Skip to main content

In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day this past Monday, we wanted to revisit some of our favorite DWW installments highlighting women this year. Do you know a BIPOC woman musician we should highlight in the future? Let us know at!

LaToya Lain
Dr. LaToya Lain, soprano

COVID x Social Justice recordings

Assistant Professor LaToya Lain recently participated in the songSLAM Festival with Sparks and Wiry Cries in New York City. In this special interview for “Do the Work Wednesdays” she discusses what it was like to record a newly commissioned piece for the festival, and what this work means in 2021 amidst a pandemic and surge of social justice action. … Continue reading DWW 19


October 1973 photo of Martha Flowers from Black Ink newspaper. Caption reads, "'Bess' during a recent concert in Hill Hall. A three-minute standing ovation concluded her performance.
Martha Flowers, 1973. Black Ink: Black Student Movement, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Martha Flowers: A Black Music Faculty Trailblazer


by Professors Marc Callahan, David Garcia, and LaToya Lain

Upon listening to Martha Flower’s 1973 performance of Francis Poulenc’s Miroirs brûlants, recently uncovered in the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Music archive collection, one can only imagine that this very text by Éluard was describing the performer herself. From the moment the illustrious soprano spins a perfectly crafted chiaroscuro tone on the opening text Tu vois le feu du soir, the listener hears what Maya Angelou once described as a voice like “hot silver melted.” All at once, the singing embodies an icy metal like that of mercurized glass yet containing molten passion, glowing from its confines. As the ethereal sound washes over the listener, everything seems to disappear. They find themselves alone—transported—mesmerized by the youthful voice of Ms. Flowers from a half century ago. … Continue Reading DWW 14


Mona Haydar with praying hands at her mouth. Barbarican written over her head. Pink and white background.Haydar on the Radar: Resisting Orientalism and Global Patriarchy


by Sophia Rekeibe, ’21 |

Raised in Flint, Michigan, Mona Haydar is a Syrian-American Muslim who defines herself as a rapper, poet, activist, practitioner of Permaculture, meditator, composting devotee, mountain girl, solar power lover and a tireless God-enthusiast (Haydar 2015). She started her rap career in 2017 with her ground breaking single “Hijabi (Wrap my Hijab),” which quickly gained millions of views and Billboard recognition as one of 2017’s top protest songs and later named top 25 feminist anthems of all time. In 2018 Haydar released her EP entitled Barbarican and continues to release music while actively participating in social justice. This summer, under the guidance of Dr. Michael Figueroa, I was able to explore Haydar’s music as an intervention to global patriarchy and contemporary Orientalism by analyzing three of her songs – “Barbarian,” “American,” and “Hijabi (Wrap My Hijab)”. … Continue Reading DWW 12


Elena Urioste
Elena Urioste (Photo by Daniel Cavavos)

Violinists Melissa White and Elena Urioste

September 30, 2020
by Associate Professor Nicholas DiEugenio

The Sphinx Organization, founded in 1997 by Aaron Dworkin, is a social justice organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. Violinists Elena Urioste and Melissa White, both first-place laureates of the Sphinx Competition, are living examples of artists who are transforming the lives of others through their music and their visionary projects, such as INTERMISSION. Co-founded by Melissa and Elena in 2017, INTERMISSION is a program that unites body, mind, breath, and music-making through yoga and meditation. Offering retreats for professionals, sessions for students, and an app for all, INTERMISSION seeks to reach musicians of various stages, levels, and life experiences. … Continue reading DWW 8


Sweet Honey in the Rock performing on stage.Sweet Honey in the Rock

August 19, 2020
by Kendall Winter, Third-Year Musicology Graduate Student

It’s been said many ways that communal singing brings people together in music, in mind, and in action. And I can think of no artist who has worked longer or harder to take anti-racist action through singing than Sweet Honey In The Rock. … Continue reading DWW 2

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.