Artists, Performers, and Black Masculinity in the Haitian Diaspora

Artists, Performers, and Black Masculinity in the Haitian Diaspora

Jana Evans Braziel
Distribution: World
Publication date: 06/27/2008
Format: Paperback 39 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-21978-7
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Jana Evans Braziel examines how Haitian diaspora writers, performance artists, and musicians address black masculinity through the Haitian Creole concept of gwo nègs, or "big men." She focuses on six artists and their work: writer Dany Laferrière, director Raoul Peck, rap artist Wyclef Jean, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, drag queen performer and poet Assotto Saint, and queer drag king performer Dréd (a.k.a. Mildréd Gerestant). For Braziel, these individuals confront the gendered, sexualized, and racialized boundaries of America's diaspora communities and openly resist "domestic" imperialism that targets immigrants, minorities, women, gays, and queers. This is a groundbreaking study at the intersections of gender and sexuality with race, ethnicity, nationality, and diaspora.

Author Bio

Jana Evans Braziel is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Cincinnati and author of Diaspora: An Introduction and "Caribbean Genesis": Jamaica Kincaid and the Writing of New Worlds.


“Energetic, well—argued, and persuasive.”
 — Marjorie Salvodon, Suffolk University

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Haiti's Transnational Politics of "Big Man-ism"

Part 1. Straight, Queer, and Street
1. Trans-American Constructions of Black Heteromasculinity: Dany Laferrière, le Nègre, and the Late-Capitalist American Racial Machine-désirante
2. From Fort Dimanche to Brooklyn: Transnational Regimes of Violence, Duvalierism, and Failed Heteromasculinity in Raoul Peck's Haitian Corner

Part 2. Queer Fist
3. "Honey, Honey, Miss Thing": Assotto Saint's Drag Queen Blues—Queening the Homeland, Queer-Fisting the Dyaspora
4. Drag-Kinging the Dyaspora: Dréd Performing Black (Female) Masculinities in Haiti's Tenth Department

Part 3. Rapping B(l)ack
5. (Rara) Rap Haiti! Wyclef Jean's Chante pwen, Embattled Black Masculinity, and Diasporic Remix as Political Protest
6. Trans-American Art on the Streets: Jean-Michel Basquiat's Black Canvas Bodies and Urban Vodou-Art in Manhattan

Conclusion: Presidential Politics, Haiti's Gwo Nègs, and Diasporic Cultural Production as Transnational Political Protest

Selected Bibliography