Imagine On Air presents Danyel Smith

@ - MT
@ - MT

Imagine On Air’s Big Generous Brain presents groundbreaking magazine editor and journalist Danyel Smith and her new book, Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women In Pop. This special one-hour conversation on will be hosted by Wordfest's Creative Ringleader Shelley Youngblut. (The pre-show will begin at 6:50 PM MT.) It's free – and if you RSVP we'll send you a reminder on the afternoon of the show, as well as our unique Digital Doggie Bag recap with a watch-on-demand link and bonus extras sparked by the conversation.

We are grateful to Penguin Random House Canada for making it possible for us to connect you with one of the world's most wide-ranging thinkers.

Shine Bright Cover

About Danyel Smith

Danyel Smith is a former editor at large for Time Inc. and the former editor in chief of Vibe. She has also written for the Village VoiceRolling Stone, Spin, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and the New York Times. Smith is on the part-time faculty at the New School University and wrote the introduction for the New York Times’ bestseller Tupac Shakur. She lives in Brooklyn but was born and raised in California. Visit her at or on twitter @danamo.

About Shine Bright

Danyel Smith, an icon of arts journalism, turns her literary powers to the under-recognized pillars of American music, the Black women whose trials, triumphs, and heartbreaks have given soul-deep voice to our own. Rarely has a narrator been so perfectly matched to her subject. A lyrical, long-overdue feat of personal memory, cultural history, synthesis and love.” –Isabel Wilkerson, author of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents and The Warmth of Other Suns

A weave of biography, criticism, and memoir, Shine Bright is Danyel Smith’s intimate history of Black women’s music as the foundational story of American pop. Smith has been writing this history for more than five years. But as a music fan, and then as an essayist, editor (Vibe, Billboard), and podcast host (Black Girl Songbook), she has been living this history since she was a latchkey kid listening to “Midnight Train to Georgia” on the family stereo. 

Smith’s detailed narrative begins with Phillis Wheatley, an enslaved woman who sang her poems, and continues through the stories of Mahalia Jackson, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, and Mariah Carey, as well as the under-considered careers of Marilyn McCoo, Deniece Williams, and Jody Watley. 

Shine Bright is an overdue paean to musical masters whose true stories and genius have been hidden in plain sight – and the book Danyel Smith was born to write.

About Host Shelley Youngblut

Shelley Youngblut is the CEO & Creative Ringleader of Wordfest. She was the recipient of the 2020 Calgary Award for Community Achievement in the Arts and the 2018 Rozsa Award for Arts Leadership. She also won the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Western Magazine Awards. Youngblut was the founding editor of Calgary’s award-winning Swerve magazine and has created magazines for ESPN, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Nickelodeon, Western Living, and The Globe and Mail. A former pop-culture correspondent for ABC World News Now and Canada Am, she is now often unconventionally opinionated on CBC Calgary’s Eyeopener.

Follow her on Twitter @youngblut and Instagram @youngblutshelley.


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