No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies
E. Patrick Johnson is Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University, the coeditor of Blacktino Queer Performance and Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology, and the author of Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity, all also published by Duke University Press.
Lyndon K. Gill’s essay engages the life and work of black queer Jamaican Canadian storyteller, playwright, and actor d’bi.young as a way to read the radical queerness of one of her seemingly least queer plays. First providing a brief history of the dub music genre, an aural aesthetic birthed in late 1960s Jamaica, followed by its history in the late 1970s to early 1980s when Jamaican poets in Kingston and London began to distill the sound principles of the relatively new music genre into “dub poetry,” Gill analyzes what he refers to as “the queer middle child” of young’s three-part dub theater sankofa trilogy, benu, which has no lgbt characters. Though d’bi.young openly identifies as queer, Gill argues that she actively refuses static categories of sexual orientation, especially if they are based on parochial presumptions about sex/gender transparency and stability, which invites us to expand the boundaries of queer recognition.