Skip to main content


Fifty Shades of the Blues: Song, Soul, and Sexuality

In the 1920s and 1930s, pioneering musicians like Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey used suggestive lyrics and tongue-in-cheek performances to express their fluid sexuality. In this program, Sharon Bridgforth and Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones use conversation and live performance to consider how race, gender, and class played important roles in developing this complex musical form. Performer Katherine Davis and her trio sing blues favorites during the complimentary pre-program cocktail reception.

Sharon Bridgforth is a resident playwright at New Dramatists. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones is an associate professor at The University of Texas at Austin, specializing performance scholarship that focuses on identity, ethnography, Yoruba-based performance aesthetics, Black Feminisms, and Theatre for Social Change.
Cocktails, appetizers, and live blues start at 5:30 p.m. The program is 7:30–9:00 p.m.


Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.