Glenn Ligon , A Feast of Scraps , 1994-1998.
We are taught that, if we feel we really must have a record of the shameful same-sex portions of our lives, then we should do so by having two albums, dual collections, one for blood relations and one for our same gender loving brothers and sisters. And they should not be allowed to intersect. Our orientation is meant to be isolated, separate from and alien to the lives we live with our ‘real’ families. Far too often, however, within this constellation of the ‘real,’ black gays and lesbians wonder if we will even be in the viewfinder when the family portrait is taken.
Claude Cahun & Marcel Moore, Untitled (Cahun in Mirror), ca. 1929 (detail) Claude Cahun & Marcel Moore, Untitled (Moore in Mirror), ca. 1929
The photographer’s shadow that regularly intrudes on the space of the photograph, the double exposures and mirror imaging, may be viewed as both uncanny and as intimations of an unseen collaboration, the “other me.”
tirza true latimer
Our two heads (hair intermingling inextricably) inclined over a photograph. Portrait of one or of the other, our two narcissisms drowning together here, it was the impossible realized in a magic mirror. Exchange, superimposition, the fusion of desires. The unity of the image achieved through the close intimacy of two bodies.
A place where lesbian assignations and appointments with academics could coexist in a kind of cheerful, cross-pollinating cognitive dissonance.
Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, Panel No. 1: During World War I there was a great migration north by southern African Americans, 1940-1941
At the beginning of the twentieth century, a homosexual subculture, uniquely Afro-American in substance, began to take shape in New York’s Harlem. Throughout the so-called Harlem Renaissance period, roughly 1920 to 1935, black lesbians and gay men were meeting each other [on] street corners, socializing in cabarets and rent parties, and worshiping in church on Sundays, creating a language, a social structure, and a complex network of institutions.