The Godmother Of Rock N’ Roll Was Black, Queer, Important, And Unforgettable



I consider it a damn shame that I didn’t report on it earlier but if it wasn’t reported in the moment then pride month seems pretty fitting. Sister Rosetta Tharpe, back in April of this year, was finally inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. It really my so much sense that Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes and Thunderbitch performed a fitting tribute for the induction — Questlove and Paul Shaffer where also there.

One of my first lists, Women That Rock, Tharpe was named number one and for good reason. She was there before Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash. Many of stars of music cite her as one of their biggest inspirations. It was Elvis that said her pickin’ is what made her stand out.

To quote Michael Harriot, from his article at The Root, “Most reasonable music historians will tell you that one person shouldn’t receive credit for an entire genre. While it is true that not every single musician who ever played rock ’n’ roll was inspired by Rosetta Tharpe, it is also true that there is not a single rock musician playing in the year 2018 doing something that Rosetta Tharpe wasn’t doing 80 years ago.” Rosetta Tharpe is important, necessary, and it’s about time music honored her in the way she deserved.

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4 comments to “The Godmother Of Rock N’ Roll Was Black, Queer, Important, And Unforgettable”
  1. I was lucky enough to see Sister Rosetta in 1967. Starting her encore, a tiny woman with a HUGE Gibson, duck/walked out to join her: Rosetta Tharp’s MOTHER! For me, it was a one of a kind moment, as clear in my memory as if it happened last week. So thanks for the piece.

  2. Your headline, calling Sister Rosetta Tharpe “Queer,” is a low point in journalism. Stating the implied sexuality of a dead performer who cannot defend themselves is reprehensible. Do you have proof of this innuendo, if so I missed it in your article. I realize Rocknuts is not the high point of journalism, but your style of sensationalism is less than professional

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