Rosetta Tharpe was gospel music's first national star, one of its earliest recording artists, and its pre-eminent crossover figure of the 1940s, the decade of gospel's emergence as "popular" music. Such popularization of gospel held special significance for Tharpe as an African American female musician who negotiated the different modes of femininity available to her as, alternately, a popular or gospel entertainer. Although Tharpe earned scorn in some quarters for making music that confused the sacred/secular division, she took pleasure in, and found agency through, a constant shuttling between spheres.