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Spatializing Black People and Black Music: The Rise of Price & the Minneapolis Music Scene

March 16, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Join the Department of Sociology and Anthropology's Intellectual Events Committee for a discussion on "Spatializing Black People and Black Music: The Rise of Prince & the Minneapolis Music Scene" with Dr. Rashad Shabazz, author of Spatializing Blackness.

About Dr. Rashad Shabazz:

Dr. Rashad Shabazz, whose academic expertise brings together human geography, Black cultural studies, & gender studies. His research explores how race, sexuality and gender are informed by geography. His book Spatializing Blackness examines how carceral power within various geographies shaped urban planning, housing policy, policing practices, gang formation, high incarceration rates, masculinity & health. He will be connecting his methodologies and theories to new work in Minneapolis.

Born and raised in the city’s Black neighborhood of North Minneapolis in the mid-20th century, Prince was a child prodigy. The son of jazz composer and singer, Prince taught himself to play multiple instruments: guitar, piano, bass guitar, and drums. In addition to his hefty catalogue of pop hits, Prince was a prolific songwriter. Not withstanding his forty-four studio albums, he left more than ten thousand songs in his famous vault. But more than individual genius, Prince brings into focus the social forces that gave rise to the contestations over the place of Black people and Black music in the city of Minneapolis in the post-World War II period. It was this contest over Black people and their music that give rise to his musical career of Prince and the sound of Minneapolis. Prince’s genre bending music that fused funk, rock, new wave, jazz, and pop, is not the product of a singular genius, but was rather the consequence of social forces, chiefly white supremacy and exploitation of Black labor migration that brought Black people form the south and mid-west to Minneapolis; and the spatialization of Black people in the northern part of the city. These forces did much to lay the groundwork for the creation of the Minneapolis sound. Drawing on the work of Black geographers, music geographers, historians, and music theorists, This talk, uses Prince and his sound as a way to illuminate and map how social forces such as poverty, migration, and anti-Black racism shaped not only Minneapolis’s urban and racial geography, but also the popular musical forms that have defined the city and its most famous son for nearly a half century.


March 16, 2017
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Event Categories:
Community Engagement, Student Life


John D. O’Bryant African American Institute
School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
History Department
Media and Screen Studies


West Village G, 108
450 Parker Street
Boston, MA 02115 United States
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