Arts & Culture / Dispatches / Vol. 2 No. 3

For Little Richard

Gopal Dagnogo, Nymph without Satyr

Image Credit: Gopal Dagnogo, Nymph without Satyr. (2014). Courtesy of the artist

For those who can’t get with or interpret certain codes, in general or specifically, black folk/culture under segregation didn’t always contain or restrain in the manner/matters classified. I would, in fact, argue that the place inside the inside considered outside, was not, in many communities and places, as binary as the cliched “sacred/profane” split has come to represent, for the third or middle way (gender nonconforming) under the hoop-and-holler tent of everyday life, from streets to sheets, occupied a place in “black” culture that may not be THAT dissimilar from what the term “Two-Spirit” has come to signify in Native America (which is further complicated when one understands the true NATURE of a rainbow people crammed into a designation that feels like a curse to/for )… If one is familiar with some of the codes of the black church. If there is any where to understand the black sissy-fit dynamic of sound and sensuality, it is IN the black church. From the quick snap of a cape flung flamboyantly over the shoulders of a black minister (presumed “straight” for some and not-so by others which is in itself a delightful game of “dress-up,” underscoring “those who know don’t say and those who know don’t”), loaded meanings behind “queens” and “kings”; and even rod and staff, playing it straight as a play… on and on (outside time) ritual dance from Fela Kuti & Ghana gold Africa to the Americas… Color, color, color for a deeply colored peoples. Ya’ll need to quit… Relying on those who have a vested interest in downplaying these details to serve up a straighter black America or the orthodoxy hitting that same dull note of “homophobia” (a Christian import) is a sign of a shoo-fly-don’t-bother-me chord… dressed to impress…. But for those who were around long enough to get the story of the shoe from the other foot, let it all hang out… double-talk and double-walk… even “bad” meant “good”… Now drag those a’s. . . and get a b-a-a-d… Ya feel me?

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