, advocate for Reading Under the Influence, for his support of this program. We also greatly appreciate the support of Festival sponsors, donors, and community partners. Finally, please be sure to stick around after tonight’s discussion for a set of live music performed by The Blues Doctors.

Now I’m pleased to introduce our speakers. Regina Bradley, author of Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of the Hip-Hop South, is an alumna Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at Harvard University and an assistant professor of English and African diaspora studies at Kennesaw State University.

Adam Gussow, author of Whose Blues?: Facing Up to Race and the Future of the Music is professor of English and southern studies at the University of Mississippi and author of four previous books on the blues. He is currently appearing on Netflix in Satan & Adam.

Claudrena Harold, author of When Sunday Comes: Gospel Music in the Soul and Hip-Hop Eras, is a professor at the University of Virginia, where she teaches courses in labor history, African-American history, and Black Studies.

And our moderator, Matthew Morrison, a native of North Carolina, is an assistant professor in the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Matthew holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Columbia University, and his in-progress book is titled Blacksound: Making Race and Popular Music in the United States. Thank you all for joining us today. Matthew, take it away.

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: Thank you so much, Sarah. I am very excited to be here. I’ll say to hold space. I don’t want to say moderate because really what I’m here to do is to hold some space to talk about these really amazing books that we have today here, featuring the work of Regina Bradley, Claudrena Harold, and Adam Gussow.

So actually, I would like to jump right into it. I’ll do my best to get to some of the questions in the Q&A. But we have a limited amount of time, and so we’re going to try to make this as robust a conversation as possible. I’ll begin by asking a general question of the panelists. Then we’ll move into a short excerpt reading from each of our guests, and then we’ll go into some larger dialogue questions between the panelists as well as some individual questions that I have myself about your amazing books.

And so we will start with this question here. And please feel free to take it up at any time, anyone who feels ready to go. So the first question I have is: Please tell us how this project came for you, how it emerged. And also I’m interested in who is the book for, for you.

REGINA N. BRADLEY: I’ll go first. Because my answer is pretty—I don’t know. I feel like it’s pretty simple, but it’s also intentional at the same time, you know what I’m saying? So initially, I wrote this book Chronicling Stankonia because, as a hip-hop scholar, I am expected to understand the scholarship of what’s in the canon, so to speak. Like what people have said about the culture, why it’s significant.

The problem was, all the relevance and culture and significance of the culture was in New York. It was in the West Coast. And I was feeling a little offended. Also I was like where is the conversation about region. And not necessarily from a journalistic perspective, which is especially important for southern rap, right? But there was a very stigmatized approach to understanding the South’s role in hip-hop, and I wasn’t with that.

So part of it was because I was petty, and I was like I’m sick and tired of hearing about New York hip-hop and LA hip-hop. And they’re important, granted, but they don’t speak to my experiences growing up with rap in southwest Georgia. So there’s that aspect of it.

And then the second part of it is, honestly, I just really wanted to write about southern rap for other folks who are invested in southern rap. Other southern black people who feel like they’ve been overlooked and underappreciated in a lot of these larger conversations about culture and race and region. So, yeah, I mean I wrote it for my people, you know? I thought about it like a porch conversation, so to speak. But I also just wanted to open up the field in terms of thinking more deeply about hip-hop’s influence outside of these kinds of immediately recognizable hubs of culture and history and expression.

ADAM GUSSOW: Do you want to go, Claudrena? Or should I go next? What’s your preference? Okay. So mine came into being in a very strange way. Over a period of time between 2007 and 2012, I had developed a YouTube channel, which was—I think it was called Dirty South Virginia. Sort of blues harmonica. And I had given people a series of video lessons in how to play harmonica. In that sense, very instrumental. And told them stories.

What I hadn’t done is I hadn’t shared my passion for blues literature, which was what I was teaching at the University of Mississippi. And in the fall of 2012, after teaching—you know, we get an undergraduate course. We teach a course. I came out of it. And usually you want to run away in some way. It’s vacation. It’s Christmastime. For some strange reason, I felt moved. I just wanted to keep the seminar going. So I grabbed a bunch of books off my shelf. I went to the space that was, for me, the comfortable space in which to do videos for my harmonica crew around the world. I had a global audience that I knew I had. And so I got a bunch of books, and I started on what became the first of twelve lectures. I didn’t know it was going to be that. I just sat in the front of my car, and I started talking about blues and where blues was these days.

It quickly got me into a conversation about a recent panel at Dominican University, which it happened just that previous summer, in which a series of mostly African-American blues performers and sort of cultural custodians had basically put on the table a whole lot of complaints about the contemporary blues scene. And I was moved by these, shaken by these. I thought it deserved conversation. I also had some pushback.

And so that was sort of lecture number one. Was like we’re in this mess. I ended up quickly kind of discerning that the mess was one that could partly be expressed in terms of a competition between competing slogans. Blues is black music on the one hand. And a point I make in my book is that’s far more true than not. But of course, blues has a global audience, and so far more non-African-American people around the world are playing the music, listening to the music these days than black Americans. That’s number one.

Number two: no black, no white, just the blues. A kind of insipid t-shirt meme that I knew was out there. I didn’t like it, but I thought I understood where the people who were deploying it were coming from. Which is to say, at best it struck me as a kind of invocation of—the contemporary blues culture is potentially a site of beloved community.

That’s how it started. I did these lectures. I ended up doing twelve. Pretty quickly after the second or third, I scribbled on the back of an envelope. I said twelve. And the book was a crazy idea that maybe I could transcribe these and somehow fairly quickly convert them to a book. No. I rewrote them entirely. But I allowed the underlying logic that had informed the project to inform the book, and I shuffled stuff around.

The book is for anybody who has a contemporary investment—anybody in the contemporary blues world who has an investment in the blues, I would say. But in particular those who—I say white blues aficionados who really need to get a little more culture and think a little more deeply about the origin point of the music in the Black South.

