The author begins with a consideration of the work of her mother, the artist Faith Ringgold, and moves on to recollections of her own early life in Harlem, and an account of her development as a writer in the 1970s. She examines the collective legacy with which black artists—from Zora Neale Hurston and Ntozake Shange, to Spike Lee and Michael Jackson—must contend in carving out a distinctive cultural practice.
Wallace’s book marks a new departure in contemporary criticism, as she combines the flair of a popular journalist with the rigor of a committed scholar. Invisibility Blues is certain to become a landmark in cultural studies and a fundamental document in the history of black feminism.
About the Author
Mike Davis is the author of several books including Planet of Slums, City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Late Victorian Holocausts, and Magical Urbanism. He was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in Papa’aloa, Hawaii.
Michael Sprinker was Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His Imaginary Relations: Aesthetics and Ideology in the History of Historical Materialism and History and Ideology in Proust are also published by Verso. Together with Mike Davis, he founded Verso’s Haymarket Series and guided it until his death in 1999.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Negative/Positive Images 1
Memories of a 60s Girlhood: The Harlem I Love 13
Anger in Isolation: A Black Feminist's Search for Sisterhood 18
Baby Faith 26
For the Women's House 34
A Women's Prison and The Movement 44
The Dah Principle: to be Continued 53
Homelessness is Where the Heart Is 58
Blues for Mr Spielberg 67
Michael Jackson, Black Modernisms and 'The Ecstasy of Communication' 77
Invisibility Blues 91
Spike Lee and Black Women 100
Doing the Right Thing 107
Entertainment Tomorrow 111
Mississippi Burning and Bird 123
For Colored Girls, the Rainbow is Not Enough 129
Slaves of History 137
Ishmael Reed's Female Troubles 146
Wilma Mankiller: Profile 155
Twenty Years Later 159
Who Owns Zora Neale Hurston? Critics Carve Up the Legend 172
Reading 1968: The Great American Whitewash 187
Tim Rollins and KOS: The Amerika Series 199
Variations on Negation and the Heresy of Black Feminist Creativity 213
Negative Images: Towards a Black Feminist Cultural Criticism 241