‘Here’s a Chance to Dance our Way Out of our Constrictions’: P-Funk’s Black Masculinity and the Performance of Imaginative Freedom” considers the ways that George Clinton’s two funk projects, Parliament and Funkadelic, create new spaces for nonnormative heterosexuality and creative production. I explore issues of embodiment , sexual fluidity, and community in P-Funk’s iconography, lyrics and sound and then consider ways that black male fans have gained a sense of imaginative freedom from their music. P-Funk’s solidly funking music, hallucinatory and often politicized music, experimental cover art and wildly threatrical stage shows create a new a queer space for black heterosexual men. Most significantly, P-Funk’s music explores black experience, particularly bodily, sexual and sensual experience at points of ambiguity, vulnerability, pain, desire, and laughter, using tools of music that speak to their listeners individually and internally, as well as collectively. This power to harness emotionally strong and sometimes inchoate feeling had a powerful effect on its audience—prompting some to find unity and empathy with other black men.
performance, masculinity, non-normative heterosexuality, funk
Copyright © 2011 Francesca T. Royster