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Artists, Performers, and Black Masculinity in the Haitian Diaspora

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Jana Evans Braziel examines how Haitian diaspora writers, performance artists, and musicians address black masculinity through the Haitian Creole concept of gwo nègs, or "big ... men." She focuses on six artists and their work: writer Dany Laferrière, director Raoul Peck, rap artist Wyclef Jean, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, drag queen performer and poet Assotto Saint, and queer drag king performer Dréd (a.k.a. Mildréd Gerestant). For Braziel, these individuals confront the gendered, sexualized, and racialized boundaries of America's diaspora communities and openly resist "domestic" imperialism that targets immigrants, minorities, women, gays, and queers. This is a groundbreaking study at the intersections of gender and sexuality with race, ethnicity, nationality, and diaspora. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In this book, Jana Evans Braziel examines how Haitian diaspora writers, performance artists, and musicians address black masculinity through the Haitian Creole concept of gwo negs or "big men." She focuses on six artists and their work: writer Dany Laferriere, director Raoul Peck, rap artist Wyclef Jean, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, drag queen performer and poet Assotto Saint, and queer drag king performer Dred (a.k.a. Mildred Gerestant). For Braziel, these individuals confront the gendered, sexualized, and racialized boundaries of America's diaspora communities and openly resist "domestic" imperialism that targets immigrants, minorities, women, gays, and queers.

Her analyses of their work reveal the persistence of racial and racialized stereotypes across the Americas. They allow readers to discern how ideas about nationality, immigration, and national/cultural difference affect those stereotypes, and how, for example, ideas about class, poverty, and immigration further marginalize Haitian American men, separating black from black. Similarly, she shows how these artists, particularly the performance artists Saint and Dred, resist the heteronormative constructions of gender and sexuality and in so doing also resist those of nationality and diaspora identity and challenge others to queer the diaspora and "diasporize" the queer. This is a groundbreaking study at the intersections of gender and sexuality with race, ethnicity, nationality, and diaspora.

About the Author:
Jana Evans Braziel is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Affiliated Faculty in Women's Studies at the University of Cincinnati

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Editorial Reviews

Marjorie Salvodon

"Energetic, well—argued, and persuasive." —Marjorie Salvodon, Suffolk University

From the Publisher
"Energetic, well—argued, and persuasive." —Marjorie Salvodon, Suffolk University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253351395
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2008
  • Series: Blacks in the Diaspora Series
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jana Evans Braziel is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Cincinnati and author of Diaspora: An Introduction and "Caribbean Genesis": Jamaica Kincaid and the Writing of New Worlds.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction Haiti's transnational politics of "big man-ism" 1

Pt. 1 Straight, queer, and street

1 Trans-American constructions of black heteromasculinity : Dany Laferriere, le Negre, and the late-capitalist American racial Machine-desirante 25

2 From Fort Dimanche to Brooklyn : transnational regimes of violence, Duvalierism, and failed heteromasculinity in Raoul Peck's Haitian corner 59

Pt. 2 Queer fist

3 "Honey, honey, Miss Thing" : Assotto Saint's drag queen blues - queening the homeland, queer-fisting the dyaspora 85

4 Drag-kinging the dyaspora : Dred performing black (female) masculinities in Haiti's Tenth Department 114

Pt. 3 Rapping b(l)ack

5 (Rara) Rap Haiti! : Wyclef Jean's Chante pwen, embattled black masculinity, and diasporic remix as political protest 143

6 Trans-American art on the streets : Jean-Michel Basquiat's black canvas bodies and urban vodou-art in Manhattan 174

Conclusion Presidential politics, Haiti's Gwo Negs, and diasporic cultural production as transnational political protest 203

Notes 211

Selected bibliography 259

Index 293

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