THE DRAG AESTHETIC OF LANGSTON HUGHES | Erin Blakemore via JSTOR
How would you describe Langston Hughes? He’s been referred to as the Harlem Renaissance’s greatest poet, a creative powerhouse who was, at one point in his career, “critically, the most abused poet in America.” But for Sam See, Hughes was something more than a jazz poet—he was a drag poet, too.
See tracks the ways in which Hughes documented and responded to Harlem’s teeming drag culture in the 1920s. As a gay man, Hughes took part in Harlem’s spectacular drag balls, places where all races, genders, and social classes mixed in “the safest and most visible space in which queers could…[convene and cross].” Hughes saw Harlem culture itself as an extended show with “poems that perform in drag…”