Moving in the Underground: The Politics of Black Joy in Roller-Skating and Funk Music in Chicago
Researcher ORCID Identifier
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© John West
Skating provides a moment of limited protection from the dangers of being Black in the after-life of slavery. Skating provides a way to temporarily escape the pain of the outside that is depicted above. The pain of a modern post-racial colorblind slave society. A society plagued with hyper-surveillance, mass incarceration, and domestic militarism targeted at Black and Brown bodies. Our joy and pleasure are what sustain us. We turn to jubilee to offer a moment of freedom from the burden of racial capitalism. Subversive Black joy, the joy that allows Black folk to restore, recreate, and reinvent themselves is how we evade the crisis of social death. Black expressive practices like roller-skating, funk music, and dancing are what heal us, helping us get through the alienation and exploitation of slavery and its afterlives. Cultural practices help promote, what Ronaldo Walcott refers to as, glimpses of freedom: where Black folk reimagine themselves and create new worlds resistant to the systemic anti-blackness that marks modern slavery.
West, John, "Moving in the Underground: The Politics of Black Joy in Roller-Skating and Funk Music in Chicago" (2023). Pomona Senior Theses. 279.
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