This article provides a set of readings toward what I am calling a “queer performance hermeneutic” of dancehall culture. It argues that although dancehall appears to be rigidly heteronormative, there are modes of queer performance within its culture, modes that may even be enabled by its various discourses of homophobia. I suggest that the development of an interpretative practice that brings together queer theory, African diasporic studies, dancehall studies, and performance studies will enable the reading of those elements of dancehall that exceed or go against the grain of normative discourses in dancehall lyrics. I offer readings of male dance crews at street dances, a comedy interlude at a dancehall club night, and a dancehall video, each of which provides the opportunity to read “the queer” in dancehall culture.

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