Martin Lüthe

Color-Line and Crossing-Over


Motown and Performances of Blackness in 1960s American Culture

Rezension "Color-Line and Crossing-Over": Anglistik - International Journal of English Studies 24.1 (March 2013), pp. 211-213.

The Supremes, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and other Motown artists recorded the soundtrack of the Sixties and reached an unprecedented commercial success in the decade. This success has often been perceived as the result of a whitening of black musical forms. In this study Luethe analyzes the complexities of Motown artists’ performances during the 1960s especially with regard to the staging of black physicality. Motown not only created the “sound of young America” but also provided the American middle class with a language, signs, and symbols related to the performances of black physicality. These performances simultaneously spoke to the notion and desires of white consumption of blackness as well as the cultural aspirations of emerging black middle classes. Luethe demonstrates how the musical performances by Motown artists also functioned as performances of the black body that thereby condensed the social and political realities of this period in the realm of popular culture.


ISBN 978-3-86821-263-1, 230 S., kt., € 27,50 (2011)


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