As numerous scholars have shown, Hurricane Katrina exacerbated the already-ongoing precarity of African American communities in New Orleans. The crisis demanded a reckoning with the afterlives of slavery at the national and global level. This article focuses on the work of Black women popular music artists whose early twenty-first century recordings and stirring performances addressed the traumas, the challenges, and the spectacular subjugation of Black women who fell victim to brutal disenfranchisement in the midst of the disaster. Beyonce’s B-Day album and Mary J. Blige’s history-making Katrina telethon performance are central to this discussion. The original title of this article was “‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’: Black Female Soul Singing and the Politics of Surrogation in the Age of Catastrophe.”

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