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When We Imagine GraceBlack Men and Subject Making$
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Simone C. Drake

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226363837

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226364025.001.0001

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A Friend of My Mind, or Where I Enter

A Friend of My Mind, or Where I Enter

Chapter:
(p.20) One A Friend of My Mind, or Where I Enter
Source:
When We Imagine Grace
Author(s):

Simone C. Drake

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226364025.003.0002

Privileging imagination and creativity, this chapter is composed of vignettes that consider the complex and sometimes paradoxical relationship between crisis, vulnerability, and empowerment. It begins with Toni Morrison’s Beloved as a theoretical framework for seeing what imagining grace looks like and demonstrating how black feminist theory provides important tools for seeing power in vulnerability and emotiveness. President Obama’s appearance on the cover of Ms. and his accompanying feminist declaration, social commentary on Tom Joyner’s radio show, Donald McKayle’s dance performance “Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder,” Richard Pryor’s comedy, Presidential initiated social policy, and the visual art of Kehinde Wiley all work together to illustrate how the author both employs and negotiates the challenges of synthesizing black feminist and black masculinity studies. Read together, these vignettes lay out the stakes for critical black gender studies, as well as the complicated nature of constructing complex masculine identities in an era dominated by dialogues of crisis. While vulnerability and emotiveness is privileged in this chapter, the chapter also considers how what Mark Anthony Neal references as illegible masculinities—those expressing vulnerability in this case—are not always a progressive performance that fosters self-actualization and resistance to crisis metaphors.

Keywords:   vulnerability, emotiveness, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Tom Joyner, Barack Obama, Donald McKayle, Richard Pryor, Kehinde Wiley, black masculinity, black feminism

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