The media‐driven evolution of the African American hard gospel style as a rhetorical response to hard times

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Abstract

The Fairfield Four, a pioneering African American a capella gospel group, achieved national fame in the 1940s and 1950s through live performances, radio broadcasts, and recordings. Their approach to gospel singing influenced both gospel and secular performers at the time. In the 90s, they earned new fame and a Grammy nomination for a recording on the Warner Brothers label. Using historical documentation, original recordings, and interviews, this paper explores how the Fairfield Four used the media and rhetorical stage strategies to promote not only a gospel message, but themselves as a viable performance entity. Discussion includes consideration of early and later media impact, message content, performance strategies, nature of influence, and general group history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-203
Number of pages19
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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