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date: 29 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article argues that performance acts as a site where the power to extend, reaffirm, and complicate political ideas is enacted through embodied expression. The argument is supported by examining the ways in which the enduring legacy of negative stereotypes about black women’s femininity and sexuality circulate in the public sphere and how black women’s historical marginalization and dehumanization gave rise to a “politics of respectability” that continue to constrain and police black women’s bodies and voices, using both Michelle Obama (The First Lady) and Beyoncé as examples. In this chapter, contemporary performance is engaged at the location of popular dance on video.

Keywords: Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, The First Lady, black women, respectability politics, popular dance, video, contemporary performance

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