Blackberries and Redbones features engaging scholarly essays, poems, and creative writings that all examine the meanings of the Black anatomy in our changing global world. The body, including its hair, is said to be read like a text where readers draw certain interpretations based on signs, symbols, and culture. Each chapter in the volume interrogates that notion by addressing the question, “As a text, how are Black bodies and Black hair read and understood in life, art, popular culture, mass media, or cross-cultural interactions?” Utilizing a critical perspective, each contributor articulates how relationships between physical appearance, genetic structure, and political ideologies impact the creativity, representation, and everyday lived experiences of Blackness. In this interdisciplinary volume, discussions are made more complex and move beyond the “straight versus kinky hair” and “light skin versus dark skin” paradigm. Instead, efforts are made to emphasize the material consequences associated with the ways in which the Black body is read and (mis)understood.
The aptness of this work lies in its ability to provide a meaningful and creative space to analyze body politics—highlighting the complexities surrounding these issues within, between, and outside Africana communities. Blackberries and Redbones provides a unique opportunity to both celebrate and scrutinize the presentation of Blackness in everyday life, while also encouraging readers to forge ahead with a deeper understanding of these ever-important issues.
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