Gaye Adegbalola and her backup group, The Wild Rutz, will headline the 9th Annual Gay in Appalachia event on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. in downtown Blacksburg's Lyric Theatre. The event is free and open to both campus and community.

Blues songs are usually about that which gives you trouble. So it is that Adegbalola and The Wild Rutz will address multiple "isms" in the social justice arena in song." Adegbalola, composer and lyricist, as well as guitarist, harmonica player, and singer, is adept at building a solid rapport with the audience as she guides them through queer, black, and civil rights issues.

A Blues Music Award winner, Adegbalola has performed internationally and was a founding member of Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women. She has recorded 15 CDs, including the 2008 release entitled “Gaye Without Shame,” which earned a Blues Music Award nomination.

Blues Revue magazine touted Gaye Without Shame with the following description: "Message albums aimed at a particular community sometimes alienate the rest of the audience, but Adegbalola manages to be warm and inclusive. Perhaps that's because there's a universal lesson to be drawn from her work: the commonality of all forms of prejudice."

The Sacramento Blues Society also applauds Adegbalola:  “A gifted writer, vocalist, and performer, her lyrics speak of the human condition with as much eloquence (earthy street talk, of course, qualifying) as one could want. She tells it like it is. Adegbalola is one of the most electrifying blues performers around.”

An educator in the Fredericksburg City Public School system for 18 years, Adegbalola was honored as the Virginia State Teacher of the Year in 1982.  She continues to thrive as a speaker and will lecture on “Gay Rights vs. Civil Rights” in a Virginia Tech sociology class. She will also address interested students and community members on this topic at noon on Nov. 7, over a pizza lunch in the Black Cultural Center in Squires.

In the music she composes, Adegbalola provides a voice for those who have been marginalized by society. A long-time activist, Adegbalola was named an OUTstanding Virginian by Equality Virginia in 2011 and she is committed to the struggle for GLBT rights.

Gay in Appalachia has showcased filmmakers, theatre readings, and best-selling authors, with discussions centered on themes of religion, resiliency, and election-year politics. “Over the last nine years, the Gay in Appalachia series has focused on building an  inclusive community by exploring various issues through the arts," said Jean Elliott, communications director for the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and a 2012 OUTstanding Virginian.

Presented by the LGBT Caucus of Virginia Tech, the Gay in Appalachia celebration has sponsors from across the university including the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Diversity CommitteeCenter for the Arts, Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Vice President for Student Affairs, Dean of Students Advocacy Team, Multicultural Programs and Services, Graduate School, the Women’s Center, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the LGBTA. This event has also received funding from the Women and Minority Artists and Scholars Lecture Series grant and is co-sponsored by the Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Endowed Lecture Fund.



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