sounding like a no-no

Francesca Royster’s ‘Sounding Like a No-No’ Receives Honorable Mention

by Phillip Witteveen December 18, 2014

Every year, the Modern Language Association awards the William Sanders Scarborough Prize to the most outstanding contribution in studies of black literature or culture. The Press is proud to announce our own honorable mention, Francesca Royster’s Sounding Like a No-No. Royster’s work places us in an era she calls “Post Soul”, and examines the eccentricities of its performance art and music. It asks us to consider the concepts of “embodied sound”, the distinctions between imaginative and corporeal freedom, and this irreducible sense of being in a world after slavery. Congratulations to Professor Royster! You can read more about the William Sanders Scarborough […]

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Francesca Royster talks ‘Sounding Like a No-No’ on Left of Black

by Phillip Witteveen April 29, 2013

Author Francesca Royster appeared on Mark Anthony Neal’s Left of Black  to discuss her recent book  Sounding Like a No-No: Queer Sounds and Eccentric Acts in the Post-Soul Era. On the book’s title, which is taken from Grace Jones’ “Walking in the Rain,” Royster said, “‘sounding like a no-no’ was such a great line, because you just got this sense of taboo.”  This sense of taboo is central to the greater cultural investigation on black queerness the book is a part of, Royster said. Royster uses the word “queer” in a broader sense, to open up the conversation about eccentricity. “Eccentric […]

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Francesca Royster: Music, Identity and Soul

by Phillip Witteveen March 4, 2013

Francesca Royster, author of Sounding Like a No-No: Queer Sounds and Eccentric Acts in the Post-Soul Era, was a featured guest on WBEZ Chicago’s ongoing series for Black History Month. She, along with Richard Steele, discussed the era of soul music, a “coming of age through music.” “Music has always been a space to open up imagination and imagine new identities. But it’s also a kind of snap shot of a cultural movement, that moment after the civil rights movement, and the generation after that — where ideas about blackness and sexuality opened up,” Royster said during her appearance on […]

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Francesca Royster reflects on Obama as a father in Huffington Post

by Shaun Manning January 24, 2013

Writing for the Huffington Post, Sounding Like a No-No author Francesca Royster builds from President Obama’s speech from his second inauguration to examine his role as a prominent African-American father and what Obama’s perspective as a parent does–and could–bring to his policy agenda. “Given the history of images of black fathers in the country, President Obama reveals that we are still in the midst of a moment of extraordinary change in terms of race,” Royster said. “But we are still not post-racial as a society, despite claims to the contrary. President Obama shows us that that positive images of black fatherhood […]

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Francesca Royster talks Michael Jackson and gender fluidity

by Shaun Manning January 17, 2013

Francesca Royster, author of the brand-new Press title Sounding Like a No-No: Queer Sounds and Eccentric Acts in the Post-Soul Era, recently penned a thoughtful essay on Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga and their influence on gender-nonconforming teens and adults. Writing in the Windy City Times, a free LGBT newspaper in Chicago, Royster wrote, In the video for “Bad,” Jackson becomes a gender-bending leader of the b-boys in eyeliner and long flowing locks. (Jheri curls would never be the same.) His moves—whether poppin’ and lockin’ or jazz-inspired, are precise and ballet-graceful. His howl, something like Peter Pan’s after a night […]

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