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An Aesthetic of Blackness: Strange and Oppositional

by bell hooks

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In this essay, bell hooks explores Black aesthetics in the United States and the African diaspora. She locates its origins in precolonial Africa and traces its development through American chattel slavery to the present. She explores how and why Black Americans have made art and how various guiding praxes—be they political and counter-hegemonic or inspired by personal pleasure—have shaped Blackness as a discursive identity and also various forms of community building.

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