“People didn’t want Haitians teaching liberation to the rest of the world. All of those blockades from first-world countries left Haiti without infrastructure, without tools, without hospitals and schools. Here’s your freedom, but you’re on your own. Learning about that history was how I was introduced to the Negritude Poets.”
A body is neutral, objective, a fact—no more meant to be interpreted than a rock or a car. Different bodies shouldn’t mean different things, and yet. Other people have different interpretations of my husband’s body: its intent, threat, capabilities, worth.
One might argue that blackface performances of the thirties and forties (and earlier) are so far in the past and such a product of their time as to be beyond judgment, but I’d disagree. I’d rather assessments of artists be made with knowledge of their warts and all.
“Initially, I was going to tell the story of Amy and her murder, the subsequent criminal trial, the [Truth and Reconciliation] Commission, and her parents’ amazing feat of forgiveness. It’s a story that’s pretty well known in South Africa, and one that was at one point quite well known in America.”
The eminent scholar “took the bull by the horns,”
substituting urban black speech for the voice
of an illiterate cop in Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazusae.
And we sat there.
Dana’s purple eyes deepened, Becky
twitched to her hairtips
and Janice in her red shoes
scribbled he’s an arschlock; do you want
to leave? He’s a model product of his
education, I scribbled back; we can learn from this.