CLAUDRENA N. HAROLD: All right. Good evening, everyone. This book has always been with me. And it is me. And in some ways, I think that’s why I was very reluctant to share that part of the world with me. It was almost my inner space. Music is my sanctuary. And sometimes you don’t want other people in that sanctuary. Growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, my childhood sonic landscape was shaped as much by the gospel music of James Cleveland, Andraé Crouch, The Winans, Mississippi Mass Choir, and the Sounds of Blackness as the music of Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson and Prince and hip-hop. And I always had this passion for music, and I always had what some may call like an intellectual approach to music, which had everything to do with my working-class family. Jet and Ebony magazine were always around the house, and there were always these stories about what has happened to gospel music. Has gospel music gone too far? And I was always listening or reading these stories.

And when I got to college at Temple, I was reading about music, and I was reading about the black sacred music tradition. And a lot of the scholarship stopped in 1960, 1970. It was as if nothing was written post-Mahalia Jackson’s death. And I was reading this literature that I really loved on gospel music, and I really wanted that same passion, that same intellectual rigor to be applied to the people that I cared so deeply about. And that was The Winans, Commission, Kirk Franklin, John P. Kee—all of those things. And so I guess around 2015, 2016, I said I think I’m going to do this gospel music thing. But it was weird. It was different.

I even remember just the discomfort I felt typing “Jesus” on the computer. I had never done that before. I had done the 1920s and the 1930s. So that is how I came to this. I wrote this book for me. I wrote this for eight-year-old Claudrena. I wrote this for someone who would go to the public library and read Billboard magazine. I wrote this for my basketball teammates at Temple University when we would hang out at night, and we would listen to Boyz II Men and Jodeci and Waiting to Exhale. And then we would end the night of libations with a gospel song. And I write for people who listen to R&B, hip-hop radio, and they listen to a DJ play Juvenile’s “Back That Thang Up” and the next song is Marvin Sapp’s “Never Would Have Made It.” And I write for people who don’t see any contradiction in that.

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: Yes, yes. Absolutely. Thank you so much for that. I appreciate also the responses because they get very much into some of the other questions that I have coming up here. And I will also say, even though I asked who the book is for, I want everyone on this call and anyone who’s watching this to know that it’s for everyone who wants to read and purchase around these topics. Because they absolutely are written in ways that are very compelling as well as providing context and information that has not yet been available in this way around these topics. And so I’m really excited about their potential spread in general.

Maybe we can start first with Claudrena reading from When Sunday Comes: Gospel Music in the Soul and Hip-Hop Eras. And then we’ll continue with Adam and conclude with Regina.

CLAUDRENA N. HAROLD: Okay, I’ll do that. So I’m going to read from actually the introduction. No, I’m going to read from chapter three. And I’m going to focus on probably my favorite gospel artist, Shirley Caesar. And this is a section that focuses on her classic 1988 album Live in Chicago, that had a song called “Hold My Mule.”

Thirty years into her recording career, the Grammy Award-winning Shirley Caesar showed no signs of slowing down. In 1988, Caesar returned to her traditional gospel roots with the release of her critically acclaimed record, Live…in Chicago, which dominated the gospel charts for nearly eight months. It featured the hit single “Hold My Mule,” a sermonette centered on the fictive character Shouting John, an eighty-six-year-old farmer who in the words of Caesar, had joined “a dead church,” controlled by ministers who frowned upon his expressive style of worship. To no avail, church leaders had repeatedly attempted to subdue John during his extended “praise breaks” by grabbing his limbs or forcing him to return to his seat. Their efforts always failed miserably. Frustrated by John’s refusal to discipline his religious fervor, a small group of church officials traveled to the elder’s home to chastise him for his behavior. Upon their arrival, they find John (“and a beat-up old mule”) plowing in the field. The proud farmer approaches his guests and then listens to their complaints. Showing no compassion for the elder, the church leaders deliver an ultimatum to John: “If you don’t stop shouting, if you don’t stop dancing, we’re going to put you out of our church.” John’s demonstrative religiosity had crossed a dangerous line.

Now if church officials expected to give into their demands after their threat of disfellowship, they were in for a major disappointment. When granted the opportunity to speak, John details his many blessings: his ownership of land, his good health, and his trouble-free children. “Not one time have I been to the courthouse,” he proudly informs his guests; “Not one time have I been to the cemetery. But you don’t want me to dance in your church?” The act of recounting his blessings leads John to make the following declaration to the delegation: “Well put me out, I can’t hold my peace.” A spiritually ecstatic John then proceeds to shout and dance all over his property.

On this popular sermonette, which decades after its release still plays on gospel radio stations across the country, Shirley Caesar demonstrates both her unrivaled skills as a storyteller and her ability to capture the class tensions gripping black America during the post–civil rights era. She also gives voice to older black women and men still tied to the economies and cultural rhythms of the rural south. Caesar’s attentiveness to the cultural richness and diversity of black America, combined with her singularity as a performer and songwriter, enabled her to connect with multiple generations of gospel fans. One would be hard-pressed to find a gospel artist who has enjoyed her level of success for a longer period of time. First working with the famous Caravans from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s, and then striking out on her own to become one of gospel music’s most successful performers, Caesar boasts an incredibly impressive discography that captures her remarkable range as an artist. Her hits include sermonettes, soulful tunes, and even country ballads like “No Charge.” Her career is a marvel, and quite frankly trying to convey the brilliance of her artistry can be frustratingly difficult—not just because of her prodigious output but also because of the diversity of her work. Soul, funk, disco, and country—all these genres have seeped into her music at one time or another. As a recording artist, Caesar has been at the cutting edge of both traditional and contemporary gospel music, refusing to allow anyone or anything to stifle her creativity.

I’ll stop there.

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: Very quickly, I’ll chime in. I’m grateful that you chose that excerpt around Shirley Caesar because when I was in college—I think I saw Daniel Heath here, who was my best friend growing up through childhood and college—we attended the Stellar Awards in Atlanta. And Shirley Caesar, which is the only time I’ve seen her live, was one of the artists. And so much of what you cover in your work in particular is this bridge between the sacred and the secular and the commercial and the public and the spiritual and all these things. And I remember distinctly, Shirley Caesar before the recording began—because it was live. It was broadcast to be live. And she was like, “Look, do what you got to do. But if I’m praising, I’m not stopping for these cameras.”

