April 15, 2023 — The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation (LABF) is pleased to announce the winner of its 2023 Broadcast Historian Award is Daphne Brooks, Yale University, for her book, Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound.
Daphne A. Brooks explores more than a century of music archives to examine the critics, collectors, and listeners who have determined perceptions of Black women on stage and in the recording studio. How is it possible, she asks, that iconic artists such as Aretha Franklin and Beyoncé exist simultaneously at the center and on the fringe of the culture industry?
Liner Notes for the Revolution offers a startling new perspective on these acclaimed figures—a perspective informed by the overlooked contributions of other Black women concerned with the work of their musical peers. Zora Neale Hurston appears as a sound archivist and a performer, Lorraine Hansberry as a queer Black feminist critic of modern culture, and Pauline Hopkins as America’s first Black female cultural commentator. Brooks tackles the complicated racial politics of blues music recording, song collecting, and rock and roll criticism. She makes lyrical forays into the blues pioneers Bessie Smith and Mamie Smith, as well as fans who became critics, like the record-label entrepreneur and writer Rosetta Reitz. In the twenty-first century, pop superstar Janelle Monae’s liner notes are recognized for their innovations, while celebrated singers Cécile McLorin Salvant, Rhiannon Giddens, and Valerie June take their place as cultural historians.
With an innovative perspective on the story of Black women in popular music—and who should rightly tell it—Liner Notes for the Revolution pioneers a long overdue recognition and celebration of Black women musicians as radical intellectuals.
The LABF supports a broadcast archive housed at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. Brooks has graciously agreed to donate a copy of her book to the archives. Brooks will receive a $2,500 check in recognition of the award.
In 2015 LABF and BEA partnered to establish the annual Broadcast Historian Awards. With the support of LABF, BEA annually provides two $2,500 awards to educators who have published books or produced creative work specifically related to broadcast history. A call for the 2024 Broadcast Historian Awards will be available in early summer. For more information, visit www.BEAweb.org.
About the LABF: The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation serves the philanthropic arm of the Library of American Broadcasting, the nation’s most extensive collection of broadcast history, policy and tradition, including historical documents, professional papers, oral and video histories, books, scripts and photographs preserved at the University of Maryland. In addition, the LABF presents the Annual Giants of Broadcasting Event, which pays tribute to trailblazers in the radio and television industry. For more information, please visit www.tvradiolibrary.o rg.