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COOPER, 2009


CECILIO COOPER 2012: On February 1st, Jimmy Kimmel commemorated Black History Month with a segment where Cousin Sal asked random white people on the street which black person was their favorite. I took a break from writing today to watch the clip online. One woman’s response to the prompt stood out. She conceded that her companion probably liked black people more than she did because she didn’t watch that much television.

The familiar mix of snicker, side-eye, and sting I felt after watching this clip reminds me of the issues heavy on my mind in 2009: How does one do queer performance when one is black, thinking, and generally mis-gendered?

My costumed body remembers being overdressed and overheated during the shoot. My face recalls the itch of too much glitter. And I love it. These sensations are nearly as pleasurable as the dull ache I get from rocking a corset most of that day. Yet I am also worn out at the end of a hectic performance schedule. I am stressed about moving for graduate school and generally too over it to be excited about any version of Pride at this point.

At the second this image is captured, however, I am beaming from the inside out. Can’t recall what nudged me toward this moment of joy. But I am grateful for the reminder.