Behind the Masque Podcast

Behind the Masque is a podcast about the performance of art and of the human condition. Behind the Masque is presented and produced by Dom and the beat is by Yung Kartz. Below is the script for episode one.

 

Intro: I am your host Dom, checking in from Greensboro North Carolina and you are listening to Behind the Masque, the podcast about performance of art and the self. Today we will be talking about the poem “Dinosaurs in the Hood” by Danez Smith and the performance of black bodies.

 

*Dom reading "Dinosaurs in the Hood" *

 

When we think about black bodies in the realm of performance, we often think a black person who is performing their work of art such as a dance, a play, a song. And this is a performance. When Danez or I recite this piece, we are performing. Everything that happens before, during and after this performance is also braided into the history of the performance. In the poem Danez is crafting their version of a black movie. They are specific on who should and should not be allowed in this film. This list includes the Wayan Brothers, Tarantino and Will Smith. These performers’ presence would braid in their personal history and career into this movie and Danez is clear in their distaste of these performers. However, Cesily Tyson should make a speech, “maybe two.” Viola Davis should “save the city in the last scene with a black fist afro pick through the last dinosaur’s long, cold-blood neck.”  Danez wants this movie to be a space for strong black women to perform for the audience and perform themselves. Cesily Tyson and Viola Davis are invited to perform their individualistic versions of what it means to be black and a woman in America. They have been called upon to perform natural hair, resilience and black girl magic in a movie that “cannot be dismissed because of its cats or its audience.” It is in this double feature presentation that we as viewers are invited to perform the art of listening. A task that is easy to perform for others and not for ourselves. To perform listening for others we have the image in mind that we assume others want: a nodding head, eye contact, an occasional mmhhhm. But Danez wants the real deal. They want the performance of listening to be authentic in that it too is braided into each of our life stories. And for me this poem has done just that thing. I first encountered this poem in 2018 and it has been a part of me ever since.

 

 

Outro: You have been listening to Behind the Masque with Dom.

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