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Meet the Mother of Rock n' Roll, Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Publicity photo of American musician Sister Rosetta Tharpe posed with a guitar in 1938.

Who do we really have to thank for Rock n' Roll? Nope, not Elvis. Not Buddy Holly. Not even Alan Freed. That long overdue honor belongs to a queer black woman who shredded the guitar and bared her soul to break the color line and create a brand new sound. Meet Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Born to religious singers, Rosetta was surrounded by music growing up. She picked up a guitar at only 4 years old, and by 6 she was travelling alongside her mother for evangelical performances around the South. As she got older, she began merging Delta blues with New Orleans jazz and gospel music that would become her signature sound. A sound we've come to love and thrust our hips to. The sound of Rock n' Roll.




Though a gospel singer at heart, Rosetta broke new ground and gained fame by creating a unique mix of spiritual lyrics and electric guitar, using heavy distortion that would later become electric blues (that's two genres of music she helped create). By 1930 she was the world's first great gospel star, and by 1950 she was performing in sold out stadiums.



Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Up Above My Head on Gospel Time TV showwww.youtube.com


Rosetta broke the norm in every way. Her lyrics openly flirted with images of love and sexuality, leaving her gospel listeners speechless, yet loyal. In 1940, she began to collaborate, tour, and perform with her partner Marie Knight, a truly radical act. But with a voice rang with conviction, confidence, and charisma, she was able to transcend the times in unabashed authenticity.

In a white male dominated industry, Rosetta had to maintain her grit and remain fearless. She succeeded at both. In fact, to hear her tell the story, "can't no man play like me." This self assurance led to her influencing the likes of Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, and Elvis Presley, and many, many more. To quote Chuck Berry, another one of her creative descendants, "my whole career is one long Sister Rosetta Tharpe impersonation." All it takes is one listen to "The Lord Followed Me" to recognize Chuck's musical debt to her.


Sister Rosetta Tharpe - The Lord Followed Mewww.youtube.com


Although she helped forge a new path for music, Tharpe has been almost criminally overlooked. Her belated induction into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame didn't come until 2018, with a masterful celebratory performance by Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes.


2018 Induction Ceremony Sister Rosetta Tharpe Tribute "That's All"www.youtube.com


May we all start to celebrate this hymn swingin, guitar slinging trailblazer with unmatched stage presence and revolutionary artistic contribution.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

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This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

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This article originally appeared on 01.22.19


The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn't have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women's rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn't something we'd choose—and we'd hope others wouldn't choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

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