And I’ll tell you, she told the truth. Because they had to do what they needed to do in order to let the Spirit move, as we say in the black church, in the way that it needed to on its own. So thank you for that excerpt. Adam?

ADAM GUSSOW: Terrific. One of the things that goes on in my book is a little bit of journalism. And in part, I wanted to kind of move out of my comfort zone and move into some places and explore some issues. And I went to the Jus’ Blues Music Festival & Conference that was an all-black blues conference organized in part as a kind of signifying alternative to the Blues Foundation. There’s the Blues Foundation and then there’s the Jus’ Blues Music Foundation.

Anyway, so I went to this thing. I was one of only—there were two white people. David Whiteis, who just did the Denise LaSalle biography, and yours truly. We were treated incredibly warmly, incredibly friendly. It didn’t surprise me at all. And there was a concert in which Bobby Rush played solo harmonica and did a sort of very old blues that Charles Peabody recorded back in 1901. Then there was something else that happened, and I want to read that. And I said, after seeing Bobby Rush in that context, I said:

He did something that blues and only blues can do. It’s not a thing that white people can do with the blues. 

I’d had a different version of that same feeling at the awards ceremony the previous night when a singer named Sheryl Youngblood took the stage and sang Etta James’s “At Last.” Those of us who have been in and around the music for a long time sometimes make the mistake of thinking that we’ve heard everything worth hearing; we assume, half-consciously, that we’re incapable of being blindsided by somebody we’ve never heard of. Dr. Johnny Jones, an administrator at Mississippi Valley State University and the head of educational development for the Jus’ Blues Music Foundation, insisted on pulling me through the crowd and seating me at a table near the front—right next to Denise LaSalle, as it happens, someone whose Love Talkin’ (1984) album had instantly made her one of my heroes as a twenty-something blues wannabe. Grateful and slightly abashed to realize how generously I’d been seated, I looked up to see Youngblood, powerfully built, resplendent in a sleeveless white pantsuit. She was, I found out later, a drummer and bandleader, not to mention a 2015 Chicago Blues Hall of Fame inductee, but she’s not somebody they play on “Bluesville” (perhaps because her one CD, which I purchased later, doesn’t do her justice), not somebody whose name shows upon BluesFestivalGuide.com the way that Samantha Fish and Ana Popovic do. She’s not that sort of mainstream draw. She’s not the flavor of the month. So I’d never heard of her. But that’s just me—and the rest of the mainstream blues world outside Chicago, I dare say. As she began to work her magic on the song, mixing the power of a gospel singer with the finesse of a jazz diva, I had only one thought: This is the big leagues. All the rest—and specifically, 95 percent of the white female blues singers I know—are playing Triple A ball at best. I’d had precisely the same intuitive response back in 1985 when I first ventured into Showman’s, a Harlem jazz bar, and heard organist and singer Jimmy “Preacher” Robins work his magic on that crowd: This is the stuff. The other stuff—the blues we play downtown—is what it is, but it ain’t this.

The crowd—that in-group vibe—is key. When we talk about race and blues, we need to keep in mind the way call-and-response functions and the intimacy of all-black settings. The crowd’s urgings, their needs and knowledge, their connoisseurship and felt approval, make a difference. They enable superior performance. The sort of hand-in-glove connection that fused Youngblood with her audience was the ballast out of which she powered herself into the heart of the song. Once you’ve heard that, felt that, you can’t forget it. It becomes a touchstone for what great blues is. And the fake stuff, the let’s-get-dressed-up-and-pretend stuff, or the merely less-than-great stuff, stands starkly revealed for what it is. If you haven’t heard Sheryl Youngblood—or a performer of comparable majesty—do what she does in that sort of all-black setting, of course, what I’m saying won’t make sense and may even annoy you.

We all love Bonnie Raitt. She’s the exception that proves the rule. I know a handful of white female blues singers who can break your heart—Danielle Nicole just might do that in “Cry No More” (2018)—and a fair number who can throw down on guitar, although few with the earned swagger of Chicago veteran Joanna Connor. But let’s not pretend. Blues has a range of use-values as it spreads outward from African American culture, wending its way across America and around the globe. That’s a good thing. That’s a great thing, in fact. But let’s stop pretending that Double A and Triple A ball are the major leagues, or that the gatekeepers of the mainstream scene know everything that’s going on out there. If there was any justice in the world, Sheryl Youngblood would be playing at a blues festival near you.

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: Thank you, Adam. Regina?

REGINA N. BRADLEY: Yeah. So I decided—I don’t know. I feel like I’ve been working up. Thank you for the shout-out. So my section is coming from the introduction of the book, particularly about why southern hip-hop is important for me in thinking about and articulating contemporary Black South.

Hip-hop was my means of personal and cultural transition into being southern. And it would not be until a decade later that I would find the language to articulate—or recognize—that my fondness of southern hip-hop and OutKast would segue into the larger question of where the South fit into not only hip-hop culture but contemporary American society in general. The black American South seldom has room to expand past three major historical touchstones: the antebellum era, Jim Crow, and the modern civil rights movement. Non-southerners take comfort and pleasure in being able to restrict black identities to these markers of southernness because of very accessible narrators, romanticization in mainstream American culture, and lagging agency outside of a wide imagination. In the same way that the American South embraces being a regional poltergeist, living with and benefiting from the haunts of the past, southern black folks too are haunted by white people. Southern blacks are expected to cower in the shadows of racism, succumb to their believed innate backwardness, and live in daily terror simply for being black in the South. They are seldom viewed as their own complex and autonomous selves. Without question, black folks are believed to “fall in” with southern whites’ experiences. This extends from the antebellum era into modern times, as southern blacks continuously fight to carve room for themselves, to speak their truth to power. Even amid the struggles of the twentieth-century civil rights movement, itself an effort to depart from white supremacy and the sociocultural constructs that supported it, white folks and their reactions were not far from center. The legibility of southern black respectability politics aside, the movement sustained itself across the region both because of the promise of black civil rights and the hope of white folks’ assimilation into the efforts that these rights would be better for everyone. 

