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Art Critique Essay Humanities Nonfiction Theory

Imagining Otherly: Performing Possible Black Trans Futures in Tangerine

By LaVelle Ridley, 2019

In this article the author focuses on Mya Taylor’s singing performance as Alexandra in the 2015 comedy-drama film Tangerine as a performative index of black trans women’s futures. Contextualizing her performance within the larger, dangerous world for most black trans sex workers that the film portrays largely without critique, the author argues that this scene offers Alexandra, and black trans viewers of the film, a brief reprieve from the anxieties of social and state oppression and allows her (and us) to breathe, and within that breath to imagine toward radical futures that resist the binary of resistance and compliance, to imagine otherly. The author draws on black trans studies, black feminist theory, and black cultural and media studies to articulate how this film as a unique and crucial moment of black trans cultural production also offers us a key moment in theorizing black trans epistemology.

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