While I am not opposed to the idea of re-incarnating Wilde from a African American perspective, I do find this poster questionable. This imagery is very reminiscent of the caricatured theatrical and entertainment venue ephemera of the interwar period when Harlem was in vogue, but racism and racialism very much alive. I know I suffer from racial paranoia when it comes to visual culture but all too often imagery that is meant to valorize African Americans is too reminiscent of pejorative imagery.
I recently gave a talk at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts about the film Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash. It is an amazing film – it is definitely in my Top 10 list of all time favorites. So I thought I would share this recent video about the Gullah who are the formerly enslaved Africans featured in the film.