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Performance-to-camera filmed on Camcorder video, duration 00:08:54 


The starting point for this work was black feminine practices. Employing performative strategies, the work documents a number of ‘acts’ to examine black femininity - revealing ‘cracks in hegemonic black beauty’. Specific issue is taken with hair alteration, drawing on continuing discourses within black beauty aesthetics; black stylisation politics, and black women’s search for 'white beauty' as a consequence of racialization. The work engages with Judith Butler’s notion of gender performativity and builds on Prof Shirley Anne Tate’s discussions on black beauty, which queries essentialisms and the making of black female subjectivities in the 21st century Black Atlantic diaspora. 


Related Texts:

Butler, J. (1999) Gender trouble: feminism and the subversion of identity. London: Routledge.

Mercer, K. (1994) Black Hair/Style Politics. In: Mercer, K. Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies. London: Routledge.

Tate, S. (2009) Black Beauty: Aesthetics, Stylization, Politics. Surrey: Ashgate.


The "Cardigan on the head' act performed by many black girls globally growing in the '70s

The 'straight fringe and blonde hair' act

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