Going Live!: Black Women's Proclamation in the Digital Age

“Black preaching women 'going live' ushers in a necessary disruption of exclusionary practices and maintains that disregarded flesh is salvific. ”

Team Members/Contributors

Melva Sampson Wake Forest University Contact Me

About this first book grant for scholars of color

Going Live employs digital auto-ethnography and womanist critical discourse analysis to examine how theologically progressive and inclusive Black preaching women utilize live streaming functions on social media platforms to preach in multifaceted ways. Moreover, it explores how a specific population of Black preaching women create and curate digital and online communities as alternative or additional spaces within and beyond the Black Church to interrogate the theological terrains where they and others have been both figuratively and literally disembodied. Situated at the intersections of Black religion, gender, digital media, performance, preaching and social change, the project builds on existing scholarship that locates preaching within the Black griotic tradition and communal survival within African American hush harbor rhetoric. Hence, I theorize forward thinking Black preaching women as digital griots and the online communities they create and curate as digital hush harbors. Here, a digital griot is “an intervening figure who unites the past, present and future, refuses the divide as a barrier to Black [sacred] engagement with technology and utilizes specifically African American rhetoric.” Digital hush harbors are “alternative rhetorically liberated and ontologically liberated transformative spaces.” The conclusion is two-fold. First, going live de-centers the traditionally male preaching figure as the authoritative knowledge source and physical churches as the primary location for religious expression and practice. Second, going live counters interlocking systems of oppression by tendering disregarded flesh as salvific creating interlocking cycles of freedom in its place.