still sweatin': remapping the before and afterlife of house through the cartographic and sonic memories of the Black house kids in chicago

the venn vision group, "intermedial sounding: conversations on race, media and the senses" presents this lecture with april l. graham-jackson (berkeley).

"still sweatin': remapping the before and afterlife of house through the cartographic and sonic memories of the Black house kids in chicago" a lecture by april l. graham-jackson (berkeley)

wednesday, april 17, 2024 • 4:00-5:00 pm • haldeman 041

in 2022, beyoncé released renaissance to critical acclaim while several music publications and "house heads" proclaimed she resurrected house. for the Black1 house kids—house community members shaping house since its inception in Black queer spaces in chicago—this narrativization was unsettling. this framing invoked disturbing memories of disco demolition (1979)—a promotional riot in chicago where thousands of white rock fans blew up Black music records in an attempt to "kill disco." rooted in racism, homophobia, and sociospatial exclusion, disco demolition was framed as the starting point of house, which "rose from the ashes as disco's revenge." while poetic and celebratory, this account relies on "resurrection" terminology within house discourse that does not problematize pop cultural nostalgia as selective reminiscence, ignoring the cartographic memories and placemaking practices of Black house kids. like disco demolition, declaring beyoncé as a savior reproduces a narrative of death onto house by insinuating it needs resuscitation...again. this approach disregards the Black house kids who birthed house long before disco demolition who will continue living it well after renaissance. in this talk, i trouble pop cultural nostalgia and "resurrection" terminology in house discourse by centering the racial, sociospatial, and temporal dimensions of cultural memory for the Black house kids through what i term "house geographies." i center Black auditory placemaking and Black acoustemologies—how Black people understand each other through their racialized positioning and sonic ways of knowing—and offer new insights into the generational livingness of house and Black house kids who never stopped sweatin'.


Black sonic citations of house
jakki, "sun, sun, sun (3:15-5:37)" on walter gibbons: jungle music - mixed with love: essential &

unreleased remixes 1976-1986. strut, 2010.
ron trent, "altered states (13:38)" on the afterlife (the afterlife/making love/altered states).

warehouse records, 1990.

1. part of graham-jackson's methodological practice is writing in lowercase with the exception of the letter B in Black. this is intentional and pays homage to bell hooks, but more importantly, places emphasis on Black | Blackness and the longstanding work that it does to make new lifeworlds, landguages, music, sound, culture, knowledge, and possibilities.