Marquis Bey – A Curator of Prophecies
By W!ZARD Studios
Tuesday, 18 October
I’ve been utterly enchanted by Walter Brueggemann’s 1978 book, The Prophetic Imagination. In it, this preeminent theologian helps us understand the role of the prophet: a truth-teller, whose ministry utilises grief to criticise the dominant order. In doing so, prophets energise those suffering under brutalisation and awaken us all to possibilities of life beyond what we know. Part of what the dominant order does to us all is stilt and stunt our imaginations. Brueggemann refers to this stunted imagination as the “royal consciousness”: our imagination is limited in the interests of the ruling elite. It does not have to be this way. Today, many of us understand that limited imagination through the imposition of gender, the stereotypes we fight against that limit how we as Black queer people can show up in the world and the arduous but necessary conversation and organising around abolition.
In their new book, Black Trans Feminism, Marquis Bey makes clear that even the identities we’ve come to hold dear need to be done away with since they have been fashioned under duress. Many of us are increasingly comfortable within these identities – myself included – but Marquis says that in the future of the Black Trans Feminist imagination, we won’t be Black or Trans or Man or Woman. We don’t yet know what we would be because our anchor for understanding ourselves in the world is relative to the world we live in. Marquis says we must lean into the terror of the unknown. Marquis was reluctant to accept my crowning of them as prophet in the order of Moses, but if the role of the prophet is to awaken us to possibilities beyond our imaginations and to energise us to action, then Marquis and Moses have much more in common than I’m willing to ignore. Our conversation today explores enchantment in the quotidian, the Black trans feminist imagination and poets and theorists as prophets.
This conversation was made possible with funding from the AZ Creative Fund.
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About Busy Being Black
Busy Being Black is an exploration and expression of quare liveliness and my guests are those who have learned to live, love and thrive at the intersection of their identities. Your support of the show means the world. Please leave a rating and a review and share these conversations far and wide. As we continue to work towards futures worthy of us all, my hope is that as many of you as possible understand Busy Being Black as a soft, tender and intellectually rigorous place for you to land.
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