Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low

Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low

C. Riley Snorton


Since the early 2000s, the phenomenon of the “down low”—black males who've intercourse with males in addition to ladies and don't determine as homosexual, queer, or bisexual—has exploded in information media and pop culture, from the Oprah Winfrey Show to R & B singer R. Kelly’s hip hopera Trapped within the Closet. such a lot down-low tales are morality stories within which black males are both predators who probability infecting their unsuspecting woman companions with HIV or sufferers of a pathological black tradition that repudiates overtly homosexual identities. In either situations, down-low narratives depict black males as sexually risky, duplicitous, promiscuous, and contaminated.

In Nobody is meant to Know, C. Riley Snorton strains the emergence and move of the down low in modern media and pop culture to teach how those portrayals make stronger troubling perceptions of black sexuality. transforming Eve Sedgwick’s idea of the “glass closet,” Snorton advances a brand new thought of such representations during which black sexuality is marked via hypervisibility and confinement, spectacle and hypothesis. via shut readings of stories, song, videos, tv, and gossip blogs, Nobody is meant to understand explores the modern family tree, which means, and capabilities of the down low.

Snorton examines how the down low hyperlinks blackness and queerness within the renowned mind's eye and the way the down low is only one instance of ways media and pop culture surveil and police black sexuality. figures corresponding to Ma Rainey, Bishop Eddie L. lengthy, J. L. King, and may Smith, he eventually contends that down-low narratives display the bounds of present understandings of black sexuality.

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