Although globalisation involves by definition the growth of the economic, social and cultural integration of different areas in the world, the question of inclusion and exclusion is still, and perhaps even more, worth asking. The slow crumbling of Nation-states, highlighted by the trends in world literatures and transculturality, has not yet solved the issue of how the states use their power of discipline, surveillance and control to regulate particular bodies in order to maintain the global hierarchy of states (Foucault). A compelling question, considering that most states are characterised by what Jafari S. Allen (2012) refers to as a "racialised and classed heteropatriarchy", is what happens to black queer bodies? In the context of Anglophone studies, this essay explores issues of 'home', belonging, community and self, with specific attention to the experience of contemporary black queer performance poets who live and work in the United Kingdom, and will do so from the vantage point of the diaspora, which is itself a kind of "way out" of the Nation-state. Through the performative poetry of Keith Jarrett (London based poet and short story writer of Dominican descent) and Dean Atta (poet of mixed Jamaican and Greek-Cypriot descent living in London), the essay concentrates on the importance of the performance – be it racial, sexual, involving videos, the written or spoken word – to undermine the stereotypes concerning the black and queer body, and the use of language as a creative tool to formulate other possible avenues for black queer existence and recognition. The two performance poets are linked by their attempt to create a 'home', a community, where 'black' and 'queer' do not need to be antithetical terms (as in the widespread discourse of 'blackness' and its essentialist take in most black communities), or where 'black' is not synonym with 'fetishised desire/fantasy' (as in most of the white gay subculture). A place where the queer black body can 'come home' and 'be home', as Keith Jarrett suggests in his "Meditations on Home" (2014), where he writes: "I have also grown to accept my body as a home, rather than a temple. Temples are sacred; you visit them once or twice a week [...]. Homes are where we store our memories and our secrets. We invite lovers [...]. Our homes gather wear and tear, and this gives us 'character'". Strong of the "private is political" feminist lesson, particularly of the so called Third World Feminism, these artists find their sites of resistance and self-making by rendering public what is private, by disorienting the audience and creating provocative performances with erotic, spectral and highly inter-textual references. Their performances, like their circulations inside and outside academic contexts, contribute to expand recognition of their (private) experiences and to legitimate their political expression.

Unhomely Lives: Black and Queer Belongings in Contemporary Black British Culture

Emilio Amideo
2017

Abstract

Although globalisation involves by definition the growth of the economic, social and cultural integration of different areas in the world, the question of inclusion and exclusion is still, and perhaps even more, worth asking. The slow crumbling of Nation-states, highlighted by the trends in world literatures and transculturality, has not yet solved the issue of how the states use their power of discipline, surveillance and control to regulate particular bodies in order to maintain the global hierarchy of states (Foucault). A compelling question, considering that most states are characterised by what Jafari S. Allen (2012) refers to as a "racialised and classed heteropatriarchy", is what happens to black queer bodies? In the context of Anglophone studies, this essay explores issues of 'home', belonging, community and self, with specific attention to the experience of contemporary black queer performance poets who live and work in the United Kingdom, and will do so from the vantage point of the diaspora, which is itself a kind of "way out" of the Nation-state. Through the performative poetry of Keith Jarrett (London based poet and short story writer of Dominican descent) and Dean Atta (poet of mixed Jamaican and Greek-Cypriot descent living in London), the essay concentrates on the importance of the performance – be it racial, sexual, involving videos, the written or spoken word – to undermine the stereotypes concerning the black and queer body, and the use of language as a creative tool to formulate other possible avenues for black queer existence and recognition. The two performance poets are linked by their attempt to create a 'home', a community, where 'black' and 'queer' do not need to be antithetical terms (as in the widespread discourse of 'blackness' and its essentialist take in most black communities), or where 'black' is not synonym with 'fetishised desire/fantasy' (as in most of the white gay subculture). A place where the queer black body can 'come home' and 'be home', as Keith Jarrett suggests in his "Meditations on Home" (2014), where he writes: "I have also grown to accept my body as a home, rather than a temple. Temples are sacred; you visit them once or twice a week [...]. Homes are where we store our memories and our secrets. We invite lovers [...]. Our homes gather wear and tear, and this gives us 'character'". Strong of the "private is political" feminist lesson, particularly of the so called Third World Feminism, these artists find their sites of resistance and self-making by rendering public what is private, by disorienting the audience and creating provocative performances with erotic, spectral and highly inter-textual references. Their performances, like their circulations inside and outside academic contexts, contribute to expand recognition of their (private) experiences and to legitimate their political expression.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11574/190410
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