The actor Antonio Fargas is Puerto Rican



You can tell where black people are at any given point in history by our music.

african american proverb1

“What”, asks the Afro-British sociologist Stuart Hall in an essay, “is actually 'the black' in black pop culture”?2 What qualifies an artistic practice as black? Hall points out certain peculiarities of representation in which blacks, black communities and traditions appear and are represented in popular culture: He counts among the specific figures and repertoires - no matter how deformed, appropriated or inauthentic they may be - in addition to expressivity , the emphasis on the verbal as well as the rich production of counter-narratives, especially the musicality and the metaphorical use of musical vocabulary. Here black popular culture, even within the mixed, contradicting, and mythical forms of popular mainstream culture, brought elements of a different discourse to the surface - different ways of life, different traditions of representation. Pushed out of the logocentric world, the people of the black diaspora would also have found the deep structure of their cultural life in music. According to Hall, this goes hand in hand with the fact that in popular black culture, style itself has become the subject of events and the body is often treated as if it were the only cultural capital.

At the same time, for Hall, who came to England from Jamaica as a young man in the 1950s, being black is neither a freely chosen nor a self-developed identity. Identity does not result naturally from the cultural affiliation to a certain group, identity is derived more from what one is not. You're black because you're not white. Identity therefore means above all to be identified as other by others. It is an attribution that you do not determine yourself. In a second step, identity then includes the process of creating your own position within this positioning - to identify yourself. For Hall it is crucial to understand this identification process as an open one that produces positions that are not timeless, but can be permanent. Just as “black identity” is not to be understood as a perfect historical fact that is only then represented by new cultural practices, but as one that is constantly and ceaselessly in production, and itself within, not constituted outside of representation, so being black as a political identity for Hall consists in living identity in difference, recognizing that all are composed of many social identities, not of a single one. He therefore emphatically advocates paying attention to the diversity of black experience, also because there are no pure forms at all in black popular culture - as influenced by the African origins and the conditions of the diaspora at the same time and to the same extent. These are always the product of a partial synchronization, a confluence of more than one cultural tradition and the negotiation of dominant and subordinate positions. The signifier “black” in the term “black popular culture” thus represents the sign of difference within this culture. When Hall combats the attributed black otherness and advocates a politics of culture and identity in which the shared experiences and not the ancestors are emphasized, he does so out of the conviction that a black essence does not even exist.

Hall suggests understanding the relationship between past and present as an imaginary reconstruction, and this is particularly true of film.

I have been trying to speak of identity as constituted, not outside but within representation; and hence of cinema, not as a second-order mirror held up to reflect what already exists, but as a form of representation which is able to constitute us as new kinds of subjects, and thereby enable us to discover who we are. Communities [...] are to be distinguished, not by their falsity / genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined. This is the vocation of a modern Caribbean cinema: by allowing us to see and recognize the different parts and histories of ourselves, to construct those points of identification, those positionalities we call «a cultural identity».3

So if, as Hall claims, the deep structure of the cultural life of the black diaspora is to be found in music and its cinema - in this specific case Hall called "Caribbean cinema"4 - constantly re-imagining your own image in your own style, then it can be assumed that the music plays an important role, sometimes even embodies the deeper structure of the film itself.

As an example, Michael Schultz ’ Car Wash (USA 1976), a strange hybrid of mainstream and independent cinema that allows for different identities - in a playful, parodic, thoroughly clever, but at the same time deliberately stereotyping, popular and contradicting way, and its form, movement and emotional landscape completely from dictated to the music.5 Richard Dyer even speaks of a black musical.6 Narration, characters and dialogues in Car Wash are grouped around the disco radio station KGYS, which provides sound to the car wash in Los Angeles, whose mostly black staff we accompany for a day. With one exception, the musical numbers - in order to record Dyer's musical idea - can be assigned diegetically: Either the music comes from the radio or it is played by the characters, for example when Floyd and Lloyd perform their show act with singing and tap dancing to the others Duane / Abdullah plays the saxophone for himself during the lunch break. However, it's not the diegetic motivation behind the numbers that mattered to Dyer Car Wash differs from a “white” musical - rather, the difference lies in the importance of the numbers for the narration and the place the music has in the lives of the characters. The dialectic of narration and number, of coercion and liberation, which predominates in the musical of classic Hollywood, is missing; the latter in particular does not seem possible. Here the "real" problems of everyday life in the imagined world, the numbers, are by no means inverted into their opposite. Here, the world marked by privation is not opposed to an idealized one. The emphasis on the difference between what is and what could be is completely absent. In this respect, the music is in Car Wash not the bearer of a utopia, but rather serves the characters as a playful means of shaping everyday life or an opportunity to express their own personality. You can always fall back on the music whenever you need it, whenever you want. Diving into and reappearing from music does not mean the stereotypical construction of black musicality (“All blacks have rhythm in their blood”), but rather the active use of the music. This connects people as much as they are connected by the music itself. Which in turn has a socio-political note. The fact that a radio station occupies the musical center also makes sense for a black film. As Nelson George writes:

Radio has historically been so intimately connected with the consciousness of blacks that it remained their primary source of entertainment and information well into the age of television. Even in today’s VCRand CD-filled era, black radio plays a huge role in shaping black taste and opinion - when it remembers its black audience.7

In his essay "Repetition as a Figure of Black Culture"8 James A. Snead argues that European culture tends to emphasize linearity while obscuring repetition and circularity. In black culture, however, the latter have a firm place: “In European culture, repetition must be seen to be not just circulation and flow but accumulation and growth. In black culture, the thing (the ritual, the dance, the beat) is ‹there for you to pick it up when you come back to get it›. "9 It is precisely this principle that Car Wash structured. In contrast to the classic Hollywood musical, the repetitions in the form of reprises are by no means brought to the fore, for example to indicate a change in the narration or to give the signal at the end of the show when the previous numbers are played again in a medley in the grand finale to ultimately end in a reunification of all couples. Rather, the repetitions follow in Car Wash a far less formal principle: They are not constantly being displayed with roaring, they simply appear all the time. In Car Wash the disco dance radio station KGYS is considered to be the thing: It is on the air continuously - although we do not always hear it, we are sure of it - sometimes the same music is repeated, the same sayings are repeated. JB, the first of the DJs, even speaks of the fact that the music is not just background music, but rather that it haunts the listeners 'heads: “The JB is here, rappin' in your ear / The JB's not on your radio / Your radio's not really on. "

The characters in the film make use of it thing and leave it behind again. This is exactly how narration works. Once the characters literally dive into the soundtrack: Mr. B, the white owner of the car wash, complains to the white cashier Marsha about the music: "You'd think just once they'd like to hear Frank Sinatra, Perry Como." Encouraged by Marsha, he finally looks for a radio station with music that suits his taste. The reaction of the black workers: first loud protests, then suddenly they continue working in slow motion. For them, music also fulfills the function of keeping the machine running: If the right music is missing, daily work suffers. Conversely, in the scene in which the title track is played for the first time, the entire workforce moves in time with the music: Floyd and Lloyd practice their cabaret steps while they operate the steam syringe; Hippo shakes his wobbly body and Lindy his bum as they lean into the car to vacuum; Geronimo, on the other hand, dances a boogie around the car with the rag in hand. In this form of bricolage10 in which everyday objects become parts of the performance, reference is pointedly pointed in the end credits: The radio DJ introduces all workers as members of a music group, with the work utensils being presented directly as instruments: “Dig the players on the session: blowing on steam guns, Floyd and Lloyd - Darrow Igus and De Wayne Jessie; sucking it up on the vacuum, Hippo - James Spinks - and Lindy - Antonio Fargas. "

The music serves the characters in Car Wash also as a mediator of feelings. When, for example, the prostitute Marlene calls a supposed friend, she whispers his text (“I'm gonna die, baby, my whole world stops”) parallel to the piece currently being played on the radio, thus anticipating the further course - the so-called friend has her given a wrong number. TC, who follows the radio broadcasts most closely (because he wants to win free tickets to a concert in a recognize-the-tune competition to perform Mona, the waitress at the restaurant across the street), once uses the song lines from I want to get next to youto convince his crush: by speaking the lyrics in sync with the song, he makes use of the thingto express his feelings and to secure his date.