However, after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the collapse of a perceived monolithic black leadership, the coordinated efforts of the movement broke down into localized attempts that, by themselves, did not sustain the interest of national news media (black or white). This was especially true in Albany, the peculiar jewel of the civil rights movement that forced Dr. King to reconsider his blueprint for racial equality. And although my grandparents did not participate on the front lines of the movement, they knew people who did, and they contributed to the cause through other means such as making protest posters, donating money, or providing brown-bag lunches. Further, it was not uncommon that teachers and elders who participated in the movement were still living in Albany, such as Rutha Mae Harris, who taught special education at Monroe Comprehensive High School, or the late Dr. Janie Rambeau, who taught French at Westover High School. Landmarks were also important during the Albany movement: for example, the Albany Civil Rights Museum on Whitney Avenue was repurposed from its use as a church headquarters to be used for marchers and protesters. And without fail, every time we drove past the museum, my grandparents would point to it and the Shiloh Baptist Church across the street and say, “When Dr. King was here, he would walk back and forth across the street to speak to both churches because all the people couldn’t fit into just one building.” And although I would nod and say, “yes ma’am,” or, “yes sir,” out of respect, it was fleeting in my mind because I did not feel an attachment to the movement with the same fervor and depth that my grandparents and elders did. However, what went unsaid was very much a part of my daily experiences: Albany’s high unemployment rate, the threat and fear of becoming a teenage mother or a high school dropout, racial profiling, and the rap music that spoke to these socioeconomic conditions daily. In my mind, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held space alongside the Atlanta rapper Pastor Troy, who proclaimed, “Ain’t no mo play in G-A,” and dubbed himself “leader of the wicked church.” And while Troy’s imagery certainly subverts the southern tradition of the black church as the epicenter of protest and change and its associated respectability politics, there is also an awareness that he too was speaking his truth to power, albeit with more bass kicks and synthesizers than a church organ or the traditional percussive clapping of marchers or a church congregation. What southern hip-hop realized and older generations wanted to tone down was that Dr. King’s mountaintop certainly was not flat.

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much. So just again, as you can see, these are very beautiful books. And as you can hear, they’re just as beautiful in their prose style. And so I invite you all to consider the purchase of these works.

I want to ask a question of all of you before I go into asking more specific questions about your work and then also try to take some from the Q&A here. But I’m curious here the ways in which black women factor into your narratives. In particular, or to open it up really, how is gender and sexuality constructed alongside race within your works? Are there some key figures that you want to highlight, that give us a glimpse as to how they factor into the relationship between race other than their music? And if so, please feel free to share.

ADAM GUSSOW: Well, I can take a stab at that. I have a chapter on Zora Neale Hurston. So one of the things that interests me is Hurston and class and this sort of tension that she felt between the music that came out of black southern juke joints on one hand and the pop cultural world. And I specifically write—I’m trying to make sense of Mules and Men and Their Eyes Were Watching God and trying to make sense of Hurston as—we think of her as sort of a working-class black southerner with an unusual background, obviously because she grows up in an all-black town. Kind of fearless. Trying to understand, on the one hand, she was really the first person to go inside the juke joint.

But one thing that I’ve been trying to figure out for years and made an explanation actually back in 2002 in my first book, but sort of went and revisited that, is why it’s so important to her in dramatizing her relationship with several women who were in the juke—why it’s so important to her to stage the same scene twice in two of her books. Which is to say that a woman is jealous of the attentions that she pays to the men from whom she’s trying to collect folklore. And they are violent, and they carry knives. And one of them, Big Sweet, basically tells Hurston like you would tell a little sister sort of like, “You can’t handle this world.” And Hurston wants to dramatize her being chased out of the juke joint.

She tells that story in Mules and Men. She tells it again in Dust Tracks on a Road. And I wondered why. Why is it so important to her to tell that? And I tried to make sense of that. And it was the second biography of Hurston—I’m blocking on the name of the author; not the Robert Hemenway but the more recent—who says basically Hurston had a kind of relationship early in her life where she was trapped in a bad relationship with somebody who probably physically abused her. She got out of it and repressed it and then later sort of needed to deal with it. And I see her evoking the power of these women. Partly because what she wants to say is, on the one hand, the blues in these juke joints is the real thing. We’re at a point now where we have—on Broadway, people are coming up with this stuff called “blues.” It’s Irving Berlin and others, but it’s not the real stuff. These women are powerful. Blues is a part of their world, on the one hand.

And on the other hand, these are women who would not have allowed themselves to end up in the kind of situation that I found myself in. And that’s sort of an argument that I make. In other words, they’re culture heroes for her. And their violence and indomitability, their bodaciousness—it’s an element of their personal power that I think she wanted to dramatize, even if it meant that the folklorist dramatized twice herself being chased out of the juke joint. And then I try to talk about how she rewrites that relationship in her relationship with Tea Cake in Their Eyes Are Watching God. That’s sort of one place where I deal with that theme.

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: Thanks a lot, Adam. I also found it useful in your way that you talked about blues queens of the 1920s and ‘30s, right? And their centrality within how they sort of get erased from sometimes the larger canon and mythos of how the blues developed. And also drawing on the work of folks like Daphne Brooks and Jayna Brown, who have done very deep work on black women performers who are very central—sort of hypersonic—within the development of all these genres but sometimes get maligned or erased from the larger history. So thank you.

ADAM GUSSOW: The history that focuses on men, yes. And the first stars of the blues—the people associated with blues as a word for the first time are women. So, sure, yeah. It’s a revisionist thing.

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: Yes, thanks for that. Okay, please.

