Reading an assignment for my African-American Literature course I wanted to share something. I think it be quite fitting since it is Black History Month and Valentine’s Day is in loom. Author Zora Neale Hurston examines drama through love in Characteristics of Negro Expression.
The Negro’s universal mimicry is not so much a thing in itself as an evidence something that permeates his entire self. And that thing is drama. His very action are words.
Hurston illustrates this brilliantly through love. When I picture the male I can’t help but think of the “Old Spice” man. I smile at the following because I can only think of some of it as true while some of it taken to the hilarious extreme. Enjoy!
A bit of Negro drama familiar to all is the frequent meeting of two opponents who threaten to do atrocious murder one upon the other. Who has not observed a robust young Negro chap posing upon a street corner, possessed of nothing but his clothing, his strength, and his youth? Does he bear himself like a pauper? No, Louis XIV could be no more insolent in his assurance. His eyes say plainly “Female, halt!” His posture exults “Ah, female, I am the eternal male, the giver of life. Behold in my hot flesh all the delights of this world. Salute me, I am strength.” All this with a languid posture, there is no mistaking his meaning.
A Negro girl strolls past the corner lounger. Her whole body panging and posing. A slight shoulder movement that calls attention to her bust, that is all of a dare. A hippy undulation below the waist that is a sheaf of promises tied with conscious power. She is acting out “I’m a darned sweet woman and you know it.” These little plays by strolling players are acted out daily in a dozen streets in a thousand cities, and no one ever mistakes the meaning.
—an excerpt from Zora Neale Hurston’s Characteristics of Negro Expression