Monday, July 6, 2015

Cultural Signifiers in Cornrows and Cornfields

African American cultural signifiers constitute distinguishing features of black artistic expression. Cultural signifiers are those people, places, activities, and things that writers and other artists present that link or refer to a broader system or discourse community. The uses of multiple cultural signifiers  assist in making a work recognizably African American.

Part of the resonance of Celeste Doaks's  volume Cornrows and Cornfields relates to her use of a wide range of African American cultural signifiers throughout the volume. What follows is an alphabetized list of just 30 signifiers with page numbers from her book.

A Love Supreme (53)
A.M.E. Church (34)
Bronzeville (22)
Cornrows (cover, 15)
Diana (68) 
Don Cornelius (22-23)
Ernie Banks (33) 
Godfather of Soul (22)
Gordon from Sesame Street (57)
His Eye is On the Sparrow (24)
Holly Robinson-Peete (57)
King of Pop (22, 71)
Lee Elder (65) 
Mahogany (18)
Michael Jackson (68)
Michelle Obama (34)
Motown (21)
Naima (53)
New Edition (17)
Richard Pryor (53-54)
Right On! (15)
Robert Hayden (30)
Soul Train (22)
South Side (22) 
Tiger Woods (65)  
TuPac (24)
Vaughan Mason & Crew (70)
Walter Payton (25)
W. E. B. Du Bois (41)
Whitney (46)

The value of 'Cornrows and Cornfields'
Celeste Doaks's Father-Daughter poems
Select list of debut collections by African American poets, 2000 - 2015
The Cast of Characters referenced in Jason McCall's Dear Hero,   

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