Taking seriously (and for granted) the playful perversity of blackness, “Black, Queer, Dandy” examines the black dandy archive’s encounter with Oscar Wilde. Looking to his precursor, arch and witty eighteenth-century “dandy in black” Julius Soubise, and his heir, sardonic black British artist Yinka Shonibare, this essay suggests that Wilde’s caricature as a black(face) minstrel dandy on his visit to America in the 1880s was both a compliment and an insult. Wilde as black dandy, and/or the black dandy in association with Wilde, attempted to associate the aesthete with an apish blackness and black people with a perverse foreignness. In the figures of Soubise and Shonibare, these insults are turned into a fabulous, subversive queerness productive of both nurture and death.
Research Article|November 01 2016
Black, Queer, Dandy: The Beauty Without Whom We Cannot Live
Nka (2016) 2016 (38-39): 32-39.
Monica L. Miller; Black, Queer, Dandy: The Beauty Without Whom We Cannot Live. Nka 1 November 2016; 2016 (38-39): 32–39. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-3641656
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