This article analyzes Black feminist performance through two recently released live performance films. Set a generation apart, Amazing Grace (recorded 1972, released 2018), featuring Aretha Franklin, and Homecoming (2019), featuring Beyoncé, are artful and personal—both inspired by Black culture and the artists' personal histories, and offer virtuoso performances. The article operates in three modes: scholarly, personal, and remembered. The scholarship draws on the work of Hortense Spillers, bell hooks, Daphne Brooks, and others, while the personal and remembered portions consider significant sites of feminist formation that have shaped the author's perceptions and analyses of Black feminist performance in the present. These, along with close readings of the films, tap into Black women's ways of knowing and performing subjectivity.
Performing Black Subjectivity: Enfleshed Feminism in Homecoming and Amazing Grace
P. Kimberleigh Jordan is an assistant professor of religion, arts, and black studies at Drew University Theological School. She completed her PhD in performance studies at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, her MDiv at Union Theological Seminary, and her AB at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to her academic career, Jordan was a professional dancer and studied on scholarship at the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
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P. Kimberleigh Jordan; Performing Black Subjectivity: Enfleshed Feminism in Homecoming and Amazing Grace. Feminist Media Histories 1 July 2020; 6 (3): 79–103. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2020.6.3.79
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