Term of Award

Spring 2024

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Sabrina Ross

Committee Member 1

Delores Liston

Committee Member 2

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 3

Robert Helfenbein

Committee Member 3 Email




Country music has long overlooked and at times outright erased the contributions of people of African descent. The past and present contributions of Black women are particularly ignored. Country music— a racially contested space centered in Nashville, Tennessee— is imbued with themes referencing the “good ole days” that were dangerous times for anyone who was not White, male, cisgender, and heterosexual. The genre has only become slightly more welcoming to those who are not part of the dominant class. And yet, there are Black women who feel called to use country music as their storytelling medium. My research shows that Black women in country music are fertile ground for qualitative research (Esposito & Evans-Winters, 2022). I analyze selected lyrics from songs co-written and performed by Mickey Guyton, Brittney Spencer, Miko Marks, Rissi Palmer, Reyna Roberts, and O. N. E The Duo using three categories I chose based on my cultural intuition and lenses (Anzaldúa, 1987): Unsilencing Voices to Find Social Justice, Defiance Through Resisting the Dominant Narrative, and Black Joy. I analyze these same songs through the lenses of Black Feminist Theory (Barbara Smith et al., 1995; Ross, 2015), intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1989), and critical geography (McKittrick, 2006, 2021; Helfenbein, 2009). I show how these twelve songs use the methodology of storytelling as a means of centering the Black female experience to (re)claim space in country music (Kinloch, Penn, & Burkhard, 2020).

INDEX WORDS: Black women, Country music, Black Feminist Theory, Double jeopardy, Multiple jeopardy, Intersectionality, Critical geography, Storytelling, Browning the curriculum, Endarkening the curriculum, Hidden curriculum, Outside curriculum, Autobiographical text, Biographical text, Gendered text, Sexualized text, Racial text, Political text

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material