The Musical Activism of Sweet Honey in the Rock

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dr. Larry Arnold, Professor (Creator)
Dr. Frankie Denise Powell, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site:

Abstract: Sweet Honey in The Rock is an African-American women’s a capella group that is almost 50 years old. While the ensemble has a repertoire that includes Negro spirituals, blues, and gospel songs, it also addresses international social issues, women’s oppression, social justice (domestic and abroad), and environmental justice. Early on, the group contributed their 5- and 6-part harmony to the American civil rights movement. Since then, their continually evolving membership has become an institution of harmonic social activism to diverse audiences in major and mid-sized cities of the US and around the world.This presentation describes and discusses contributions of Sweet Honey in the Rock to (1) historical social activism, (2) the legacy of (women’s) a capella, and (3) the timelessness of their discography as applied to current social justice issues. Participants are challenged to discover the intersectionality of the music with their respective academic disciplines and interests.

Additional Information

The First Annual Darkwater Women in Music Festival
Language: English
Date: 2019
Music, Gospel Music, A Capella Groups, Negro Spirituals, Social Issues, Women’s Oppression, Social Justice, Environmental Justice, American Civil Rights Movement, Historical Social Activism, African-American Women
African Americans – Music
Spirituals – Songs
Folk Songs -- Africa

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