REGINA N. BRADLEY: I don’t know. Yes to everything that Adam said. But also, as a southern black woman, what I saw Hurston doing was reclaiming space that was being taken away from her in a larger landscape. Like there was—especially in the early twentieth century, folks were trying to present the American South as a place you had to escape. It wasn’t necessarily a place of complexity. It wasn’t a place that held joy. So here comes Zora Neale Hurston, whose intention is to tell these stories from the complex perspective that they have to be afforded. And she knew—it’s interesting, right? On the one hand, yes, it’s exactly that. She’s coming at it as a black woman. But also coming at it from the perspective of who else can talk about the South like this besides me? You know what I’m saying? So I think her coming up in a predominantly all-black town reminds me of myself growing up in Albany. Albany is 80 percent black. So I think that that was an interesting thing.

But I said all that to say, in my book, I think about the significance of hip-hop as an opportunity for black women and girls to present themselves outside of this kind of traditional representation of black womanhood as respectable, right? There’s always in the back of the culture’s head, in the back of southern black women and girls’ heads is “it’s never just you.” I know, Claudrena, coming up in Jacksonville, I know you can feel me on this. Because you said it sounds like we have similar things going on. It’s not just Regina. It’s Regina because she represents her grandmother and her grandfather and her cousins and her mother. It’s like if you mess this up, it’s not just you looking bad. It comes out on all of us. And then how do southern black women and girls escape that? Like storytelling. It’s the storytelling of it. And in my work in particular, I think southern hip-hop is so important because it allows for the messiness or it picks up on the messiness of existing as southern and black that Hurston and blues women take up in the twentieth century, and they pick it up after the movement. So it’s like a sonic genealogy of storytelling. You can’t have a Megan Thee Stallion or a City Girls or a Trina or a Missy without talking to the Millie Jacksons and the Ma Raineys. There’s like this conversation that’s happening.

And I feel like in hip-hop—at least in my book, I talk about it in two different ways. And I really want to get into it in my second book. But I’ve got to get this one first. That’s always a struggle, right? Like I know I’m talking about in the next book. But in my book I theorize it as this country black girl existentialism. And center folks like Zora Neale Hurston and Anna Julia Cooper, for example. Especially Anna Julia Cooper, when she talks about a voice from the South, she talks about southern black women being this fragile and fatal class of genius and brilliance and being able to recognize what that looks like.

So I think, especially thinking about the connections between region and gender and music, it’s not only an opportunity to speak a particular type of truth. It’s also an opportunity to reclaim spaces that are being taken away in order to preserve the history of that space but also the importance of being able to tell one’s story from their own perspective. And I think that, kind of exactly what Adam was saying, that Zora Neale Hurston is the patron saint, so to speak. Like she’s the patron saint of country black girls everywhere who want to tell a story, and it’s being pushed back against them. Or they’re being pushed back against from telling that particular type of story.

CLAUDRENA N. HAROLD: I think Zora Neale Hurston is so important in terms of claiming the South. You think about Richard Wright and Black Boy, and he talks about at the end, “I have to leave the South in order to become whole, in order to become a man. And then maybe I can come back.” So there is the opportunity to come back.

But she represents—she’s a part of that genealogy that embraces the South. That I think of someone like Jean Toomer in Cane when he says, “If I could become the face of the South, oh how I would sing for it.”

REGINA N. BRADLEY: Right.

CLAUDRENA N. HAROLD: For me, that’s what Shirley Caesar does. So when I think about a particular kind of regional perspective that she brings as a native of Durham, North Carolina, to quote John P. Kee outside the Cook County line. But also the order of tobacco workers. She’s positioning herself in a particular kind of way. So even when you listen to “Shouting John”—and there are so many resonances with Zora Neale Hurston. What she’s saying with “Shouting John,” if we stop shouting, if we stop this expressive form of religiosity, we’re going to lose something. Because within the form of shouting, within the form spirit lives there. And in a post–Civil Rights moment, we don’t want to lose that. We don’t want to lose that which got us over.

And so what she’s saying is we can lose this in terms of race, and we can lose this in terms of class politics. Now, Matthew, this is where I think it becomes complicated with gender. Neither Shirley Caesar nor Twinkie Clark, who I don’t think you can talk about any of the sonic innovations in gospel music without centering these two people—they never positioned themselves in the same way as say an Andraé Crouch. She’s never going to say, “You know, I basically built this, and I can do traditional. I can do contemporary. I can do soulful. I can be funky, and I can also still nail a Montgomery song and make you forget that she was the one who first sung ‘No Charge.’”

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: That’s the truth.

CLAUDRENA N. HAROLD: But she’s not going to do that, and neither will Twinkie Clark. So I think one of the strategies that we have, for me, when talking about black women geniuses, is listening to the pregnant silences. So when Twinkie Clark, for example, she’s being interviewed by the brilliant scholar/writer Carol Cooper, and she says—and Cooper is like, “What do you listen to?” Because Twinkie Clark is one of those people you want to know everything. Like what was you listening to at Howard? What record store did you go to? You just want to know all about all of these things about these people.

She says, “I don’t listen, but I hear.” So it’s like you’re never going to pigeonhole—yeah, you know, I’m playing every instrument. I’m writing everything. I’m doing all of this work. So we have to find sort of the theoretical framework and the language to begin to articulate a genius that these women are often denied because they also don’t believe in some ways in exceptional individualism.

And so part of their work is about also carrying the tradition and carrying each other. So that’s what I was also trying to do. I was trying to capture the ways in which they contribute to the development of the art form but also the ways in which they care for other artists who advance the art form.

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: Absolutely. Thank you so much for those responses, you all. I’m trying to answer questions I can answer with your books on the Q&A and the chat as I’m also doing this. So pardon me as I try to go back to the Q&A here. Regina, someone asked what Stankonia was, and I answered it straight from the quote in your book: “the title of OutKast’s 2000 album and Stankonia—the ability to sort of speak in a number of messy ways to make some points” I think is how Regina defines it there. But we can go back also.

