Shadow and Myth: On Stranger Inside and Moonlight

  • Jared SextonEmail author


This chapter addresses Cheryl Dunye’s Stranger Inside (2001), a made-for-television film about a young black lesbian prisoner seeking her own incarcerated mother by transferring to a higher security facility. It explores Stranger within the context of Dunye’s meditation on the psycho-politics of black kinship as a matrix of disinheritance. Black female masculinity here questions the relation between a state-sanctioned interdiction of black kinship and the willingness to suffer or inflict violence to undo its effects. The racialized dislocation of embodiment, gender expression, and sexual practice serves also to upset any normative striving for coherent social identity, a point explored further in Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight (2016). The book closes with a critical reading of this Oscar-winning film that draws out its philosophical, even mythical qualities.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of African American StudiesUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA

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