New Avid Listener post: Carrie Allen Tipton, “James Brown and B.B. King: Mourning and Migration”

It has been a busy week in blog land, but I don’t want to neglect our newest offering on The Avid Listener, the fourth essay by guest author Carrie Allen Tipton. This essay continues her exploration of public mourning (see, also, her essay about Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston). This essay ties the public mourning of James Brown and B. B. King–the specific ways in which their lives were celebrated–to larger narratives of migration.

Here’s a teaser:

“When blues guitarist and singer B.B. King (b. 1925) died in May 2015, fans mourned his death and celebrated his life at two large public events. On May 27, the hearse carrying his casket began its two-state journey on Memphis’s Beale Street, one of several symbolic “birthplace-of-the-blues” locales claimed by communities throughout the U.S. South. A parade of mourners—some singing, dancing, or playing instruments—accompanied the hearse, as shown in the video above. Over the next two days, the hearse crept down Highway 61 to Indianola, Mississippi, in the heart of the Delta, where a public viewing was held on May 29 at the B.B. King Museum. The next day, King’s casket finally wound up at a small church in Indianola for the funeral service. The implications were clear: B.B. King may have hailed from the rural Mississippi Delta, but his biography also encompassed a specific urban space: the African American neighborhoods of Memphis, where he first caught national attention in the early 1950s with his WDIA radio broadcasts.”

How does James Brown fit into this? Well, you should read the entire essay here. 🙂

Next week were going to switch gears and give you an essay about listening to Beethoven in the fabulous film The King’s Speech. Here’s your warning, so you can go watch the movie before Monday.

The Avid Listener: Listen. Write. Discuss. Repeat.

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