But I want to go back to a point that I think Claudrena brought up and that’s come up in the Q&A. And I know that it resonates both in Adam and Regina’s work. It’s this idea of the divide between the sacred and the secular, and we know that it’s a false division in many ways, or a constructed ideological division in many cases that comes a lot from the secularization of the United States overall from its very puritanical—there’s a long history of how that happens. But it often is sometimes placed sort of as an analytical frame when thinking about black performance styles. But I think what your works do is really blurred this distinction as much as the work of a lot of black scholars attempt to do in particular around black music. And so can you talk a little bit about—but also there are distinctions in their performances too, right? Very clearly. And so can you talk a little bit about maybe the distinctions that you find in the work that you’re doing here around the particular genres and topics between the sacred and the secular, but also how they are totally meshed or tethered to one another as well.

ADAM GUSSOW: Well, I can take a stab. My last book was called Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil in the Blues Tradition. So I spent a lot of time trying to understand that phrase “the devil’s music” and understand the role the devil played in the blues tradition. Jon Michael Spencer, the theomusicologist, was really helpful in this. Of course, he did it with a full-frontal attack on white blues scholars in the beginning of Blues and Evil. And he said it’s a misunderstanding to imagine that somehow you have on the one hand God’s people and on the other hand the blues people. That the blues people are hopelessly fallen and think of their music as the devil’s music. He said, in the middle actually fall many of the blues performers. And they are people who are having trouble with the church, but they’ll often say, “My gift was God-given,” or they’ll say, as Mance Lipscomb did, “The church left me. I didn’t leave the church.” Jessie Mae Hemphill said the same thing.

So that was one of the things that I think is important to say. B. B. King, for example. It’s not hard to find black male blues musicians from Mississippi who will say it’s wrong to perform blues and sacred music in the same show. Although many of them—Charley Patton and others—recorded both types of music in different times.

One key thing for me trying to understand what I call the “devil’s music dispute” was to realize that the period of time when blues is generating in the Black South—the sort of 1890s, early 1900s—was a period of time when the black church denominations were coming into their own. I found it was a place where you could make—it was one of the few places in the South where black men could build institutions and sort of rise to the top of the institution. And what I found when I looked closely at what was going on in Clarksdale, for example, which was a place that’s notable for kind of this tension. John Lee Hooker had this tension, for example, in his family. His father was a minister, and he ended up leaving his father.

What I found was that it seemed to—there was a prodigal son thing, and the blues were generated in part out of that. You had minister fathers and blues-playing sons and blues-playing daughters. Ruth Brown, for example—her father was a minister. And she said, “My father didn’t want me to go to New York. He was afraid that I’d get known as the hostess with the mostess.” It was always a sort of respectability, as Regina talked about. The sort of respectability politics were a part of it. And so there were the parents here, and there was a younger generation here. The parents saw freedom often in either institutional terms—I can be free if I build this church and if I get increased collections. And the youth—W. C. Handy and others—said, “No, I want expressive freedom.” And the blues are a place—and the entertainment world more generally is a place—where I can achieve a kind of expressive freedom.

And that was the tension. It felt like that there was a generational tension that had a kind of church and entertainment tension that was sort of supercharged with oedipal energy, with sort of kids rebelling against their parents. And so that’s one of the things that seemed relevant to me.

REGINA N. BRADLEY: Yeah, I—

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: I’m sorry, Regina, I’m going to also throw in here another question as you answer. One had a question about what role does the church play in hip-hop as well.

REGINA N. BRADLEY: Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So in the excerpt that I read, I talked about Pastor Troy, that he calls himself the leader of the wicked church. But in reality, he’s actually the son of a pastor at a local church in Atlanta that he still goes to, by the way. That’s what he told me.

But I think, thinking about hip-hop’s connection, especially in southern rap, like faith is never far away from center in anything that southern black folks do. Period. You know what I’m saying? It might something as quick as you just say, “Jesus.” That’s your little bit of church for the day.

But I think that blending of the sacred and secular definitely isn’t something that has happened in a vacuum, and I think it kind of goes back to things that I talk about in my book in terms of, when I think about southern black expression, southern black culture—it’s never linear, right? Like it’s not just this place where it happens one time, and then that’s it, and we lovingly reflect on it, right? I mean, like, it’s what I meant when I said that the South is a regional poltergeist. Like we are continuously revisiting the past to try to get an understanding of the present, in order to try to move forward into the future.

So there’s this increasing tension, especially generational-wise, I think, about the church. There’s different types of churches. I grew up CME, for example. I had friends who grew up COGIC and Seventh-day and Baptist. And I would be terrified going to church with them because CME is extremely quiet. You have an organ. You have a piano. You know what I’m saying? You have your operatic singing of the hymn, and then that’s it.

Well, when I would go to church with friends, you have the smelling salts, and you have the percussion, and you have like—so I think that’s intentional too, right? Because the South isn’t monolithic, and I feel like approaches to faith in the sacred and secular are increasingly getting messy also. Like when we think about this, I often think about the black Baptist tradition. Because we’re in the Black Belt, obviously. But I mean like there’s other points to consider too, like Islam, for example. Or Catholicism or these different things that come together.

But all that to say I think the generational anxiety that exists that Adam was pointing out definitely continues with hip-hop southerners. Because, well, what happens if just praying about it doesn’t work? You know what I’m saying? Like all of these questions that we ask. What happens if, you know, in the sonic narrative of the Civil Rights Movement you have gospel and Negro spirituals saying that “we have overcome”? Well, what happens now that we’re on the mountaintop? It’s not flat. And spirituals don’t speak to that. They speak to us getting to the mountainside or getting to the land of milk and honey, so to speak, but not necessarily how to navigate it. And I feel like that’s what southern rap does by centering a deconstructed idea of religion and looking at it as faith. Because faith allows you to question in ways that organized religion does not.

So when you have folks like Pastor Troy and songs like “Vica Versa,” for example, or you have songs like OutKast’s “Liberation” that are asking these questions about freedom and what freedom looks like and how to perform that, they’re coming at it from a perspective of being frustrated. There’s a frustration there that’s like, we don’t have room to articulate these concerns. One, because our elders didn’t prepare us for these concerns. And, two, probably because our elders didn’t expect us to have these concerns, right?

