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Vusumzi Nkomo

Abstract

Through Marx and Freud, scholar Frank Wilderson III asserts that ‘there is no self to be known,’ owing to the notion that the conceptual integrity of the Self relies on ‘outdated notions of a unitary self.’ I want to think about the implications of this provocation for Black subjectivity, and by extension take seriously David Marriot’s lament, ‘what do you do with an unconscious that appears to hate you?’ I intend to demonstrate this tragic relation between the Black imago and the Black image/portrait, as well as its dependence on a global consensus (or civil society’s collective unconscious) that regards the Black as an object (rather than subject/self) of enjoyment. At the risk of pushing this argument too far, I want to consider how Mario Moore, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and Cinga Samson’s Black subjects (and the worlds they inhabit) struggle against what Wilderson, by way of Marriot, describes as a phenomenon where ‘all sentient beings, Humans and Blacks, bond over the imago of the Black.’

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