Identity, De-colonization and Cosmopolitanism in (Afro)Latina Artists’ Spoken Word Performances

In: Latinidad at the Crossroads
Esther Álvarez López
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The aim of this chapter is to address how discourses of latinidad are produced and performed by means of aesthetic and cultural practices that Latinx artists engage in as tactics of self-definition and self-representation. Latina and Afro-Latina poets-performers such as Mayda del Valle, Elizabeth Acevedo, Ariana Brown or Amalia Ortiz, among others, deal with the intersections of the politics of identity and what sociologist Aníbal Quijano (1989) theorized as “the coloniality of power.” Although Afro-Latina poets spoken word artists focus on the workings of xenophobia, racism, gendering and othering in their poems, they implicitly suggest the need for alternative processes of interaction and conviviality, of a decolonial mindset leading to a non-EuroAmerican-centered pluriversality. Furthermore, this chapter explores how in formulating oppositional interpretations, in complicating and decolonizing ways of thinking about race, identity, difference, and power, their works become sites of contestation and social resistance that critically question dominant hegemonic views and talk back against colonization, acculturation, exclusion and inequities.

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