In Ann-Marie MacDonald's novel Fall On Your Knees, women improvisers (including a fictitious character based on Bessie Smith) use their music to transcend both conventional musical practices and gender roles. In Sidall's reading of MacDonald's book, Smith is a viable role model in life as much in fiction, since she "signif[ies] that kind of freedom to imagine, and even create, new communities."
I Wanted to Live in That Music: Blues, Bessie Smith, and Improvised Identities in Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees
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African-American identity, African-American women, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Bessie Smith, blues, blues history, costume, cross-dressing, drag, dress, gender, improvisation, Jesse Hogan, literature, masculinity, politics, racism, singers, vocalists, women