kwesi abbensetts: ‘post-Black’ — who is the joke and who is the joker (i)


I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

~ Langston Hughes
the black hero tulip.

the black hero tulip.



who is the joke and who is the joker:

* * *
Kwesi Abbensetts asks, “Am I really of ‘Post-Black-ness’?  Is that my new heritage?

“Post-Black art is a phrase that refers to a category of contemporary African American art. It is a paradoxical genre of art where race and racism are intertwined in a way that rejects their interaction. That is to say, it is art about the Black experience that attempts to dispel the notion that race matters. It uses enigmatic themes wherein Black can substitute for white.  Some suggest the term is attributable to the 1995 book ‘The End of Blackness’ by Debra Dickerson.”

Kwesi Abbensetts Photo Records: (c) Kwesi Abbensetts Who is the joke and who is….

* * *

[blkcowrie’s note:  one of the primary aspects of my identities is quite happily ensconced within Blackness ~ neither pre- nor post- ~ recognizing that race is a social construct that bears resonance with me with regard to the social conditions i face and the historical context within which i am situated.  i also feel that these constructs have utility with regard to community, culture, power and socio-political organization.  yet i recognize that, like all constructs, Blackness is an evolving notion that is both intrepid and reactive.  i have no desire to run screaming or cower in shame with regard to my Blackness.  quite the contrary.  it is also not my preeminent identity.  i live in the intersections and Blackness is one of the significant planes that shape my identities.  i think kwesi’s pictorial series offered some complication of the notion of post-Blackness (too often used as a synonym for post-racism) that i find interesting.  enjoy.]

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