Performing the Barrio Negro: Blackface, Poetry Recital, and Afro-Cubans in 1930s New York
A Talk by Professor Antonio López from George Washington University.
Friday, November 05, 20103:00 PM
Bunche Hall 10383
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Representing a twentieth-century Cuban America prior to the 1959 migration and its constitutive whiteness, the performance cultures of Afro-Cuban men on the blackface stage and Afro-Cuban women poetry reciters in academic venues in 1930s New York are an important if overlooked Afro-Latino contribution to the modern cultures of the African diaspora in the U.S. This talk shows how the archival and print-culture traces of such Afro-Cuban-American performers revise the concept of a “barrio negro” in the U.S.—the segregated “black neighborhoods,” the “black ghettos” that troubled island-based Afro-Cubans like Nicolás Guillén. In Afro-Cuban-American blackface and poetry recital, the barrio negro emerges as a space of short-lived, belated, and on occasion critical reflection on Cuban national and racial identity, all from a risky—because possibly African American-identified—location of U.S. blackness.
Antonio López is Assistant Professor of English at the George Washington University, where he specializes in U.S. Latino literary and cultural studies. His work has appeared in Latino Studies and The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States. His book project, Unbecoming Blackness: The Diaspora Cultures of Afro-Cuban America (under contract, NYU Press), examines the literary and performance cultures of Afro-Cubans in the U.S. from the 1920s to the present.
Cost : Free an open to the public
Jorge Marturano firstname.lastname@example.org
Download file: BarrioNegroflyer.pdf
Sponsor(s): Latin American Institute, Spanish and Portuguese, LAI Working Group on Caribbean Studies