How complex Car Wash who uses music for narrative purposes is shown by I want to get next to you very clearly. TC conjures up Mona to the sounds of him, Hippo stares longingly at Marlene, while Charlene throws her friend Scrugg's suitcase out of the car and the cashier Marsha gets ready for her date with the customer Kenny. If all these people are connected by the longing soul song, the respective relationships differ greatly: While the romance of TC and Mona corresponds to the spirit of the piece, Hippo has to pay for an affair with Marlene. Charlene, in turn, rejects Scruggs, and Marsha's relationship with Kenny remains open: We hear a honking sound as she leaves the car wash, suggesting he's waiting for her, but we don't see her getting into Kenny's car . Image and music support each other when we see Marlene's legs with Hippo's eyes to the lines of the song “Dreams of you and I go sailing by” and she returns his gaze to “whenever your eyes meet mine” before turning to “you're so good »contemptuously averted. When it goes on to say “... and girl, you make me feel so ...”, the camera zooms in on Hippo, who after the “so” is gleefully biting into a hamburger. Image and music are cut together in such a way that the feelings of the characters are directly and ambiguously tied to the music. The connection is literal (eye contact and hunger are visualized together), expressive (the intensity of Hippo's desires), ironic (romanticizing the client-prostitute relationship on his part), and contradicting (their contempt versus the song's hymn-adoration). Such diverse interplay of sound and image runs consistently through the entire film.

In the previously mentioned Car Wash-Sequence, for example, the tempo and phrasing of the music correspond exactly to the actions in the picture - every change in the music is followed by a picture cut - and when, towards the end of the piece, the instrumental intermediate section comes when TC sees Mona through a windshield, it can be provocative - Funky bass playing is just as directly related to TC's emotional landscape as the fact that Mona's gait - seen through TC's eyes - is shown slightly slowed down and is therefore particularly provocative. The song Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is in turn, accompanied Hippo, who hands over his beloved radio for Marlene's love services without words, Irwin, who reads Mao to the workers, Mr. B, who complains to Marsha that business is not going well, as well as the confrontation between Lindy and Abdullah, Lindy said the latter with the words "Is the only thing you're good at shooting off your mouth?" provoked - these are all variations of differently positioned money relationships or of "cheap" speech - "talk is cheap" is what it says in the song, prominently marked by brass. Zig Zag is introduced as a song “for all surfers out there, from Malibu to Newport Beach”, but then only accompanies Calvin while skateboarding - until he falls off the board, parallel to the climax of the music.11

The chatting of the KGYS moderators is also repeatedly interlinked with the picture. For example, when the heavy hippo chugs his little moped to the car wash in the morning while the moderator talks about low-calorie substitutes. Or when Goody takes revenge on Chuko for his prank on Marsha - he caught the scolding - by stuffing Tabasco pods into Chuko's sandwich, the following song is introduced on the radio with "Let's see if this goodie is hot enough for you".

KGYS is a constant reference point for both the characters and the film. The repetitive structure suggests a circularity that also characterizes many of the narrative threads. While several characters do not go through a narrative development, things present themselves for those in whom one can be identified, in the end the same as at the beginning: Loretta, who wants Justin to go back to school, breaks with him first, but comes on End back; the prostitute Marlene hopes to be able to leave her present life behind through Joe, but in the end she is as lonely as before; Irwin, who absolutely wants to identify with the workers, will eventually follow in his father's footsteps; The former prisoner Lonnie, who was entrusted by Mr. B with opening and locking the car wash, was once again told that the timing was unfavorable when he tried to talk to his boss at the end. Other narrative threads end unsolved or ambivalent: Will the audition to which Floyd and Lloyd say goodbye in the evening bring the duo's breakthrough? Will Kenny be there for Marsha? Will TC and Mona get together at the joint concert, and if so, why should the relationship be of a more permanent nature this time - after all, they dated each other before? Why should Mr. B keep his promise this time? The actual changes are only negative: Hippo is rid of his beloved radio; Scruggs disappears alone with the suitcase Charlene thrown at his feet; Abdullah is fired and when he tries to steal the daily income from the car wash in revenge, he is surprised by Lonnie.

In the context of black literature, Blyden Jackson suggests that in "the typical Negro novel, after all the sound and fury dies, one finds things substantially as they were when all the commotion began".12 According to Jackson, such temporal circularity is also linked to the spatial constraint in the Afro-American narratives: “All Negro fiction tends to conceive of its physical world as a sharp dichotomy, with the ghetto as its central figure and its symbolic truth, and with all else comprising a non-ghetto which throws into high relief the ghetto itself as the fundamental fact of life for Negroes as a group. "13 In other words, blacks cannot change their situation. This also applies to Car Wash. We see figures leaving the car wash in the evening after their work, but we know that they are here again the next day; thanks to Lonnie, maybe Abdullah will be able to come back too. The customers of the car wash, on the other hand, only stop occasionally on their way from one place to another, and they are all white.14

