This introduction presents the theory of “black post-blackness” as a way of rethinking the mood of the 1970s, second wave of the Black Arts Movement. Crawford uncovers the inseparability, during the second wave of this cultural movement, of the hailing of blackness and the questioning of blackness. This introduction shows that this holding on to a blackness that keeps sliding away is the black post-blackness that shapes the 1970s second wave of the Black Arts Movement and resurfaces in the early years of the 21st century as writers and visual artists shape blackness into an unbelonging that creates belonging. Crawford argues that the connections between 21st century experimental black art and the experimental art of the Black Arts Movement matter, because post-black too often signals post-Black Arts Movement. She critiques a linear understanding of the move from black identity politics to freedom. This introduction presents the circle of black post-blackness as an alternative to the linear periodization that fails to see how blackness anticipates post-blackness.
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