restricted access Conclusion. Sycorax’s Power of Revision: Reconstructing Black Women’s Counternarratives
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

 Conclusion Sycorax’s Power of Revision Reconstructing Black Women’s Counternarratives You know who the real tempest is, don’t you? The real storm? Is our mother Sycorax. —Nalo Hopkinson’s “Shift” We want to be our own monsters. —Walidah Imarisha The 2016 release of Beyoncé’s audiovisual album Lemonade heightens the need for the development of a black women’s horror aesthetic .The visuals are suffused with the presence of Santeria’s orishas, Vodou’s loas, and West African monstrous goddesses such as Mami Wata. The chapter “Anger” features the words of poet Warsan Shire being read by Beyoncé over the black and white visuals featuring a circle of black women dressed in white and writhing in the manner of one large, amorphous being. The audiovisual construction focuses on the problematic indistinguishability of one black woman from another by those who render them invisible and/or inconsequential. Though the stanza I am most interested in focuses on the infidelity of the Beyoncé character’s lover, it alludes to the larger intracommunal implications of failing to see black women as  Searching for Sycorax individuals. Beyoncé reads: “If this what you truly want. I can wear her skin . . . over mine.” This interlude is easily misread as an act of violence against the other woman, forcing her to pay the adulterous price for her husband’s straying of affection. In a blogpost titled “Can Beyoncé Wear Another Woman’s Skin and Still Be a Feminist Icon?”writer and novelist Malaka Grant accuses Beyoncé of advocating for violence against women, making her no better than the many male artists who have made millions off of the literal blood of women. Grant ultimately declares that Beyoncé’s relationship with the other woman “is out of step.”1 Grant’s reading is understandable but also symptomatic of reading black women ’s creative texts without the consideration of horror frameworks. A consideration of horror frameworks and folklore of the African diaspora would immediately bring in a discussion of the Boo Hag.2 The Boo Hag is a monster from Gullah folklore that features a skinless woman who borrows the skin of others until she has absorbed their entire essence.3 Often misappropriated as a revision of the European vampire, the Boo Hag slips into one’s bedroom each night until a person has expired. The Boo Hag can be easily distracted by posting a straw broom by one’s bed. The Hag is compelled to count each piece of straw until the sun comes up and destroys her at dawn. The compulsion to wear another’s Fig. 10. Beyoncé, Lemonade (2016). Conclusion  skin, to use “her hands as gloves,”becomes a creative way in which the Beyoncé character expresses her anxiety at being replaceable and indistinguishable from any other woman her lover encounters. Hence,Beyoncé uses the grotesque and the terrifying to ultimately alleviate her fears—a coping mechanism denied black women for far too long. This text began as a search and rescue mission for Sycorax— but in truth this volume only reveals how she saves herself. Time and again Sycorax is misread as a tool of destruction, the misreading occurs in only reading one part of her destiny. Sycorax is also a powerful tool of reconstruction in particularly subversive frameworks. The first two chapters of the project analyzed how Sycorax has been consistently ignored—by both mainstream horror and black feminist theoretical frameworks. It proved easy to eschew such a mysterious and volatile concept as black women horror creators worry the lines of the already marginalized areas of inquiry, horror studies, and black feminist theory. These particular areas of study were blind to the reconstructive and revolutionary potential embodied in Sycorax. The final two chapters of this text explored those qualities in the articulation and develop of fluid fiction—a more apt term for the complexities found in black women’s genre writing.Sycorax’s most seditious delineation—with regard to Western hegemonic structures—solidifies in the fourth chapter’s enunciation of folkloric horror, a critical framework that highlights the authority black women take to articulate intersections of African ontologies and epistemologies as well as gender, culture, and the supernatural. The creators analyzed in that fourth chapter model the character Sycorax’s ability to proclaim authority and present it in such a way that directly contradicts white, male, Christian hegemonies. Finally, it is necessary to note that Sycorax herself exists beyond the boundary of death—in fact, it is as a spiritual ancestor that...


pdf