Rebel is Rebecca Carroll's regular column on race and pop culture. You can hear Rebecca talk about these issues with guests on Wednesday mornings on WNYC, or participate in one of Rebel's monthly conversations in The Greene Space.
This week's Rebel interview is with soul singer and rising a cappella star Madison McFerrin, who is also the curator of a month-long residency at C'Mon Everybody called The Sissieretta Series. The series, which pays tribute to the 19th century soprano Sissieretta Jones, features weekly performances by women artists of color; (January 23 and January 30 are the remaining dates).
About her choice to call it the Sissieretta series, McFerrin says it's about remembering Jones's contribution to America.
From left to right, performers at previous Sissieretta shows: Melanie Charles (photo: Akine Fatou); Nappy Nina (photo: Dave Jeffers); Jessica Pinkett (photo: Akine Fatou)
"We decided to name it after Sissieretta because nobody knows about her anymore. There are no known recordings of her singing. So people have completely forgotten about her. It was really important to honor her in a way that uplifted her spirit and just to show, especially women of color, we're out here doing things. You should pay attention to us."
Rebecca Carroll is a cultural critic and Editor of Special Projects at WNYC, where she develops, produces and hosts a broad array of multi-platform content, including podcasts, live events and on-air broadcasts. Rebecca is also a critic at large for the Los Angeles Times, and a regular columnist at Shondaland in addition to Gothamist. She is the author of several interview-based books about race and blackness in America, including the award-winning Sugar in the Raw, and her personal essays, cultural commentary and opinion pieces have been published widely.