Beyoncé’s Slay Trick: The Performance of Black Camp and its Intersectional Politics

Constantine Chatzipapatheodoridis 1
  • 1 Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, , Thessaloniki, Greece

Abstract

This article pays attention to African-American artist Beyonce Knowles and her performance of black camp. Beyonce’s stage persona and performances invite multiple ideological readings as to what pertains to her interpretation of gender, sexuality, and race. While cultural theory around the icon of Beyonce has focused on her feminist and racial politics as well as her politicization of the black female body, a queer reading applied from the perspective of camp performance will concentrate on the artist’s queer appeal and, most importantly, on her exposition of black camp, an intersection of feminist, racial and queer poetics. By examining video and live performances, the scope of this article is to underline those queer nuances inherent in Beyonce’s dramatisation of black femininity and the cultural pool she draws from for its effective staging. More specifically, since Beyonce plays with tropes and themes that are common in camp culture, her performance relies on a meta-camping effect that interacts with African-American queer culture. This article, thus, traces black queer traditions and discourses in the artist’s praxis of black camp.

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