Men’s Love Stories

Black men loving black men is the revolutionary act [1]

Telling personal narratives does something in the social world.  Personal narratives participate in the ongoing rhythm of people’s lives as a reflection of their social organization and cultural values. [2]

The Adodi project was a six-year ethnography of a collective of Men of African descent who identify as same-gender-loving men who gather annually and perform rituals from various African traditions as a way of affirming themselves. The audio project is an assemblage of narratives from a workshop titled “Telling First Love Stories” where the men recorded each others’ narrative of first loves. Situated in the belief that personal narratives are indeed transformative, the audio narratives performs a “rupture” in that the men are subjects speaking for themselves instead of objects being spoken for. In this sonic project, one will witness, how through the swapping of personal stories, an affirming space is created that allows for a freeing of the tongue, — a sacred space formed through the “telling” in their own utterances as they attempt to make sense of their own lives.

“Telling First Love Stories” is a participatory and promissory performance. Reflecting on Langielliers’ statement above, that narratives do “something in the social world”, the “doing” is not just listening, but rather invitations to a dialogue, asking the listener to think, to reflect, to do. The sonic tones of the men’s’ voices exemplify the haunted nature of performance.
A haunting that is persistent, contested and infectious, that will challenge the listeners to make sense of their own personhood as they partake in daily life. It is also that very same haunted nature that extends a promise, “not because it promise possible change,” as Pollock opines, “it is a contract with possibility: with imagining what might be, could be, should be.”[3] (2)

“Telling First Love Stories” is a rupture allowing men of African descent who love other men to speak. To share one of their many stories that one may not hear in mainstream discourse. The audio narratives you will hear point to poignant intimate moments about love, pain, desire and survival of living at an intersection of marginality as it is about disruption and speaking to power.

[1]Riggs, Marlon T. Tongues Untied. United States: M. Riggs, 1989.

[2] Langellier, K. M. Personal narratives: Perspectives on theory and research. Text and Performance Quarterly.9 (1989): 261. Print.

[3] Pollock, Della. Remembering: Oral History Performance. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. Print.