To return to Hall's remark about the pronounced body culture of the black diaspora, the film draws an explicit dividing line between white and black on another level: while whites cannot deal with body excretions, blacks are relaxed about them. The White Scruggs has a single one-night stand and his penis is itching - Geronimo gives him wordy advice. Miss Beverly Hills manages to stop just in time before her son pukes up in the car; As soon as she had the car cleaned in the car wash and complained loudly about a small stain on the door, the son still throws up. The man who TC and Hippo mistakenly think is the crazy soda bottle bomber they talk about on the radio all the time, it turns out, only uses his bottle for a urine sample - as the bottle after a tumultuous car chase If the ground falls and shatters, Charlie only says to Lonnie: "I just don't understand white folks." Marlene, in turn, replies to Miss Beverly Hills when she complains about the cheap perfume on the toilet: "It's supposed to smell, lady, it's a toilet!" This symbolic opposition between blacks and whites means two things: First, that blacks are in contact with their bodies and whites are uptight in this regard. Second, black people are nothing more than their bodies. Just as the musical numbers do not suspend everyday life, do not solve the characters' problems and the experiences of the music do not lead to any fundamental changes in the situation, the motif of the body excretions also helps with that Car Wash on a narrative and symbolic level at the same time circularity and standstill, continuity and repetition suggests: The constant recurrence of the topic stands in the way of the status quo. What we see are variations of what is always the same.

Car Wash is by no means alone when it comes to the use of the thing goes. The film is just one particularly consistent example of this. Dudley Murphy's short film can be seen as an early example St. Louis Blues (USA 1929) cite. It is intended to promote the record of the same name St. Louis Blues the only film by black jazz great Bessie Smith, and basically it is a 17 minute long precursor to the video clip. It tells the story of Bessie, who catches her faithless husband Jimmy in the arms of another woman. After a brief scuffle, Bessie throws the woman out and asks Jimmy to stay with her. Nevertheless, he leaves Bessie, whereupon she, kneeling on the floor and a glass of gin in hand, sings her St. Louis blues. “My man has got a heart like a rock ...” After a cut (via Schwarzblende), she sits singing at the bar in a nightclub, a glass of gin in her hand. A band accompanies the song, and guests join in, sing the choir for a solo, although it remains unclear whether Bessie is giving a show for the others or whether she is simply singing her worries off her body, whether she is the jazz singer Bessie Smith or simply who is forsaken Bessie. The song ends when Jimmy enters the club, probably days, maybe hours, or even months, after he left. There is a brief reunion, but after he has stolen from Bessie and made off again, she takes up the song again, in a close-up and off-screen accompanied by a choir. The song is whatever is there, for both Bessie (Smith) and the choir in the film and for the cinema audience. By blurring clear space and time coordinates - emphasizing the endless cycle of abuse of love - the film constructs both the blues and Bessie as a star and black culture as cyclical.15

In House party (Reginald Hudlin, USA 1990) hip-hop and funk music is always available. All the young black men central to the film are able to improvise a rap whenever necessary. At a party, Kid and Play express their friendship through rivalry in rapping. Kid, who later ends up in jail for a short time, uses a rap to keep his cellmates from raping him. This is where the film differs from «white» musicals, where the characters are also absorbed in a song, but this is not a recurring moment in their cultural life. When the guys in House party Rap for friendship or defense, then they work with the music they hear all the time.

Being immersed in the music, the close connection between people and the music, their control over the music can also be expressed on an abstract level, for example when House party Sudden snippets of music served that cannot be located in the Diegesis, but clearly express feelings corresponding to the cultural mode of the characters. When Kid comes home from school - accompanied by a hip-hop beat - and gropes in the mailbox to see whether the management has already sent his father a note about his brawl, Kids makes a rhythmic, hectic search motion with his hand from simulated a typical funk guitar riff - it has outgrown the ever present hip-hop piece and at the same time marks its end. Because when the Kid opens the front door, another regime begins, «his» music has to take a back seat. The elderly are more in favor of soul, as a running gag of the film emphasizes: the elderly watch TV in every apartment, the same TV advertisement for a best-of-soul album. While the boys are connected through funk and rap, the parent generation owns the soul. The cultural identity of people is determined by music.

