Rupture Runnin' Through Risk, Runnin' to Bliss

Institute History


Division down the line: black super women/black super macks, hos and pimps, feminist lit-misogynist lit . . . Poet, playwright, English teacher Gigi Vance can wax intelligentsia-flavored hip-hop about the rupture between black men and women 24-7, but can she look at her own intimacy issues? When fine, super-fine, Jamal Richardson moves to New York to complete his Masters in Performance Studies at New York University, Gigi's world is rocked. He is the perfect black man. He was the perfect black man, the first hour or two of knowing him. Gigi tends to mythologize.

After the second hour, Gigi witnesses what a gluttonous, smooth, easily distracted player—well, dog—Jamal is. In the first few weeks of being in town, Jamal realizes what a hard-assed, critical, unrealistic piece of . . . work Gigi is. Eventually, against all better judgment, they hit it hard, and hot. Afterward they both run like hell.

Of course, they run to that faithful, if at times traumatizing, lover: their creative work. It is winter in New York, so what else can you really do. They manage to keep their passions at bay by developing a platonic, colleague/comrade-type relationship. That might have worked had the blizzards persisted. But several significant events in the Spring, culminating with Jamal's graduation, bring Gigi and Jamal back into the heat realm. They start smelling altogether too familiar and delicious to each other. But can they risk real nakedness?

Ultimately they cannot and do not try to commit to any unrealistic (terrifying) thing like commitment. But by story's end, Gigi and Jamal find that they do trust one another enough to let go of all that tough-guy/tough-chick posturing. Beginning with a dance, then a kiss we close on them taking a chance on bliss.


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