Black Freaks, Black Fags, Black Dykes: Re-imagining Rebecca Walker’s “Black Cool”

15037_10151311871680791_1210328814_nEnter Scene: I am walking in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn—where we do more than die, by the way—rocking a close fade with two parts on the side, a full beard and mustache lined up perfectly, eyes protected by a pair of fresh chocolate browline frames (I was two blocks from Malcolm X boulevard, after all). I am donning a fitted button-up white shirt, closed off with a pink and gray striped bowtie, form-fitting charcoal gray blazer, dark blue kinda-skinny jeans, and a pair of hot pink and silvery gray kicks.

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2 thoughts on “Black Freaks, Black Fags, Black Dykes: Re-imagining Rebecca Walker’s “Black Cool”

  1. Andy Hou

    I’m admirably pleased with this Black gentleman’s views on his choice of aesthetic embodiment without an internalized concern over what others may perceive him to be. Aesthetic is a selective choice in which people have distinguished taste among one another. Personal taste and attraction to a beauty should not be obliged to the societal norm or follow the conventional dressing style in the world, but instead, it is a personal choice of beauty distinctness. It is ludicrous to imagine that people are so ignorant in accepting differential tastes of aesthetics among others during this information era, where it should be common to see people are willing to step out of their comfort zone to try something no one has ever tried before. This is what distinguishes these people been cool from others, because of their innovative minds which helped established new trends of fashion no one has ever contrived.

    I don’t see why in the world a black man who’s been identified as homosexual based loosely on his desire of favoring pink snickers. Who justified what color pertains to a specific gender would be considered heterosexual or homosexual? Indeed, it is one of those ridiculous subjects of debate and contentiousness. But overall, I’m glad with this gentleman’s positive attitude towards what he likes is most important at all, not what everyone else tells him to wear or categorized him in various derogatory groups of the uncommon in societal norm.

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  2. Ravenna Napp-Shapiro

    Author Darnell L. Moore asks, “Does coolness exist anywhere beyond black masculinity, maleness, and heterosexuality?” My initial response to this question is simply no. When I think of coolness in the eyes of dominant culture, black masculinity is rarely part of the conversation unless it regards chosen specifics that play to the Black male stereotypes such as violent, dangerous, and ‘bad.’ When we look at this limited idea of cool we are pushing out a major amount of people and cramping those that can (if they want) fit into this masculine, heterosexual cool.

    Moore’s analysis of black cool surrounding Miles Davis and polyphony, “multi-textured and free from one dominant voice and way of being,” excites me. He says that black cool is always redefining itself, moving, and changing to resist the norm. To me, this lense is a beautiful example of what bell hooks talks about in “Loving Blackness As Political Resistance.” By dressing in a way that challenges how the dominant culture expects someone in an “oppressed body” to look, Moore adds a proud exploration to political resistance regarding intersectionality.

    Another point should be touched on especially when discussing politics surrounding clothing and fashion. The big word: cultural appropriation. By all means make your appearance political if you wish but make sure you know where that fashion comes from and if it is appropriate for you (whatever your identity) to be flaunting it.

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