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Loving Fast Tailed Black Girls: Queen Sugar, Southern Black Girlhood, and Social Media Misogynoir

Fri, November 9, 4:00 to 5:45pm, Westin Peachtree, Floor: Twelfth, Piedmont 1 (Twelfth)


Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar captures the beauty and sensuality of love in many ways—between siblings, between mother and child, between partners, between lovers. One of the most captivating instances of budding romance is between Micah West (Charley Bordelon’s 15-year-old son) and family friend, Keke.
Despite its digital beginnings on social media, their connection shows promise for young fierce love reminiscent of Hurston’s romance between Janie Crawford and Tea Cake in Their Eyes Were Watching God. However, paralleling discourses about Black girls that permeate scholarly and cultural analyses, social media commentators characterized Keke as a flirty, wise, “fast girl” who aggressively pursues Micah and “moves too fast” for her shy beau. This essay engages the cultural attitudes towards “fast tailed girls” like Keke that frame the discourses around Black girls’ coming-of-age experiences with love and sexuality. I argue that the conversation surrounding Keke, especially as a dark-complexioned girl, represents a cultural attitude of misogynoir that impedes Black girls’ ability to love themselves or others fully. I contend that her “fastness” should, instead, be recapitulated as black girl magic. Using Hurston’s Janie Crawford and Keke, I further contemporary discussions of Black girlhood, sexuality, and love.


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