Whitman College

Audio Cassette, Video Cassette: Hammond B3 Musicianship and the Black Church

It occurs in the music. From attempting to figure out which R&B singer is gay to which rapper has queer relations, music is the place of unsettled sexualities. To ask why are the choir directors, and maybe musicians too, all gay is to ask what occurred such that music has become the place in black sociality in which blackqueerness is a question, is a problem, worth thinking about. In this lecture I present some of my ongoing research about the Hammond organ, black spiritual sociality and blackqueer possibility. I will discuss audio and video cassette technologies as capturing the possibility for blackqueerness and how the Hammond organ and its musicians are documented and lost through repetition.


Ashon Crawley is Associate Professor and Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He is author of Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility (2016, Fordham University Press), an investigation of aesthetics and performance as modes of collective social imagination, and The Lonely Letters (2020, Duke University Press), an exploration of the interrelation of blackness, mysticism, quantum mechanics and love. He is currently working on a third book, tentatively titled “Made Instrument,” about the role of the Hammond Organ in the institutional and historic Black Church, in Black sacred practice and in Black social life more broadly. All his work is about otherwise possibility.

Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Virtual Event
Event Type



Faculty, Staff, Students, General Public, Alumni


Academic, Humanities & Arts, Religion, Academic Theme






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