Sweet Honey: Encapsulating Black Feminism

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Thursday December 21, 2017

From New Statesman

Bernardine Evaristo on Sweet Honey in the Rock: “They encapsulate the early years of black feminism”
Long Players: Writers on Their Most Cherished Albums
By: Bernardine Evaristo

[When I first heard Sweet Honey in the Rock…] I was a young black feminist surrounded by 13,000 feminist women from all over the world, many in traditional dress. It was an incredible and unforgettable experience, and Sweet Honey gave the triumphant closing concert in Nairobi. They are an African-American, female a capella group whose vocal power and range would put some of today’s biggest singers, who rely on autotune, to shame. Their rousing and political songs, which veer from themes of injustice and oppression to expressions of love and beauty, are steeped in the traditions of blues, soul, gospel, folk and reggae.

If one group encapsulates the early years of black feminism, it’s this one. They’ve earned several Grammy nominations, and won the award for best folk album, although that doesn’t do justice to the variety of their music styles. Sometimes I go years without listening to them, and then I’m driving along somewhere, put this album into the CD player and I’m immediately and sublimely transported – emotionally, intellectually, spiritually.

Read this article and the rest of the series here