Tipping on a Tight Rope: Divas in African American Literature

Front Cover
When Black runway models began throwing phones and VH1's ĞDivas Liveğ riveted viewers, a new paradigm for Black women had fully evolved in the form of the Black Diva. Tracing the trajectory of the Diva figure from the Italian castrati to Ntozake Shange's Liliane: Resurrection of the Daughter suggests a way around staid and fixed stereotypes about Black womanhood. The Black Diva performs her demands as a quintessential act of survival in a hostile and racist world; she is both a product of and a mark against the male gaze, Black and white. Ultimately, Tipping on a Tightrope: Divas in African American Literature uses present popular culture incarnations of the Diva to detail her long relationship with Black American literary culture.

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About the author (2012)

Aisha Damali Lockridge is Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Black Studies Minor at Allegheny College. She earned her PhD from Stony Brook University where she was a W. Burghardt Turner Fellow. Her teaching interests include African American literature, Caribbean literature, and Diva Studies.