After the release of Where Did You Sleep Last Night in 2009, Danzy Senna did an interview with SmithMag on her memoir. Below is an excerpt from the interview on how she chose the name for her memoir.
When did you first hear the folk song “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” Why did you choose it for your title?
Many years ago I heard the haunted Leadbelly song, “Where Did You Sleep Last Night (Black Girl)?” I had just begun working on my book—which I think of in some ways as a history book passing as a memoir—and the song reminded me of my grandmother. She was in many ways the catalyst for this book. She was a secretive and brilliant black woman who had all these children children by an unknown father or fathers—and the lonely quality to the song really made me think of her. Plus, she was a musician from the south who could play any kind of music—and I wanted to pay homage to the southern black music tradition that she grew out of.
Learn more about Senna and her memoir in this interview!