Two other examples show how lively music can sometimes be in this universe House party: When the P-Funk musician George Clinton (Funkadelic, Parliament) hired himself out in a small supporting role as a DJ at a medium-sized garden party and plucked records out of his suitcase with the announcement "Here's another dusty one for your dusties" to suddenly remove dust to blow the record before he puts the needle on the vinyl, or when the youngsters at their party play rap with the choir “Da roof is on fire. We don’t need no water. Let the motherfucker burn »while bad boys set about setting fire to the house, then these are not just fine examples of the so-called signifyin (g),16 in which the music takes on the function of commentary or dialogue. Music is taken very seriously in an easy way and can make a difference.

Ultimately, however, also apply to St. Louis Blues and House party Blyden Jackson's ideas of the simultaneity of circularity and standstill as well as of continuity and repetition: In St. Louis Blues it is suggested that Bessie keeps returning to her husband. In House party Kid makes the decision to prefer Sidney Sharane, but the cycle of partying - being beaten by the father for coming home late remains. A vision of change does not exist in any of the films mentioned, and if so, it remains an unrealized fantasy. While talking about things that cannot be changed, the repetitive use of music indicates that things are constantly moving. A tense paradox. The one in another movie, Spike Lees Do the right thing (USA 1989), culminates in an escalation. Radio Raheem, one of the central figures, can always be seen with his boom box, from which the same music is always booming: Fight the power by Public Enemy. In contrast to Mister Señor Love Daddy, whose radio has a similar function as KGYS in Car Wash and who plays a wide range of traditional and contemporary black music, Radio Raheem is solely focused on his band and his piece. He uses music to construct his identity. He successfully challenges the Latin-listening Puerto Ricans to a boom box duel and refuses to turn down his music in Sal's pizzeria. Which leads to the final dispute in which Radio Raheem dies - for its music, for its promotion, for what music means for its identity.

Quoted in Nelson George, The Death ofRhythm & Blues, New York 1988, p. Xvi.

Stuart Hall, “What Is This ‹Black› in Black Popular Culture?”, In: Gina Dent (ed.), Black Popular Culture: A Project by Michele Wallace, Seattle 1992, pp. 21-33. Ü. d. Vf.

Stuart Hall, Cultural Identity and Cinematic Representation, in: Houston Baker, Jr. / Manthia Diawara / Ruth Lindeborg (eds.), Black British Cultural Studies: A Reader, Chicago 1996, p. 221.

Hall does not mention explicit films; it is to be assumed that he is primarily speaking of so-called independent black cinema, of filmmakers who link their art with political and cultural commitment. In any case, he is interested in “Caribbean cinema” as well as in the “emerging cinemas of Afro-Caribbean blacks in the“ diasporas ”of the West“ mainly to put their impetus, cultural identity and the practice of representation up for discussion. Nonetheless, his desire for a cinema that allows plural identities affects black cinema in general. Ibid., P. 210. - There is still relatively little (satisfactory) theory on black film. Either conceptualization and analysis take a back seat to the description of individual strategies, or passepartout definitions are created according to which a film is "black" as soon as a black producer, director, writer or actor is involved or the work appeals to or from a black audience related to the experience of black life (see e.g. Thomas Cripps, Black film as genre (Bloomington / London 1979, p. 3). Gladstone Yearwood in turn comprehends in Black Cinema Aesthetics: Issues in Independent Black Filmmaking (Ohio 1982) the "black cinema" as a cinema of difference and that under the aspect of the recoding of the standards perpetuated by the film industry. More recently, the old concept of representation (struggle for access to the system of representation and the attack on the marginalizing, stereotyping and fetishizing representations of black people by means of a "positive" counter-image) has given way to a more discursive understanding. Thus, Stuart Hall's emphasis on the politics of representation allows at least one epistemological classification of different strategies of Afro-American cinema and its critical reception. What remains is the impossibility of defining “blackness” in an essentialist-ontological way. The “black” in “black cinema” is not so much a declarative self-designation, it is rather a definition of the social majority, for which the filmmaker's skin color is sufficient as a unifying characteristic for coining the generalizing term.

