Evidence of BeingThe Black Gay Cultural Renaissance and the Politics of Violence

Evidence of BeingThe Black Gay Cultural Renaissance and the Politics of Violence

Darius Bost

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9780226589794

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

From the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, black gay men produced a rich and diverse body of cultural work—poetry, fiction, literary journals and anthologies, magazines, newspapers, performance and visual art—to narrate their experiences with and everyday struggles against racism, homophobia, capitalism, and HIV/AIDS. This book discusses this cultural renaissance, and focuses on activities in Washington, D.C., and New York City. Drawing on literary analysis, archival materials, oral histories, and interviews, the book demonstrates how black gay men used these literary and cultural forms to address trauma and violence in their communities, build connections among black gay men, engage in political mobilization, and assert more complex narratives of racial, gender, and sexual selfhood. Individual chapters focus on the magazine Blacklight and the performance group Cinque; the works of Essex Hemphill and Joseph Beam; the history and cultural production of writers’ group, Other Countries Collective; and the diaries of poet, novelist, translator, and scholar Melvin Dixon.