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American Diva

Unabridged   7.5 hour(s)
Publication date: 08/06/2024

F O R T H C O M I N G ! Available August

American Diva

Extraordinary, Unruly, Fabulous

Available from major retailers
Digital Download ISBN:9781696615815


An impassioned homage to the divas who shake up our world and transform it with their bold, dazzling artistry.

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Product Description

What does it mean to be a "diva"? A shifting, increasingly loaded term, it has been used to both deride and celebrate charismatic and unapologetically fierce performers like Aretha Franklin, Divine, and the women of Labelle. In this brilliant, powerful blend of incisive criticism and electric memoir, Deborah Paredez—scholar, cultural critic, and lifelong diva devotee—unravels our enduring fascination with these icons and explores how divas have challenged American ideas about feminism, performance, and freedom.

American Diva journeys into Tina Turner's scintillating performances, Celia Cruz's command of the male-dominated salsa world, the transcendent revival of Jomama Jones after a period of exile, and the unparalleled excellence of Venus and Serena Williams. Recounting how she and her mother endlessly watched Rita Moreno's powerhouse portrayal of Anita in West Side Story and how she learned much about being bigger than life from her fabulous Tía Lucia, Paredez chronicles the celebrated and skilled performers who not only shaped her life but boldly expressed the aspiration for freedom among brown, Black, and gay communities. Paredez also traces the evolution of the diva through the decades.

Filled with sharp insights and great heart, American Diva is a spirited tribute to the power of performance and the joys of fandom.

Author Bio

Deborah Paredez is the chair of the Writing Program at Columbia University. The author of Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory and two poetry collections, she lives in New York.