The Harlem Renaissance, the Protest Era, and the Constructions of Black Gay Identity in the 1980s and 90s
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Imprint: Michigan State University Press
Sales Date: 2012-06-01
This book explores key texts of the black gay culture of the 1980s and ’90s. Starting with an analysis of the political discourse in anthologies such as In the Life and Brother to Brother, it identifies the references to the Harlem Renaissance and the Protest Era as common elements of black gay discourse. This connection to African American cultural and political traditions legitimizes black gay identity and criticizes the construction of gay identity as white. Readings of Isaac Julien’s Looking for Langston, Samuel R. Delany’s “Atlantis: Model 1924” and The Motion of Light in Water, Melvin Dixon’s Vanishing Rooms, Randall Kenan’s A Visitation of Spirits, and Steven Corbin’s No Easy Place to Be demonstrate how these strategies of signifying are used in affirmative, humorous, and ironic ways.