Performing Bodies Performing Blackness Performing Self: The Quest for a Transformative Poiesis

  • Cheryl Sterling


The two epigrams above construct a modality for understanding the aesthetic signifiers in Afro-Brazilian theater. Like all discourses of the oppressed concerned with addressing social impediments, theatric arts become a venue in which to recognize race, debate racism, and reconfigure racial subjectivity and agency on the part of Afro-Brazilians. Transposing Franz Fanon’s amazingly satirical quip immediately forges a connection between the burden of blackness and the acknowledgement of the pigmentocracy within the national discourse. Juxtaposed against an immutable declaration such as, “Race is fate … it is destiny,” the signification of the negated Other is redressed within the received and perceived images of blackness and the metaphysical undergirding of Brazilian society by the Candomblé religious matrix. In Yoruba cosmology, choice is the most important component of destiny. One is given a choice of heads in Orun’s realm of the unborn, and that choice is metaphorically linked to the effectuation of destiny. Personal agency begins in the spiritual, for that recreated or rebirthed essence becomes the actional human being in Ayé. When metaphysical discourse enters into the realm of tangible space, it confronts ordinary, everyday social constructs and undergoes multiple levels of interpretation to engender understanding.


White Woman Black Male Black Person Black Subject Zebra Striping 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Cheryl Sterling 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cheryl Sterling

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations