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Smoke Lilies and Jade

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Euphoria Davis

on 6 May 2015

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Transcript of Smoke Lilies and Jade

Smoke, Lilies and Jade
By: Richard Bruce Nugent

Behind the Scenes
Main Characters
A black male that was born during the early 1900's. He suffers from conflicts that stem from the lost of family members, confusion of his sexuality, and being poor. He is also the main character of the text.
Alex's father, and cause of one of the first tragedies in the text. He died when Alex was six years old
Alex's Mother :
She is referenced as woman with an emotional barricade. This is evident with her response to her husband's death, and the emotional abuse she displays to her son. (pg. 34)
A black woman that is romantically involved with Alex. She is also involved in the confusion that Alex feels towards his sexuality.
A man of the white race that Alex is romantically involved with. He to is involved in the confusion that Alex feels towards his sexuality.

About the Author
Writer, Painter, and Illustrator, Richard Bruce Nugent, was recognized during the Harlem Renaissance era. Although there were many gay artists during this time, Nugent was one of the few who was out publicly. For thirty years straight, Nugent stood as the only African-American writer to expose, highlight, and discuss his homosexuality through print. The masses of Americans deemed Nugent responsible for shedding a creative light on the process of gay and black culture. After a long and plentiful career Nugent died at the age of 81 in the year of 1987, in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Modern Life
Blackness and Gayness are Still Political.
Bruce vs. Du Bois.
Homophobia in the Black Community.
Symbolic Meaning
The most prominent symbol expressed in
Smoke, Lilies and Jade
is actually the smoke.
The author says, "truly smoke was like imagination...."
However, our personal perception/assumption of "smoke" is symbolic in representing the confusion of the main character Alex
Are gay African American Males Accepted in the Black Community?
Published in November of 1926, Smoke, Lilies and Jade was the first short story by an African-American openly addressing homosexuality. Most would agree that some uniqueness of Nugent's piece stemmed from the ellipses used to separate each phrase. However, others would lean more towards the content which was discussed.
Smoke, Lilies and Jade
tells a story about a 19-year-old man, by the name of Alex, who meets, then falls in love with a partner of the same sex. Critics of the African-American establishment denounced this short story for, "perpetuating negative images of blacks."
Survey Time
"I don't have much to say besides it being dependent upon how a person is brought up. Put it like this, gays are acceptable because they're people too. For no reason should a person not be accepted into their own community due to sexuality. What may not be acceptable to some people are the actions of gays. So yeah I think African-American gays are accepted by black communities, but their actions are not."
- Morehouse Student

"They're tolerated but not accepted. Everyone is entitled to be with whoever they want but in a black community gay men are looked down upon as a "lesser man" due to, in most cases, their feminine ways."
- Morehouse Student

Survey Time
"Black men are accepted as members of the black community as friends and family, but typically aren't supported. Examples would be, a figure of entertainment, rappers, or athletes. For instance, here at Morehouse I come in contact with many gay people and see them as regular people, but I probably would not listen to a gay rapper because he may have content that I do not agree with."
- Morehouse Student

- Morehouse Student
Modern Representations:
Modern Representation
Edwin Bodney is a slam poet based in LA and is speaking of his first true relationship.
Nugent and Bodney both speak on their difficulty in understanding and dealing with love while both bieng black and gay.
Homosexuality in the black community
Unhealthy Relationships
Lack of proper representation in literature

Full transcript