Listen, Rock, Resist

Event date

Music—its creation and consumption—has been central to resistance movements, providing the soundtrack and aural archive of social change processes. Recent shifts in the music industry and movement tactics have affected the way musicians express resistance politics, requiring us to develop new listening techniques to rock and resist. This event brings together an artist (Mobley) and a scholar (Dr. Fredara Hadley) to think about how to listen and rock between the lyrics, how to find the resistance blue note, and how to trouble our assumptions about the music, sounds, and narratives we hear every day.

Fredara Hadley:

Fredara Mareva Hadley is a Black Southern woman who currently lives in New York City who is fully committed to the idea of Black Joy as a way of life and as a means of resistance. It is her intent that all of her work carries a thread of Black Joy through it. Currently, she is a Visiting Professor of Musicology at Oberlin College and Conservatory, where she teaches courses on African American music and music entrepreneurship. In 2012, she founded a company called Jooksi, which hosts a weekly music podcast and provides walking tours as a way to introduce visitors to the living history of Black music in New York city.

Lately, she’s been spotted in Essence Magazine,, the Showtime documentary, Killing Me Softly: The Story of Roberta Flack, and the upcoming 8-part PBS documentary, Soundbreaking.


Cutting vocals in the woods behind his college dorm. Mixing in the backseat of a sedan. Sneaking into the music department after hours to teach himself to play new instruments (and sneaking out before the faculty arrived in the morning). From the start, Mobley's work has been marked by solitude, ingenuity, and a drive that could only be called obsessive.

Over the last few years, he's composed dozens of pieces for stage and television (with placements on HBO, Fox, and NBC), played 200+ national tour dates (with the likes of Phantogram, JUNGLE, Mutemath, Robert Delong, & Wavves and at festivals like SXSW, CMJ, Savannah Stopover and Float Fest), and recorded (then scrapped) two whole albums in pursuit of the songs that would become his forthcoming full-length debut, Fresh Lies. Mobley wrote, produced, and played every instrument on the album. The music -- which Mobley calls "post-genre pop" -- defies easy classification, drawing liberally (often simultaneously) from an array of musical traditions. He's equally at home on a playlist next to The Weeknd and TV on the Radio alike, while his electronic, dub-dabbling production style calls to mind the intricate work of artists like James Blake and Thom Yorke.

    Event Sponsors: Africana Studies Program, Office of External