Chapter 12: Cool Pose on Wheels: An Exploration of the Disabled Black Male in Film

Popular film images typically categorize disabled bodies as evil/criminal, lacking sexual desire, or unable to acclimate to mainstream society. Utilizing Majors and Billson’s (1992) concept of cool pose, the author challenges these images by exploring the roles of disabled Black males in film. Specifically, she argues that these individuals have been embraced as full-fledged, participating members in their community, counter to the notion of marginalization. Disabled Black men, in particular those who have become incapacitated as a result of violence and/or risky behavior, appear to resist common notions of disability, and in fact, redefine their state as “normal” by performing cool pose through style, violence or “hustling” and hypersexuality. Three filmic portrayals are used to substantiate this point. Although these mediated roles are not abundant, it is evident by virtue of these characters’ presence that a space has been created that does not mark them as “abnormal.” The author concludes with the need to further explore the disabled Black male in the cool pose concept.