So when I say the deromanticization of the Civil Rights Movement, we need to have honest conversations that the Civil Rights Movement was very—it reckoned with a lot of things, but it did not fix everything. And older generations would like for you to say that it fixed everything and keep it on the pedestal that we keep it on, especially during Black History Month. But southern rap is like, nah, what we’re not going to do is “play in our face,” as the young folks say, and be like everything was fixed. How do we have these types of conversations? We use the music to do that.

And I think depending on where you land in the South—if you’re in Georgia, you’re definitely going to get that funk influence along with the gospel influence. If you’re in Louisiana, you’re going to get a little bit of everything down there. So I think it’s important to kind of consider how we are breaking apart some of these accepted trajectories of cultural thought and expression in the South and really having these more insistent conversations about: What does that do in terms of X, Y, and Z? What does that do in terms of how we understand race? What does that do in terms of how we understand region? And how can we use the music to continue to evolve these conversations instead of shut them down?

CLAUDRENA N. HAROLD: Yeah, I definitely agree. For me, the first time I heard OutKast was a profoundly spiritual experience. Because I was just happy as someone from Florida that had grown up listening to Luke. Man, they were respectable. OutKast—I can remember working for the Urban League. That was my first job ever. Interestingly enough, it was like a “stop the drugs and violence” campaign sponsored by Anheuser-Busch. And all of the contradictions. And every morning we would listen to “Git Up, Git Out, and Do Something” and Sounds of Blackness’s “Optimistic.” That was our like morning devotion.

So when I think about some of the best music, I think of that song. I think of “Liberation.” I think of the opening of “ATLiens.” There is something profoundly spiritual. From OutKast to Meshell Ndegeocello. You know, spirit lives and it manifests in different ways. Because what I think black people are attempting to grapple with, whether it’s OutKast or Yolanda Adams, is how are we human in the world? And how do you maintain faith? How do you maintain your humanity?

And I think also that sacred and secular divide—that frustration that Regina talks about—is in gospel music. It’s in a place like Detroit, where these groups—The Winans and Commissioned—are wrestling with what do you do when you have lost half of your population to deindustrialization? How do you explain deindustrialization theologically? How do you understand the idea of an omnipotent god who intervenes on behalf of the oppressed, and you’re dealing with deindustrialization? You’re dealing with AIDS. You’re dealing with all of these things. And we know for some in the black church, some in gospel music, it results in a right turn. It results in an embrace of this Moral Majority. It results in homophobia. It results in a lot of different things. Because our people are wrestling with this moment.

And I think also how I attempt to deal with the sacred and the secular divide is also through someone like an Al Green. So how do you begin to reconcile the secular Al—the Al of High Records in the 1970s—with the Al of the 1980s who also released some amazing gospel albums? This is where I think region came in. I think at the disco Al Green was like gospel as an art form provides me with an elasticity to still be country. So I can be Memphis soul. I can be Nashville soul. I can make some s*** that sounds like PTL, that you’re like, “What is this?” And gospel had that elasticity I think in a way that rhythm and blues didn’t have in the early 1980s.

I think also disco is important in this conversation. I hear gospel in disco. I hear gospel in Sylvester. I hear gospel when I listen to “Mighty High” that was written by my uncle. I also hear gospel in B. B. King “I Like to Live the Love That I Sing About” probably because my uncle wrote it. But when he says, “My song is a serious matter. It reflects how I feel.” That is St. Matthews Baptist Church, Northside, Jacksonville.

ADAM GUSSOW: I’ve got a quick question, Claudrena. So I took a look at the people you write about. Take 6. I bought that Take 6 album. It pushed right into my world, and I love them. And I took a girl—she was a tough Italian-American girl from Patterson, New Jersey, who was into Stetsasonic. And we sat in the fourth row, and I was in love. And when we finished, she said, “It’s so bougie.” And I had no idea what to do with that.

CLAUDRENA N. HAROLD: Well that’s what you expect from people who have an essentialist notion of blackness. So that’s why I don’t—

ADAM GUSSOW: So tell me what was happening in history that—because it was incredibly smooth. They have a distinct sound, and it’s beautiful. Where’s that coming from in historic—

CLAUDRENA N. HAROLD: That’s coming from them being Oakwood, Alabama. That’s coming from a historically black institution. So what does it mean to say that something is “bougie” or maybe not rooted in a certain blackness when they are more rooted in—I mean, they sang in spirituals. You know, because there is this limited definition of what blackness is, and it’s shaped around authenticity. So we have to begin to critique that.

ADAM GUSSOW: But she wanted the dirt, right? She wanted the lowdown—where she was from, she wanted something earthier, roar, more noise, if you will. More edge. For her it was too reconciled—

REGINA N. BRADLEY: Real quick. That reminds me of Zora Neale Hurston’s essay, “How it Feels to Be Colored Me.” When she went to the jazz club, and she was turnt, and she saw the white guy, and he was like, “Oh, this is some nice music.” And she looked at him like, “You don’t feel that?” I think she called it like “the blahs of red and purple emotion”? 

ADAM GUSSOW: Yes. It took her to Africa and back. She was feeling all these powerful things, and he was like, “Eh, I don’t—”

CLAUDRENA N. HAROLD: But those authenticity debates result in an exclusion of people like Philadelphia International, Earth, Wind & Fire, or Luther Vandross. This notion that there has to be a certain style of soul. And I remember going to college and hearing those debates and coming back home and you want to say, “Well, Luther Vandross doesn’t have soul.” And people in the community think your ass is crazy.

So, no. I think that’s why someone like Mark Anthony Neal’s work is so important because carried in those debates are notions of what communities—what people—are valuable as intellectual subjects. So that’s what we also have to fight against in gospel. Anything post-1960, anything post-a certain kind of authentic blackness that I think is black religiosity—oh, that’s just not it.

So then when you have those limited notions of what black gospel is, it’ll shape how you think about and listen to a Whitney Houston. Whitney Houston has a sound that’s very shaped by a kind of black institutional Baptist church. It’s a particular kind of sound. If you don’t think that Andraé Crouch is foundational to black gospel music, there’s a way in which you will hear her and not understand what she’s doing.

