The specter of the black fag: Parody, blackness, and hetero/homosexual b(r)others

E. Patrick Johnson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This essay investigates the ways in which three African American heterosexual males-Eddie Murphy, Damon Wayans, and David Alan Grier-appropriate signifiers of gayness to parody, stereotype, and repudiate black gay men. These performances are also attempts to circumscribe the boundaries of blackness, ultimately suggesting that “authentic” blackness is lodged within hegemonic black masculinity. Contrary to this desired effect, the essay demonstrates how these performers, in the act of repudiation, ironically and unwittingly queer heteronormative black masculinity, securing further the dialectic between heterosexuality and homosexuality. Finally, the essay argues that these performances manifest the black heterosexual male's melancholia, his refusal to grieve the loss of his sexual B(r)other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-234
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number2-4
StatePublished - Sep 23 2003


  • Authenticity
  • Blackness
  • Masculinity
  • Melancholia
  • Parody
  • Performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Psychology(all)


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