NAAAS Conference Presentation Summaries

For Black Women Artistic Expression Is Not A Luxury—It’s Necessary for Survival

Queen Sugar Sings Lemonade

Chelle Wilson

“The past and future merge to meet us here,” says Beyoncé staring out at the Gulf Coast in the opening scene of Lemonade. Similar to the Bermuda Triangle, the Gulf Coast seems to be a space where time delineates from its axis allowing for the simultaneous meeting of past and present connected by the historical threads of racism in the South. The Gulf Coast has also been a rich source of inspiration for Black women artists including Ava Duvernay, Jesmyn Ward, and Beyoncé to create from a place of personal experience, confront intergenerational trauma, and uncover opportunities for healing, self-care, and reconciliation. The album Lemonade, television series Queen Sugar, and the novel Sing, Unburied, Sing are the focus of this paper.

Write Yourself Born

Shamethia Webb

Writing presents one way that black women can “get themselves born”1— using the storytelling process to narrate their experiences, make meaning of their lives, and write themselves from margin to center. In this paper, I review the writing project, Black Womanhouse: a creative response to the 1972 art installation, WOMANHOUSE, and Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls

Embracing/Embodying the Outsider Within

Morgan May

Black women have continually negotiated their marginalized positions as “outsiders within.” As a result, even the most mundane of everyday experiences is a creative feat. In spite and because of Black women’s subjugated positionality, their poetry and visual art historically reflects a love ethic: an ethic that infuses womanist and black feminist principles into their artistic expressions.

1 Credit Berenice Johnson Reagon


Page last updated 2:56 PM, February 14, 2019