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“If You Don’t Bring No Grits, Don’t Come”: Critiquing a Critique of Patrick Kelly, Golliwogs, And Camp as A Technique of Black Queer Expression

Sequoia Barnes
Published Online: 2017-12-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0062


I have written this article in order to establish Patrick Kelly as a black forbearer of fashion. Kelly complicates our sense of fashion through his use of black memorabilia and camp to not only create something consumable but to comment on the black body as a consumable. Therefore, the role I play in acknowledging this black supernova, as Eric Darnell Pritchard calls him, is by critiquing Lewis and Fraley’s critique of Patrick Kelly and questioning why overtly expressing one’s queerness through camp has not been seen as a viable form of black expression in the mainstream narrative of black creativity. Lewis and Fraley’s complete dismissal of Kelly’s use of camp does not happen in a vacuum. Yet, I must remember that there is also the task of establishing a legacy of technique for Patrick Kelly. Who are his forbearers?

Keywords : fashion studies; fashion theory; black cultural studies; queer studies; queer theory; visual culture; black artists; camp; semiotic tactician; semiotic vulnerability; counter-appropriation; heritage; golliwog; Patrick Kelly


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About the article

Received: 2017-12-27

Accepted: 2017-12-28

Published Online: 2017-12-29

Published in Print: 2017-12-20

Citation Information: Open Cultural Studies, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 678–689, ISSN (Online) 2451-3474, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0062.

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© 2018. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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