They lie on me : Black resistance in media.


Despite its myriad formations in actuality, Black life is often represented within mainstream media in a dangerously distorted fashion, frequently relegating Blackness to the position of symbolic annihilation. Within this constructed reality, controlling images exploit and warp the idea of Black people, especially Black women, and naturalize the actual violence done to them. In such a media environment, the celebration of Blackness can rhetorically function as a disruption. Following Hortense Spillers, perhaps we should allow Blackness to “claim [its] monstrosity,” and rewrite what Blackness can become. As such, this prospectus outlines a thesis that investigates how Black queer narratives can create new identities that subvert the idea of what Blackness can be and do. Revisiting the Black oral tradition, and more specifically, what poet Kevin Young calls the storying ability of art, this proposed thesis considers those notions of Blackness which were never meant to survive. Focusing on music, film, and novels, this thesis would investigate Black created popular art to consider its possibility for stuttering the smooth flow of the hegemonic racial order.