every black diva
Live Art performance
At Home with the House of Strange Loops
Bethnal Green Working Mens Club
February 14, 2016
Lesley attended a costume party. She was reluctant to dress up. So she threw on some make up and a semi-outrageous outfit. As she moved through the party everyone identified who she'd dressed up as. Except she hadn't dressed up as anyone. Her skin colour and ethnicity combined with theatrical make up and costuming immediately marked her as a popular music Diva: Donna, Tina, Beyonce, Gloria, Grace, Rihanna. Every person who named her had white skin. They'd all decided she was a Diva. Each had decided upon a different one.
Every Black Diva is an opportunity to contemplate the differential between the accepted black female body of the musical Diva and the unaccepted voice of the black female public intellectual.
The audience views the Diva in performance, through the windows in a door. They do not have access to her performance space. They are prohibited from hearing her song. Instead they're invited to listen, through headphones, to a concert of black female intellectuals voicing their incisive thinking on the black female body; in history, in media, in girlhood, in resistence.
If the only way to make you listen is to dress up and dance to a beat: so be it. Of course, some people prefer to just watch.
Photos: Peter Fingleton Audio: 15 minutes