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The Black Women Behind Rock and Roll

Black Women in History

The Black Women Behind Rock and Roll

By James Devitt via

An NYU music historian points to the influences of African American groups such as the Shirelles in songs by Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones.

The lyrics and sound of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” have resonated with rock and roll fans for decades—but its depth may never have been fully realized if not for the prominence of vocalist Merry Clayton on the track.

As a last-minute replacement for a flu-stricken Bonnie Bramlett, Clayton, who’d previously performed with Bobby Darin and Ray Charles, among others, brought “raw power” to the tune, writes Maureen Mahon, an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Music, in Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (Duke University Press, 2020)…

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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