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In Session: Social Justice and Connectivities: Dance in/beyond Contemporary Asia
2: “Titos of Manila: A Queer of Color and Feminist Analysis of Filipinx Hip-hop Spaces”
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
3:00pm – 4:30pm EDT
J. Lorenzo Perillo
University of Hawaii at Manoa, United States
In the past decades, a burgeoning literature has explored Asian nightlife as a key space for performing queer and racial subjectivities. Heteronormative bars and nightlife, like the underground Hip-hop scene, are often omitted from this literature, missing how these spaces shape not only queer performance but also complex processes of belonging. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork in Manila in 2015, I analyze how historically marginalized queer Filipinx dancers transform circuits of competition into nurturing spaces in which to express alternatives to the colonial ties between racialized movement, aggressiveness, and masculinity on the dance floor. I suggest that Filipinx studies concepts are amplified by their articulation with Black studies, namely what Thomas DeFrantz conceptualizes as “queer corporeal orature” (QCO). By highlighting QCO from a Filipinx viewpoint, I can analyze and explain articulations of “resistant queer failures and potentiality through non-normative expression.” I argue that Filipinxs use racialized movement as affective queer labor to bridge struggles of gender injustices with racial injustices. By their disparate, yet connected approaches to the repertoire and commercial industries, and against the backdrop of the struggle to pass the Philippine’s anti-discrimination bill, HB 4982, Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) Equality Act, queer Filipinxs not only challenge the prevailing concepts of the “cypher,” or the social-cultural space of Hip-hop dance, as a Western, hypermasculine, and binary-gendered space but also give rise to alternative aesthetics and resolve tensions around the Filipinx dancing body as an agent of nation-building.