UW communication arts professor launches books exploring blackness, gender performance


On Wednesday, the department of communication arts hosted a book launch for UW communication arts associate professor Naila Keleta-Mae to celebrate the release of her two new books, Beyoncé and Beyond, and Performing Female Blackness.

Beyoncé and Beyond, published by Routledge, focuses on American singer-songwriter Beyoncé’s career from 2013-2016, using her releases from that period (her debut visual album Beyoncé, the video and live performance of “Formation”, and her second visual album Lemonade) to explain how the artist “brought 21st century feminism into the mainstream through layered explorations of female blackness”.  Performing Female Blackness, published by WLU Press, explores how public and private performance of female blackness reveal the fact that “perpetual performance” forces those who are female and Black to always be figuratively on stage.

Keleta-Mae’s work has long explored themes of blackness, femininity, and the relationship between them. Last year, Keleta-Mae received a UWaterloo Arts Award for Excellence in Research commemorating her work in Black Expressive Culture and Black Feminisms. Keleta-Mae is also a Dorothy Killam fellow, a multi-disciplinary artist and the principal investigator of Black and Free, an artistic and academic endeavour seeking to explore and expand on what themes of blackness and freedom might mean to the public.

The books can be found for purchase from their respective publishers.