Pimps Up, Hoes Down?: The Amazing Misadventures of Blackface Masculinity

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Davarian Baldwin


This essay argues that the current framing of black masculinity within expose-style discussions have continually mired a needed conversation about the future of black masculinity within a discourse of “blackface masculinity.” Here, a literal minstrel show is enacted where the most canned, marketable, and enticing expressions of black masculine deviance in popular culture stand in for a more pointed conversation about the pervasiveness of an American brand of misogyny and homophobia. In the end, this blackface show is an American production that purposefully racializes dangerous expressions of masculinity as inherently “black,” limits black women to a vision of gender defined by social/sexual subservience to all men, and renders invisible current anxieties around gender relations that could help explain the attractive lure of his “blackface masculinity” for men across the color line.

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How to Cite
Baldwin, D. (2008). Pimps Up, Hoes Down?: The Amazing Misadventures of Blackface Masculinity. AmeriQuests, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.15695/amqst.v6i1.140
Author Biography

Davarian Baldwin, Boston College

Historian and cultural critic, Davarian L. Baldwin, is an associate professor of history and African and African Diaspora Studies at Boston College and author of Chicago’s New Negroes: Modernity, the Great Migration, and Black Urban Life (UNC 2007). He is currently at work on two new projects, Black Belts and Ivory Towers: The Racial Foundations of U.S. Social Thought and UniverCities: How Knowledge Institutions are Restructuring the Urban Landscape.