So those authenticity debates about one form can shape how we approach other forms and other genres as well, and I think it’s very dangerous. Very dangerous.

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: Yeah. And these authenticity debates also shape the way that the music industry and culture circulates at large and functions at large. Because you have people at the helm of these things who think in these monolithic ways about blackness and other racialized identities, right? And I think one of the things that Regina and Claudrena are pointing out very carefully is that blackness is not monolithic. Whether it’s regionally, whether it’s stylistically. We’re talking about black classical musicians all the way back to Chevalier de Saint-Georges in the eighteenth century. All of these things are a part of the making of black music production and culture. So those things have to be considered in relation to one another, as I think they’re doing very well in these books.

So since we are wrapping up at eight o’clock, and you kind of got my last question there, Adam, and since you had the last word in the music, I want to see if I can give Regina and Claudrena a chance to talk about anything that was left out of the book in these last four minutes. Anything that was left out of the book that you would have wanted to include.

REGINA N. BRADLEY: Oh yeah, real quick. I wanted to spend a little bit more time on that question of black women and black women centered and how we understand southern hip-hop, which I do plan on doing in the second project. But I think it’s especially important because in the same ways that southern rap can be seen as an opportunity to think about what it means to have an emancipated, contemporary southern black landscape, a lot of that falls into a larger category of black women and how that labor is also being done. So I’m thinking about the Dee Dee Hibblers and The Joys and the Erykah Badus and the Trinas and the Gangsta Boos and all those who speak to these particular sonic genealogies and how to move that forward.

So ultimately, that’s what I wish I would’ve spent a little bit more time on. But I’m super excited to actually get back to work. Well, whenever I’m allowed to go back to a library because [unintelligible]. But, yeah, ultimately I think that question of black women in southern rap is the next move for me but also something I wish I’d paid a little more attention to in the book. But I think I did an okay job. I think it is okay, but I think moving forward that’s definitely going to be more central to how I approach hip-hop as a cultural intervention for understanding the Black American South.

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: That’ll also be a beautiful addition to the works of folks like Maureen Mahon’s Black Diamond Queens and Daphne Brooks’s recent work and so many others that are really looking at what it means to sort of consider black women performers across the different genres and times. I’m sorry. Claudrena?

CLAUDRENA N. HAROLD: I wouldn’t really change anything, I think. And that’s not to say that it doesn’t have issues. But it’s to say that since its publication I’ve had graduate students who want to know about sources and who want more information. So the next generation, they’re going to take this to another level. I think one of my biggest concerns is the state of the archive. It’s fragile. The state of the music archive is fragile.

When I started this, for example, there were five black-owned gospel record stores. There are three now. So I worry more about the fragility of the archive. So I’m hoping that I can do more to help that and add to the sort of preservation work of wonderful scholars like Portia Maultsby at Indiana University. So I’m more concerned now about moving to the archives and trying to do what I can to protect the archive.

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: And I think that there’s a generation of younger scholars now who are realizing that these things are ephemeral and disappearing and ways that they want to be captured, including the elders who are elders at this point. I’m thinking of the work of Ambre Dromgoole at Yale as well, who’s doing this ethnographic work and thinking about gospel and its multivalences as well.

So it’s time now for us to wrap up our discussion. I am very grateful and thankful to our panelists Regina, Adam, and Claudrena and to everyone here who is watching and joined us on this evening. So please again consider buying these featured books from your local independent bookseller or using the links provided in the chat. You can also check out other events in the all-virtual 2021 Virginia Book Festival at VaBook.org. Now, please stay tuned for some live music from one of our panelists, Adam Gussow, and remind me of the group name.

REGINA N. BRADLEY: The Blues Doctor.

ADAM GUSSOW: The Blues Doctors, yeah.

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: Yes, The Blues Doctors.

ADAM GUSSOW: So I’m going to go dark, and I’ll be there in a couple of minutes, and we’ll go live, okay?

MATTHEW D. MORRISON: Thank you.

SARAH LAWSON: Excellent. Thank you, Matthew. Thank you Claudrena, Regina, everyone. This was an amazing conversation, and I am just so grateful that we were able to bring you all together for the Festival. So thank you for being here and for that wonderful event.

Now I am pleased to introduce The Blues Doctors. While Adam is getting set up, I will tell you a little bit more about them. They are a two-man band out of Oxford, Mississippi, featuring Adam and his musician buddy Alan Gross. And they will be performing a set of tunes live from Adam’s porch. The Blues Doctors play a mix of down-home Delta standards and urban grooves from the Clarksdale-to-Chicago axis, with some New Orleans funk thrown in. Since joining forces in 2012, they have transformed themselves into a two-man band with a bold and distinctive sound. Gussow on harmonica and drums and Gross on guitar, with both men sharing vocal duties.

If you have a chance to find them on YouTube, they have some really excellent videos and tunes that you can check out after tonight’s event concludes. Also, as noted earlier, Adam is currently on the Netflix show Satan & Adam and in a number of other musical endeavors, I believe, as well.

So we are very pleased to have some tunes to help wrap up this event, and we’ll plan to go until about eight-thirty. So hopefully you can all stick around and enjoy. And we will wait for Adam to get set up and get things going. So thank you again.

If you have not already clicked on the links in the chat, we really encourage you all to check out the books from tonight’s speakers and hopefully purchase at least one or two of them from UVA Bookstore, who is our partner bookseller for this event. And throughout the Festival, we are really stressing the importance of supporting local independent booksellers as well as the local independent booksellers that we are partnering with for the Festival. So thank you in advance for purchasing books and supporting those folks, as well as supporting the wonderful speakers that we had tonight.

And here we are on Adam’s porch.

ADAM GUSSOW: We ready to go? Can you hear me?

SARAH LAWSON: Yup, ready to go. How are you?

ADAM GUSSOW: Can you hear me?

SARAH LAWSON: Yes.

ADAM GUSSOW: Yes, okay. Well, here we go. Thanks, everybody.

SARAH LAWSON: All right, take it away.

[End of interview portion of event]

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