"'Diva' is an honorific often applied derisively to modern women pop stars. Sometimes, that title is taken on as an empowered self-identification." ~ 10%
Before I delve into this book review, please take a look at this beautiful eye-catching cover! Such a vibrant orange with flowers surrounding a gold album. It shines bright as the title.
Shine Bright is a blend of biography and music history with Black women as the foundation. There is a short list of people qualified to write such a book; Danyel Smith is the best author for it. She has written pieces of this history for years through essays, as an editor for Vibe magazine and as a music critic. Now she dives all in with this intimate narrative along with her own memories.
The story of Black women in pop begins with an 8-year-old among a slave ship in July 1761. She grew into a woman who sang her poems by the name of Phillis Wheatley. The author feels a personal connection with this Black woman genius and dreams of her often. The stories continue featuring the Drinkard family, Gladys Knight, Peaches, Deniece Williams, Mariah Carey and more.
"To scream at a show, to get drunk on bass vibrations, to sing memorized lyrics loudly in unison with people you don't even know?" ~ 38%
Reading Shine Bright was an experience. It was like sitting down with Danyel Smith in front of a retro record player as she put on different albums and told stories. There's just some music that puts you in a certain headspace. There are songs that hold memories. But the history behind the music are the real gems in this book. Danyel Smith shares those moments with readers and gave damn good arguments on why her favorites are her favorites.
The appreciation for Black women in pop leaps off the pages. It goes without expressly saying that I recommend Shine Bright. Place your pre-order. Reserve at the library. Secure your copy! Share the fact that Black women created meaningful music.
Now excuse me while I go create a playlist on Tidal—if Elliot Wilson hasn't already—and continue the praise of Black women musical masters.
Happy Early Pub Day, Danyel Smith! Shine Bright will be available Tuesday, April 19.
Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.
Title: Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop
Author: Danyel Smith
Published: April 2022
Genre: Nonfiction Music
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