Maya Smith

Scholar in Romance Languages and Linguistics, United States

Maya Angela Smith is an Associate Professor of Francophone Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle with a PhD in Romance Languages and Linguistics from UC Berkeley. Her scholarship broadly focuses on the intersection of race, language, and mobility among marginalized groups in the African diaspora, particularly in the postcolonial francophone world, seen most notably in her academic monograph Senegal Abroad: Linguistic Borders, Racial Formations, and Diasporic Imaginaries (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019). Her recent focus on public scholarship allows her to bring her expertise to a more general audience interested in cultural and social aspects of the entertainment industry.

Alvenia Bridge, 2019 © Maya Smith

Reclaiming Venus: The Many Lives of Alvenia Bridges

Through tenacity, perseverance, and serendipity, Alvenia Bridges became a behind-the-scenes juggernaut of the music industry particularly through long-term working relationships with the Rolling Stones and Bill Graham. This project reclaims a space for her narrative not only by widening the history of Rock N’ Roll, but by telling of everyday heroism amidst systematic erasure of black women’s voices. Thus, this public scholarship project addresses how the denial of black women’s invisible labor has skewed the public’s understanding of their many contributions in various cultural spheres.

  • Learn more on Alvenia Bridges here