Elliott H. Powell

Elliott H. Powell

What Time Is It? Core 4 Roundtable Panelist

Vanity 6 Presentation Panel Presenter

Drive Z Wild

Vanity 6 and Gen Z

Although they only released one album, Vanity 6’s influence is still felt today, as artists like Beyoncé continue to incorporate the work of Vanity 6 into their performances. This presentation considers the generational impact of Vanity 6 by examining Gen Z’s assessments of Vanity 6’s self-titled album. In particular, we will explore the perspectives from enrolled students in the University of Minnesota’s “Prince, Porn, and Public Space” course. The class thinks through the intersections of music and sex culture in Minneapolis during the 1980s, and so the students’ responses—and this presentation—will pay particular attention to the place and power of race, gender, and sexuality on Vanity 6. In all, this presentation will highlight how students make meaning of Vanity 6, and how they find resonance with this groundbreaking all-women’s band and their 1982 debut.

Elliott H. Powell, Ph.D., is the Beverly and Richard Fink Professor in Liberal Arts and Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Sounds from the Other Side: Afro-South Asian Collaborations in Black Popular Music, which received the Woody Guthrie Book Award from the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, as well as the Philip Brett Book Award from the American Musicological Society. He’s currently at work on a new book titled Prince, Porn, and Public Space, which examines the intertwined worlds of music and sex in Minneapolis during the 1980s.

Sounds from the Other Side: Afro–South Asian Collaborations in Black Popular Music
University of Minnesota Faculty Profile