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  • Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low by C. Riley Snorton
Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low, by C. Riley Snorton. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014, 199 pages.

When J. L. King exploded on the media scene in 2004 with a best-seller on same-sex loving black men who were married, America was abuzz as these same men were blamed for the rise of HIV-AIDS among black women. On the heels of King’s sensationalism came much more sophisticated analysis, namely from the medical profession with David J. Malebranche’s data-driven interventions. With much of the brouhaha in our rearview, C. Riley Snorton’s book revisits these issues of sexuality, race, black masculinity, and gender, drawing the astute conclusion that the down low hysterics were tied per usual to black sexuality in general as spectacle and as stigmatized in the white imagination. Bringing a wealth of scholarship, popular culture, and media representations to table for dissection, Snorton’s incisive analysis smashes the “glass closet” that black men and women have been assigned. A must read for those interested in black masculinity and gender and sexuality studies.



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