"Am I That Easy To Forget?": The Sounds and Forms of Black Women's Labor in the Music Industry 1945-1985


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


American/African American Studies


“Am I That Easy to Forget?” traces Black women’s musical, administrative, and affective labor across distinct spheres of the music industry in the United States between 1945 and 1985. Beneath the commercialized finality of popular music lie extensive relational networks of personal and institutional interdependencies, which illustrate that both musical and non-musical labor enabled the commodification of Black sound across the four decades following World War II. This project excavates precisely these relational networks within and between key urban sites of Black musical innovation, such as Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles, by analyzing the work of Black women throughout all corners of the music industry—from radio disc jockey to record label executive, talent agent to lead vocalist.