Join the Blockson Collection for a panel discussion and performance diving into the legacy and wide-ranging influence of the pioneering gospel artist and “Godmother of Rock & Roll," Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
Rosetta Nubin, better known as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, was a native of Cotton Plant, Arkansas. Despite being a gospel devotee, she was one of the primary architects of rock and roll. Tharpe’s unique, mezzo-soprano voice and her folksy gospel arrangements coupled with her pulsating swing electric guitar playing was a precursor of rock. Noted superstars Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Johnny Cash all cited Tharpe as one of their primary influences.
This program will be moderated by Dyana Williams, governor of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Recording Academy. The featured performer is Treena Ferebee, and panelists include Louis Massiah, Rev. Joseph Williams, Jr., and Dana Sorey.
"She helped shape modern popular music, was one of the few black female guitarists to ever find commercial success and the first artist to blend gospel with the secular. She inspired legends such as Jonny Cash and Little Richard, yet sadly, she seldom receives the recognition she so richly deserves in musical history."—The Heroine Collective
This program is presented in partnership with the Charles L. Blockson Collection of African-Americana and the African Diaspora at Penn State Special Collections Library.