Blues was not “slave music [since] . . . Blues musicians, roaming from town to town with guitar[s] . . . could not have existed prior to Emancipation because our people did not enjoy freedom of movement during slavery” (ya Salaam, 1995, p. 30). Therefore, the Blues was a musical genre of people who were prepared for and headed toward liberation.
The Blues women were the sirens of freedom, only reachable after death, according to the spiritualists, whose music remained in the realm of religion. Blues music, labeled by religionists as Devil’s Music, “is a black cultural art form, blues is a ‘living archive,’ a form of ‘recollection’ that provides a ‘coded history of black injury,’ resulting from historically entrenched power relations.”
In 1999, a well-connected politician called me on the phone, early one morning, instructing me to write down a fax number, starting with area code 202 for Washington, D.C. I knew it was important.
She asked me if I had a company and an Employee Identification Number (EIN) or tax ID number. I said I did. She said, “Write a blues about the 2000 census. Fax it with an invoice for $2,499 on your letterhead to the number I gave you.
One hour later, I sent the CENSUS BLUES to the U.S. Census Bureau to the attention of the person connected to my politician friend. I got paid because I could compose music and I had a corporate EIN.
One of the first documents I give my Speech Communication students is a handout entitled HOW TO START A BUSINESS.
How to start a business
Choose Your Business Name, Inc. (or LLC) and decide if you will be: (30 minutes)
Product or Service (for profit) or Mission Statement (non-profit)
I was in business for two years before I got that call. My company was not making much money. If I got a check for singing, I put it in my business account. I paid the corporate tax and filed a tax return as a sole proprietor most years. My company grew because of the music I recorded and books I published. I got substantial orders from school principals for one or more of my books. In 2007, I incorporated my non-profit organization and became a lecturer, presenter, and producer of several programs. After releasing my two personal CDs in 1995 and 2005, I produced eight compilation CDs of music from members of http://wijsf.org
In 2019, we published the first issue of Musicwoman Magazine. In 2020, we published the second issue and the first issue of Musicman Magazine. In 2021, We published both magazines, individually, and a flip book of both magazines.
There is no doubt in my mind that having a business has been beneficial to me and our 380 members!
My response to Andromeda Turre who asked me what it means to be a woman in jazz.
Being a woman in jazz is the crux of my existence. 70 years ago, I sang Somebody Loves Me, onstage. The footlights mesmerized me. But the music captured my heart. In my later years, promoting women musicians, globally, is my mission for Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc. Visit us at www.wijsf.org
You work all your life to fulfill your purpose. You put in hours to learn your craft, instrument, or discipline. You grow older and retire from your profession, and you wonder, “Who really cares?”
Then, you meet a group of women who recognize your accomplishments. That makes it all worth it. The group of women who hold me in high esteem, and I them, is the National League of American Pen Women. I was inducted into the Boca Raton, Florida, branch by Sheila Firestone.
I am honored and humbled by the appreciation shown to me by these talented authors, artists, and musicians.
Then, in 2020, Charlene Farrington, Director of Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, chose to exhibit my collection of jazz artwork from September through February 2021. Ah, in the middle of a pandemic, there is a slice of light!
See some of the art and my story about the art collection at these links:
While whites in the jazz music industry got rich, black musicians did not reap equal benefits. The industry caused a great deal of exploitation and discrimination by whites against blacks. Rex Stewart said, “Where the control is, the money is. Do you see any of us running any record companies, booking agencies, radio stations, music magazines?” (Kofsky, 1998, p. 19).
The Jazz Journalists Association is pleased to announce the 2019 Jazz Heroes: Advocates, altruists, activists, aiders, and abettors of jazz who have had a significant impact in their local communities. The ‘Jazz Hero’ awards, made annually on the basis of nominations from community members, are presented by their local fans and friends in conjunction with the JJA’s annual Jazz Awards honoring significant achievements in jazz music and journalism. Please spread the word of Jazz Heroes you know as neighbors and admire, via your own social media posts. See all JJA Jazz Awards for 2019 Jazz Heroes
Dr. Joan Cartwright
2019 South Florida Jazz Hero
Dr. Joan Cartwright is a professor of Speech Communication at Southeastern College in West Palm Beach, Florida and in 2017 completed her Doctorate in Business Administration/ Marketing (DBA) at Northcentral University in Arizona, but it’s for her writing, composing, lecturing, producing, research and documentation concerning women composers (especially) in jazz and blues, and for her founding in 2007 of the non-profit Women In Jazz South Florida, Inc., that the Jazz Journalists Association hails her as 2019 South Florida Jazz Hero.
Dr. Cartwright is clearly a person of many parts and high energy. In the 12 years of its existence, WIJSF has released six compilation albums, comprising 63 songs from 45 women composers. Since 2008, she has hosted 300 episodes on MUSICWOMAN Radio, published four Catalogs of Women in Arts & Business and Musicwoman Magazine’s premier edition. She has published 14 books with her own FYI Communications, Inc. on lulu.com. She is an ASCAP-affiliated publisher and songwriter, a member of National League of American Pen Women, and through WIJSF maintains international relations with diverse peer groups. She blogs and has contributed to the South Florida Times, In Focus Magazine, Global Woman Magazine and Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora. She has an impressive array of academic accreditations and has been honored by several professional associations. But one senses that the devotion of her WIJSF members, and the continuous support of her daughter Mimi Johnson, with whom she owns MJTV Network (“Positive Influential Television”), is based on personal qualities that imbue her larger projects.
Among those is a goal to build the Musicwoman Archive to house the musical and literary works of women musicians and provide performance and educational center where women musicians can thrive. In educational workshops Dr. Cartwright presents, which highlight the pitfalls and benefits of the music business, she insists that “Knowing music theory is a step in the right direction for any singer who truly wants to excel in the world of music!” Yet her own breadth of endeavors — acting, singing, media creation, marketing, advertising, public speaking, and public relations skills as well as command of theory are arrows in her quiver — attests to the reach she models for all women, all artists, anyone whose ambitions extend to being creative, innovative, expressive, self-realized, in the moment while communing with others, sharing experience, telling truth, seeking beauty — in other words, living as a Jazz Hero. ~Howard Mandel