Kemi Adeyemi examines how Black queer women use the queer dance floor to articulate relationships to themselves, the Black queer community, and gentrifying neighborhoods in Chicago.
In Feels Right Kemi Adeyemi presents an ethnography of how black queer women in Chicago use dance to assert their physical and affective rights to the city. Adeyemi stages the book in queer dance parties in gentrifying neighborhoods, where good feelings are good business. But feeling good is elusive for black queer women whose nightlives are undercut by white people, heterosexuality, neoliberal capitalism, burnout, and other buzzkills. Adeyemi documents how black queer women respond to these conditions: how they destroy DJ booths, argue with one another, dance slowly, and stop partying altogether. Their practices complicate our expectations that life at night, on the queer dance floor, or among black queer community simply feels good. Adeyemi’s framework of “feeling right” instead offers a closer, kinesthetic look at how black queer women adroitly manage feeling itself as a complex right they should be afforded in cities that violently structure their movements and energies. What emerges in Feels Right is a sensorial portrait of the critical, black queer geographies and collectivities that emerge in social dance settings and in the broader neoliberal city.