The filmmaker Keisha Rae Witherspoon has said, “Film is a type of spell.” In her short film T (2019), she conjures a conceit of how to carry the dead or how to imagine living on with and without them. Set in Liberty City, Miami’s historically black neighborhood, T poignantly stages a notion of memorialization that refigures mourning as incarnation spectacles that refuse to be held suspended by the grief, ache, representational recurrence, and despair over black death. In this essay, Michael Boyce Gillespie examines how T’s staging of a ball devoted to the celebration of the black dead emplots the cultural legacies of black death and precarity within a praxis of resistance, survival, and the fabulous.

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