Previous work discussing Black beauty has tended to concentrate on Black women's search for white beauty as a consequence of racialization. Without denying either the continuation of such aesthetics or their enduring power, this book uncovers the cracks in this hegemonic Black beauty. Drawing on detailed ethnographic research amongst British women of Caribbean heritage, this volume pursues a broad discussion of beauty within the Black diaspora contexts of the Caribbean, the UK, the United States and Latin America through different historical periods to the present day. With a unique exploration of beauty, race and identity politics, the author reveals how Black women themselves speak about, negotiate, inhabit, work on and perform Black beauty. As such, it will appeal not only to sociologists, but anyone working in the fields of race, ethnicity and post-colonial thought, feminism and the sociology of the body.
Shirley Anne Tate is Senior Lecturer and Acting Director, Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Leeds, UK. She is the author of 'Black Skins, Black Masks: Hybridity, Dialogism, Performativity' (2005).
'This book beautifully weaves theory, popular culture and voices of women performing black beauty to examine the multiple ways of being black in the 21st century. Tate rejects the notion of pathology in black women’s search for beauty, focusing instead on how performativity challenges racialized hierarchies. A major contribution is the analysis of how light-skinned black women creatively respond to exclusions produced by both ends of the black-white binary.' Patricia de Santana Pinho, State University of New York, USA 'Destabilising "certainties" about the cultural politics of black beauty, Shirley Tate engages the reader in a wide-ranging conversation about skin, hair and the textures of identity. Upstaging Plato and Kant, who pontificated so grandly on the nature of beauty from a decidedly Eurocentric perspective, Tate amplifies the voices of women of the African diaspora who confidently disclose their own feelings and judgements about black/mixed race aesthetics.' Carolyn Cooper, University of the West Indies, Jamaica 'Tate's work is particularly interesting both in relation to debates around beauty and race politics as well as discussions on subjectivity and embodiment....a truly sophisticated discussion of the matter of race and beauty as well as for the development of a stimulating discussion of data collected in interviews. This is a really interdisciplinary work the reading of which will benefit those in the Humanities and the Social Sciences. Its research and argument makes a valuable contribution to contemporary debates on performativity and its subversive potential, race and gender matters, as well as theorizations of the body.' Journal of Contemporary Sociology '...she has cleared an important theoretical pathway by encouraging us to see all black beautifying practices as ways of reinventing what black looks like, thus providing new ways to see, think about and live in racialized bodies.' Times Higher Education '...Shirley Anne Tate undertakes a