From the onset of colonialism, Western scientific and philosophical discourses produced constructions of blackness aimed at depriving black people from their subjectivity as well as at providing a moral justification for their enslavement and exploitation. These constructs were mainly based on the sexualisation of black women, whose bodies and sexuality were commodified to serve both the sexual and economic demands of white slave owners. After the abolition of slavery, the myths about black womanhood were perpetuated and are currently manifested through stereotyped representations that continue to situate black women in the field of an excessive sexuality. These images are central to the maintenance of a politics of domination, as they provide an ideological legitimisation of race, class and gender oppression. For this reason, black feminists have emphasised the need to find new representations that will provide black women with positive models of identification. This article analyses three poetry collections by Afro-Caribbean poet Grace Nichols, in order to explore the diverse strategies through which she represents black women as empowered subjects of their own her stories. Nichols’s revaluation of black womanhood is mainly attained through the appropriation of black women’s bodies and sexuality as a source of power and pleasure in the context of Afro-Caribbean culture.
Nichols, Grace; Mujeres negras; Imagen de la mujer; Sexualidad; Literatura caribeña; Guyana