Black Body speaker addresses the stereotype of Caribbean homophobia

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A report by Madison Weaver and Annie Girton for The Bucknellian.

Dr. Rosamond S. King presented the third lecture in The Black Body (Re)Considered series, titled “The Black Body: Caribbean. Queer: Beyond Stereotypes” on Feb. 22 in the Gallery Theatre.

Her talk focused on the alleged homophobic culture of Caribbean countries, especially Jamaica. According to the University website, King focused on the “recent Caribbean legal cases and studies of homophobia in the region, as well as activism and creative work by Caribbean sexual minorities.”

In her work, King hopes to counter the stereotype of the Caribbean as one of the world’s most homophobic regions. The phrase was coined in a 2006 Time Magazine article, and King discusses what she believes to be the origin of the phrase.

“It also grows out of this stereotype that black people in general are more homophobic than white people and that places in the global south like Africa and the Caribbean are more homophobic in the global north,” King said. “Part of it is economy and part of it is how we still view formerly colonized countries and majority black countries as kind of primitive and backward.”

King is an associate professor of English at Brooklyn College. She also is an artist, creative writer, and performer with interests in African and Caribbean culture, focusing on overlapping themes with the complexity of the body and sexuality.

“I have over 20 years of training as a dancer, so being in the black body and moving and thinking consciously about the movement of the body and thinking also about sexuality which inherently involves the body and desire. That’s something that’s been very present in my research and in other parts of my life,” King said.

King also expressed her interest in the intersections of art and research, pulling from her experience as an artist and a scholar.

“For many years I kept [art and research] largely separate … that people would think you were less of a scholar if they knew you were an artist and vice versa, artists would think you are less of an artist if they knew you did research. But for me, they’re all part of the same project,” King said.

King incorporated her poetry into her lecture during her presentation, which reflects her wide experience, having published creative pieces as well as scholarly work.

“What I’d like for [students] to take away from my work is a more complex understanding about sexuality in the Caribbean … for people to have some language to talk to people who may hold these stereotypes,” King said.

“I think it’s important to have these talks and to break through stereotypes, because I think this will help to eliminate fear and discrimination” Erin Rigney ’20 said.

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