“This Ain’t Hypothetical”: Engaging Black Aesthetics from an Ethic of Care


  • Natasha K. McClendon Georgia State University
  • Wilson Kwamogi Okello University of North Carolina Wilmington


Black Aesthetics, Ethics, Reflexivity, Methodology


Black aesthetics is not a passive project; instead, it is deeply invested in curating livable logics to contend with anti-Black racism in and beyond the educational context. Embracing both theory and practice, rigorous and ethical engagement with Black aesthetics ought to be centrally concerned with what it means to exist as Black in an anti-Black world. Thus, this manuscript lifts the insights of one Black man and one Black woman and their relationship to the Black aesthetic canon, asking, how should educators and researchers handle the theory of Black aesthetics while simultaneously caring for the lived experiences of Black bodyminds? Findings suggest that engagement with Black aesthetics is generative, survival praxis, and should be handled in ways that center racialized histories and current realities. We conclude with recommendations for teaching and inquiry.

Author Biographies

Natasha K. McClendon, Georgia State University

Education Policy Studies

Doctoral Candidate

Wilson Kwamogi Okello, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Department of Educational Leadership

Assistant Professor of Higher Education