As Car Wash Produced by Multi Universal in 1976, the blaxploitation wave had long since died down. It is true that Darius James leads the film in his standard work That's blaxploitation! Roots of the Baadasssss ’Tude (Rated X by an All-Whyte Jury) (New York 1995) still as a representative of the genre (p. 127), but one takes the formula that is commonly used as a model for blaxploitation Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss song (Melvin Van Peebles, USA 1970) to measure - a highly sexualized black man responds to violence with counter-violence and defeats a corrupt white establishment - would be Car Wash clearly not attributable to blaxploitation. Nevertheless is Car Wash not to be completely detached from blaxploitation. This film can also be described as an identity-creating B-cinema. This film is also aimed at a young, urban, (especially male) black audience, but at the same time makes offers to a white audience (no violence and only moderate sex, but a lot of style and music). This film is also set in a black one neighborhood in an inner city (here: L.A.). This film also works through a certain body politics and as a sensual combination of image and music. Also plays Car Wash ironically with stereotypes of blaxploitation: TC, for example, wears an exemplary Afro and dreams of being the first black superhero. The actor Antonio Fargas, on the other hand, who has played the petty crook in many blaxploitation films, whose failure seems clear from the start, but who is still trying to keep his dignity, embodies the funky Lindy here - also with great dignity. When Phyllis R. Klotman and Gloria J. Gibson director Michael Schultz are Hollywood black directors (Dictionnaire de 36 cinéastes noirs americains, in: Mark Reid et al. (Ed.), Le cinéma noir americain, Préfaces de Melvin Van Peebles et Michel Fabre, CinémAction No. 46, 1988. pp. 185-192, v. a. P. 187.), this has to do with the fact that Schultz showed little fear of contact with the (white) establishment and the popular early on - Schultz was the first black director on Broadway in 1969 (Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?, nominated for the Tony) and also shot several episodes for TV series such as Barretta and The Rockford Files -, secondly, that he has never closed himself off to conventionalized Hollywood narrative patterns. At the same time, Schultz repeatedly questioned black role models and images within this framework.

Richard Dyer, “Is Car Wash a musical? », in: Manthia Diawara (ed.), Black American Cinema, New York / London 1993. pp. 93-106.

George (see note 1), p. Xv.

James A. Snead, "Repetition as a Figure of Black Culture", in: Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (ed.), Black Literature and Literary Theory, New York / London 1984. pp. 59-79.

Snead 1984, p. 67.

For the technique of bricolage see Jane Feuer, The Hollywood Musical, London2 1993, pp. 3-7.

Which makes sense insofar as we see the scene from Irwin's point of view and the music picks up the pulse of the action, but at the same time reflects Irwin's associations: Together with Irwin, we anticipate Calvin's fall.

Blyden Jackson, "The Negro’s Image of His Universe as Reflected in His Fiction" in: ders., The Waiting Years: Essays on American Negro Literature, Baton Rouge 1976. pp. 92-102. (First published in 1960, quoted on p. 100.)

Ibid, p. 95.

Except for the dubious preacher Daddy Rich and his entourage, who have found their way out of the black ghetto through their money-based religion. The fact that in connection with Daddy Rich the only time a musical number corresponds to the conventions of the classic Hollywood musical, in that (without being necessarily motivated by the plot) an external stimulus animates the characters to make music and sing, makes sense insofar as Richs The ambition of the white world applies.

The list of black musicians who appear in films - mostly as leading figures - to sing their own songs is long. In addition to Bessie Smith, the following should be mentioned: Curtis Mayfield in Superfly (Gordon Parks, USA 1972); Jimmy Cliff in The Harder They Come (Perry Henzell, Jamaica 1973); Run-DMC, Kurtis Blow and Sheila E. in Krush groove (Michael Schultz, USA 1985), Kid’n’Play, George Clinton and Full Force in House party (Reginald Hudlin, USA 1990), Nathaniel Hall (Jungle Brothers) in Livin 'Large (Michael Schultz, USA 1992). The stars are usually introduced as part of the fictional “community”, from which they sometimes step out and become a star person before they reintegrate into the “community”.

The specific use of English in Black America is based on the distrust of its meaning, and accordingly vertical signification gives way to a horizontal signifyin (g), which focuses on the stretching, parodying, and questioning of linguistic signs, especially in social situations among men black folklore poses. The decisive factor in the figurative and implicative speech of Signifyin (g) is that the entire universe of discourse is always taken into account. Because the apparent meaning of the utterance differs from the real one; it just alludes to the actual meaning. See Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism, New York / Oxford 1988.

Reto Baumann
Born in 1970, is on the home stretch of his film studies Liz thesis at the University of Zurich and is also a sports and film editor at Weekly newspaper active. He is also working as a co-author on a documentary about Jo Siffert. Lives in Zurich.
(As of: 2018)
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