"Rhythm, Roots & Research" - Part I
upcoming & remarkable - a special series by upcoming talents
Who am I?
Hi there ladies, my name is Maxime. I am 24 years old, I live in Amsterdam and I am a researcher of black musical feminism. During the launch of this special series on www.thecreativewomencollective.com, I hope to open your eyes with regard to gender (in)equality, and inspire you.
“Do it with passion, or not at all”, is my life motto. This motto seaps into everything I do; my relationships, my daily life and also my studies.
Throughout my studies – which started at the University of Groningen at the Faculty of Arts and recently ended at the University of Amsterdam at the Faculty of Humanities – I have been incredibly fascinated by the concepts of gender, race and performing arts. Most of all I have been intrigued by how the three always seem to interconnect in our modern-day society, one way or another.
Looking back, there’s been a red thread through all of my university assignments. All of my assignments have been connected to these themes in some shape or form.
I can recall a group project in the first year of my bachelor which was a part of the course “Politics & Society”. During the project I regularly referred to Simone de Beauvoir’s Le Deuxième Sexe and Beyoncé Knowles’ empowering song “Run the World (Girls)” to explain the theory.
Music. Gender. Race. These three topics have always unconsciously interested me. When search for a topic for my master thesis, I felt a pull to write about the themes that I was naturally drawn to, and chose the topics consciously.
While I was brainstorming about a research question with professors and students in my class, I came across an exhibition in the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, called “Rhythm & Roots” (2017). Once I visited the exhibition all of the pieces of the puzzle fell together. My thesis had to be focused on analyzing the contemporary issues the double marginalized group of black women experience in today’s society. All by means of analyzing an accessible platform: modern-day pop music.
I was raised by a beautiful black mother and a loving white father, and grew up listening to black soul and jazz music. Because of my culturally rich background, the topic of my thesis somehow chose me, and not the other way around.
For my research, I dove into the lives and musical oeuvres of female singer/songwriters Giovanca Ostiana and Solange Knowles, and discovered three types of identities hidden in their music. The revolutionary identity, the sexualized identity and the submissive attitude.
In the upcoming weeks, I will break my research down in a series of thematically categorized blogs, every Wednesday www.thecreativewomencollective.com.