We have systematically been both embraced by yet outside of the schematic performance world. Blacks have been continually objectified by whites, their movements and bodies viewed and controlled and utilized, most often as valuable commodities. Although the overall value of the black body is known, never in history has it been thoroughly embraced. The black body, in particular the female black body, has been seen and treated as the ‘other’. Thus, the black body is both within the system, whole handedly shaping it, and without the system, ostracized.
Although blacks play a pivotal part of the economy, indeed the world economy, their role has been diminished and sexuality dually downplayed, yet used as a hotspot for others’ sexuality. The ideology of the Jezebel allowed for white sexuality to be viewed as untainted, untouched, and ‘pure’, nee the idea of ideal whiteness was born. Jezebel stood (and still represents) for the uprising example of ‘hot’ and wild, or ‘fast’ sexuality-the hyper sexual black woman. She stands as a warning story for what women should not be, yet remaining a free, shining source of female power. Because of this figure black female sexuality has been buried and went on undiscussed as black women strove to prove they were ‘good’ girls. Often times they strive to be ‘twice as good’ to gain the employment and respect of the same white male (or female) she was enslaved to (or who owned or controlled most business ventures). Yet still remaining an entity to be bought and sold.
In the world of dance this meant that her talents and know how were up for grabs as well. In the dance world blacks again fueled the white and overall economy by having illegitimate babies. Instead of being raped solely of the body in terms of carnal sex, it became rape of the body in terms of movements and thoughts. Those ideas, styles, and bodily expressions that expanded the dance world, could be seen as black women's intellectual and physical children. While all the while her sexuality remained under tight control. These things and the desire to own my own sexuality and black body led me to participating in Burlesque. Because black female sexuality has been a source of debate, interest, utilization, appropriated, and misunderstood for centuries I sought to (and still actively seek) to take back my own power over my body in this specialized dance genre.
By placing myself on the world stage and restructuring whole ideologies and prejudices surrounding and about black female sexuality. This is something that is vastly needed. Performers of color still fight against appropriation on the burlesque stage. We need a space to be ourselves and express our points-of-view; as women, performers [of color], as sexual beings, in our own right. This is needed now more than ever!
The Irresistible O is known as the Sepia Queen of Burlesque, the Black Prima Ballerina of Burlesque, and the Pin Up Queen. She is the 2015 Burlypicks Master of Voice, 2015 Miss Pin Up Perfection, and 2016 Miss Phobia Pin Up, and the Inaugural Miss HotWheels Pinup. She has been featured by Ohio burlesque, and the top blog I Gave My Body, an international tribute to Women of Color in Burlesque, Onyx Vintage Magazine, Burlesque Bible Magazine, Moxie Dolls Pinups, and Burlesque Magazine, and is a writer for Burlesque Bitch, and guest blog writer for Burlycon. She is this seasons cover model for Onxy Vintage Magazine, and a featured pin up in various magazines! O teaches the world reknown History of Performers of Color course, and actively teaches and discusses the absence of women of color in the pinup and rockabilly genres.