New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement

By Lisa Gail Collins; Margo Natalie Crawford | Go to book overview

7
Natural Black Beauty
and Black Drag

Margo Natalie Crawford

As some male writers and visual artists in the Black Arts Movement attempted to castrate white power and render it feminine, black women were often objectified as the embodiments of black beauty ("African Queens" and "natural black beauty"). The male gaze of some Black Arts poets and photographers objectified black women even as it engaged in the laudable attempt to remove black women from the dominant visual culture that continues to define quintessential femininity through the sign of the white woman's body. The body of the black woman was often imagined as the motherland, the receptacle for the black (male-dominated) nation, and this black motherland became the ambiguously gendered space between the black phallus (the male position in the Black Arts ethos) and feminized whiteness.

In "Natural Black Beauty" (1969), an essay in Black Arts: An Anthology of Black Creations, poet Joe Goncalves explains the "Black is Beautiful" ideology of the 1960s in the following manner: "As for our natural beauty: Our lips complement our noses, our noses 'go with' our eyes and they all bless our skin, which is black. If your face does not complement itself, you are in a degree of trouble.… The real geometry of our faces, the natural geometry in terms of art is found, among other places, in African sculpture. Our natural architecture, our natural rhythm."1 The idea of natural black beauty was a key part of the body politics of the Black Arts Movement. Black Arts participants often imagined that the black body was the most local site of the black nation that needed to be protected from dominant beauty standards. The new physical beauty standards privileged looking "natural" and looking "African." "Africa" signified nature, roots, authenticity, and purity within this Black Arts imagination. Clothing and hairstyles that were deemed "African" became signs of this natural black beauty. The short "afro" hairstyle began to be named the "natural." The cover story of a 1967 issue of

-154-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 390

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.