I really like the way this story is reframed to focus on a queer black man as hero by this queer black jewish man*.
*Michael Twitty is a cook and scholar who focusses on the black jewish food traditions of America and the African diaspora. He has a book, goves good twitter, and could tell you exactly what ingredients were in a cake walk prize.
And this is why we need queer histories of jazz dance. Without them, it’s too easy for white people to position themselves as saviours ‘reviving’ the black dance of a doomed or negligent people. “Black gay men have incomparable strength and courage.” White people, it is not ok to position ourselves as ‘preserving’ black culture. Just get out of the goddamm way.
If you’re interested, queer black men’s experience in dance under slavery is one of Tommy DeFrantz’ research interests. His book ‘Dancing Many Drums’ has some good bits on this tooic.