Smith, Danyel: Shine Bright

American pop music is arguably this country’s greatest cultural contribution to the world, and its singular voice and virtuosity were created by a shining thread of Black women geniuses stretching back to the country’s founding. This is their surprising, heartbreaking, soaring story—from “one of the generation’s greatest, most insightful, most nuanced writers in pop culture” (Shea Serrano)

“Sparkling . . . the overdue singing of a Black girl’s song, with perfect pitch . . . delicious to read.”—Oprah Daily



A weave of biography, criticism, and memoir, Shine Bright is Danyel Smith’s intimate history of Black women’s music as the foundational story of American pop. Smith has been writing this history for more than five years. But as a music fan, and then as an essayist, editor (Vibe, Billboard), and podcast host (Black Girl Songbook), she has been living this history since she was a latchkey kid listening to “Midnight Train to Georgia” on the family stereo. 

Smith’s detailed narrative begins with Phillis Wheatley, an enslaved woman who sang her poems, and continues through the stories of Mahalia Jackson, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, and Mariah Carey, as well as the under-considered careers of Marilyn McCoo, Deniece Williams, and Jody Watley. 

Shine Bright
is an overdue paean to musical masters whose true stories and genius have been hidden in plain sight—and the book Danyel Smith was born to write.“Danyel Smith, an icon of arts journalism, turns her literary powers to the under-recognized pillars of American music, the Black women whose trials, triumphs, and heartbreaks have given soul-deep voice to our own. Rarely has a narrator been so perfectly matched to her subject. A lyrical, long-overdue feat of personal memory, cultural history, synthesis and love.”—Isabel Wilkerson, New York Times bestselling author of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents and The Warmth of Other Suns

“Riveting and rapturous, searingly candid and unstoppably audacious . . . both a stunning memoir of Gen X Black girl-into-womanhood and an elegant and rigorous exploration of the indispensable role that Black women artists have played in the making of popular music culture . . . I did not want this book to end. An instant classic.”—Daphne A. Brooks, author of Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound

“Danyel Smith paints the big picture of Black women’s central role in American music by making sure every detail is perfectly rendered. Like the deep listener she is, Danyel hears her own story in the music and words of these women, but also connects them to each other and to the social realities behind the songs we treasure most. A landmark work as personal as it is profound.”—Ann Powers, author of Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music

“Dazzling . . . Either by design or by perfect accident, Danyel, in celebrating the legacies of seminal Black women in pop music, has cemented her own legacy as one of the generation’s greatest, most insightful, most nuanced writers in pop culture. Shine Bright is wonderful.”—Shea Serrano, New York Times bestselling author of Hip-Hop (And Other Things)

“Shine Bright masterfully interweaves American history and personal testimony, resulting in a gorgeous tribute to Black women’s voices that only Danyel Smith could craft. Smith is a once-in-a-generation sort of talent: a griot, a journalist, and the fangirl of all fangirls, and this is her magnum opus . . . for now.”—Jamilah Lemieux, writer and cultural critic 

“Danyel Smith’s ‘voice’ in this volume of history, memoir, and music is as vibrant, knowing, and evocatively joyous as that of the singers she writes about.”—Paula J. Giddings, author, Ida, a Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching

“Danyel Smith, arguably the most influential and innovative magazine editor of our generation, inscribes the stories of Black women who have systematically been written out of the very music history they created. . . . Riveting and infuriating and important.”—Dan Charnas, author of Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm

“[A] masterful examination of the Black women artists who’ve indelibly shaped American popular music . . . Smith offers a sharply written survey of the Black women who blazed the trail . . . [and] the ways in which Black voices were ‘the very genes of popular American soul, R&B, and rock ’n’ roll’ yet often went uncredited. . . . This lyrical and whip-smart work is a cause for celebration.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Artikelnummer: 978-0-593-13271-5
Fr. 36.90
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Autor Smith, Danyel
Verlag Random House N.Y.
Einband Fester Einband
Erscheinungsjahr 2022
Seitenangabe 320 S.
Meldetext Lieferbar in ca. 20-45 Arbeitstagen
Ausgabekennzeichen Englisch
Coverlag Roc Lit 101 (Imprint/Brand)