Spotlighting the Women Credited with Inventing Popular Music

NPR’s “Turning the Tables” series works to flip the script of various industries’ histories. One edition celebrates the women that invented the genre of American popular music: Bessie, Maybelle, Billie, Marian, Ella, Mary Lou, Celia and Rosetta. “The goal is to free the music of women and others who don’t fit the dominant straight-white-male paradigm from special categories, and put it at the center, where major conversations about culture cohere,” Ann Powers of NPR writes. Though the women on this list aren’t all included in halls of fame (where only 8% of honorees are women) or captured in high-budget biopics, they are nonetheless influential. In fact, Powers says women “have historically thrived in musical encounters and historical moments when everything felt fluid, less like it’s all on a sport scoreboard,” and thus, their contributions are less explicitly rewarded. Read more at NPR.