6 Scholarly Source for Sissieretta Jones AKA “Black Patti”

         Annotated Bibliography

  1. Bailey, Brooke. “Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones ( Sissieretta Jones) 1869-1933.” Essay. In The Remarkable Lives of 100 Women Artists. Holbrook, MA: Bob Adams, 1994.

This source is also a bit older as it’s from the 90s. You can tell the author might be white, it felt to me like they didn’t emphasize or even really recognize how great Ms. Jone’s talent was. Bailey spoke more clearly about her adolescence. She was married off to an older man at 14 who had a bad gambling habit. This source summarizes her foray into performance and also touches on how she was pressured by the white audience to do more ” ethnic” material, AKA Folk and “Coon” songs.

  1. Bolden, Tonya. Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls. New York, NY: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017.

Ms.Bolden provided more specific information about the beginning of Ms. Jone’s life. It can be hard to pinpoint the exact birthdate sometimes so this was helpful. This source very thoroughly touches on the exact tour date, and when and whom she performed for. It also provides a reference for how much money she was making in comparison to the average Black person at the time. However, it didn’t really talk about any fetishization or racism she faced while touring abroad in Europe.

  1. Farel, Elena Arredondo. “African American Opera Singers, 1850-1950: Ambition, Uplift, and Performance,” 2022.

This source compares and gives context about Black Opera singers during the late 19th and 20th centuries. This Thesis focuses heavily on the creation of Ms. James’s brand as a Black superstar. It analyzer her promotional photos, costumes, and overall attitude toward the public. Arrendondo also makes sure to recognize Ms.Jone’s predecessors and contemporaries such as Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield and Pauline Hopkins. However, our author does this while recognizing the legacy behind Ms. James and the irrefutable impact she had. Arrendondo explores the socio-political reasoning behind her choices and brand as an entertainer.

  1. Moriah, Kristin. “Dark Stars of the Evening: Performing African American Identity and Citizenship in Germany, 1890-1920,” 2017.

Ms. Moriah specifically focuses on Ms. Jone’s time and performances in Berlin, Germany. This source provides a critical lens on both the limitations and advantages of Black performers touring Europe. Ms.Moriah also brings the project historical context for the creative climate of Black Female Performers at the beginning of Vaudeville. Black women in the entertainment industry needed to conceptualize creative and unique performances as they weren’t allowed on the vaudeville stage at first. In order to reach the mainstream, white audience Black women had to stand out. This source also examines how Ms.Jones celebrated and appreciated her Beauty ad Black feminity during the Victorian Era, which positioned white womanhood as the goal of all women.

  1. Moriah, Kristin. “On the Record: Sissieretta Jones and Black Feminist Recording Praxes.” Performance Matters 6, no. 2 (2021): 26–42. https://doi.org/10.7202/1075797ar.

Ms. Moriah heavily dissects the contents of Ms.Jone’s personal scrapbook detailing her career and experiences. This source is the closest thing we have to an autobiography, as she didn’t keep a diary. Another facet of Ms. Jones’s public perception was the colorism she faced in her skin tone. Ms. Jones was a dark skin Black woman, which full lips and a broad nose. As a dark skin Black woman, she astounded German audiences who couldn’t conceive her as an artist in her own right. To liken her to whiteness, several descriptions of her time in Germany, make her out to be a mulatto genteel, and meek woman. German audiences were also surprised to hear her remix popular songs recently sung by her white counterpart, Adelina Patti. Not only did she remix these traditionally white songs but she also put the soul of the black voice into her work, playing the role of ” Black Patti”.

  1. Reznik, Alexandra. “Staging Intersectionality: Power and Performance in American Cultural Texts, 1855-2019,” 2019.

Reznik, our author provided a source that investigated the intersectionality of Black performance in the U.S. This thesis is included as well because of a quote that included how Ms. Jones felt about her nickname comparing her to Adelina Patti. Reznik dissects the ways in which Ms.Jones had to both play into and subvert the stereotypes that were popular due to minstrelsy, Vaudeville and “Coon” songs.

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