The point of underlying overdetermination—black cultural repertoires constituted from two directions at once—is perhaps more subversive than you think. It is to insist that in black popular culture, strictly speaking, ethnographically speaking, there are no pure forms at all. Always these forms are the product of partial synchronization, of engagement across cultural boundaries, of the confluence of more than one cultural tradition, of the negotiations of dominant and subordinate positions, of the subterranean strategies of recoding and transcoding, of critical signification, of signifying. Always these forms are impure, to some degree hybridized from a vernacular base. Thus, they must always be heard, not simply as a recovery of a lost dialogue bearing clues for the production of new musics . . . but as what they are—adaptations, molded to the mixed, contradictory, hybrid spaces of popular culture.
We inhabit these bags of muscle and fat and bones that are utilized in humanist narrative to demonstrate the incremental ethical development of a certain subject whom is not we. We leave the psychiatrist’s office like the figure in Remedios Varo’s painting Psicoanalista, with a little container of our true possible selves held out at arm’s length in a plastic bag.