Strange Fruit: Boy Scouts, Beyoncé, and Mark Anthony Neal on Black Masculinity
Society treats Black boys like men, and Black men like animals. That assertion is what stood out to us, and many who were lucky enough to be in the audience last week, for Mark Anthony Neal's lecture at UofL. Dr. Neal is a professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African-American Studies at Duke University, and he came to Louisville courtesy of our friend Dr. Ricky L. Jones and the Center for Race and Inequality. Dr. Neal's latest book, Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities, examines depictions of black men in popular culture, and while he was in town, he stopped by our studios to tell us more about his work. Our conversation covered Tiger Woods, Jay-Z, Muddy Waters, and even Stringer Bell and Omar Little, as we tried to make some sense of how pop culture interprets and positions Black masculinity.In our Juicy Fruit segment we talked about the Boy Scouts of America delaying their decision on whether to accept gay scouts and scout leaders. And you know we had to talk about Beyoncé's display of femininity and power during last weekend's halftime show, and how she manages to perform in revealing costumes but maintain her sexual agency and control. Our guest Dr. Neal hosted a piece on his blog this week addressing the same thing. In it, David J. Leonard says of Beyoncé and M.I.A. (who performed last year), "Their bodies and the agency they exhibit in the control over their bodies disrupt dominant conventions and the accepted place for women, particularly women of color, in public spaces."Follow Up:
- Mark Anthony Neal's Webcast, Left of Black
- VIDEO: Ciara's "Like a Boy"
- VIDEO: Beyoncé's "If I Were a Boy"
- Tiger Woods on Vanity Fair cover, shot by Annie Leibovitz