In this article, we contend that the “strong Black woman” archetype constricts expressions of Black womanhood and girlhood and thus limits individual and collective liberation. We maintain that strength need not preclude tenderness, highlighting two forms: wounded tenderness—a raw and aching feeling pointing to the vulnerability of human beings—and liberated tenderness, a practice of meeting woundedness with embodied awareness and gentleness.
Every year in Haiti and its diaspora, the Lenten and Vodou festivals of Rara occur through Easter Sunday. In this article, I argue that religious performances, such as Rara, are critical sites of Black women's social and economic empowerment. In particular, the women performers of Rara or the queens use Rara to empower themselves. Based on long-term ethnographic research in Haiti, I attend to the way Black women transform play and Black religious expression into labor or what I call spiritual play-labor. This concept builds on the works of Robin D.G.