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CoastLine: Scholar and Performer John-Paul Zaccarini on why artists need space devoid of the "white gaze" and what it means to be "produced as Black"

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Professor John-Paul Zaccarini performs his show, MixedRace MixTape

Imagine a space for artists in which the "white gaze" is not allowed. Professor John-Paul Zaccarini is creating FutureBlackSpace with just such protections. In this episode, we explore why. We also learn about intersectionality and what it means for him as a man who is reminded of his multiple marginalized identities each time he walks into white spaces.

Intersectionality. Some hear this term as a buzzword for “woke” politics. Others hear it as the umbrella justification for why past trauma equals current fragility. Still others have no idea what it actually means but imagine it might occupy territory adjacent to the idea called “microaggression”.

In 2015, intersectionality landed in the Oxford Dictionary – despite the fact that it was coined more than a quarter of a century earlier by Law Professor Kimberle Crenshaw. Two years later, in 2017, Merriam-Webster included intersectionality, defining it this way: “the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.”

Professor John-Paul Zaccarini explores intersectionality through research, performance, and teaching. Born to a mixed race South African mother and white Italian father, he grew up in a working class English neighborhood as his mother paid to send him to private school where he was surrounded by wealthy classmates.

He is an actor, dancer, circus performer, and mime. He is also a Professor of Performing Arts at Stockholm University of the Arts, and he is the Director of Future Black Space. Professor Zaccarini describes FutureBlackSpace as a “creative space…free from the white gaze,” “a space of black artistic identity speaking from a future time of post-racialism.”

Professor John-Paul Zaccarini of Stockholm University of the Arts, is one of the creators of Future Black Space.

To view John-Paul Zaccarini in the live version of MixedRaceMixTape, follow this link:

The MixRace MixTape Live

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.