Critical Whiteness Studies (2020)
In this highly-unanticipated documentary
series, we examine the life of
critically-unnoticed artist Justin Davis through the whiteness in his immediate vicinity. We follow the drunk white woman running her fingers through his hair as she passes him in the brewery. When he drives through Missouri’s bootheel, we ask the white state troopers how many armadillos they’ve run over. As he fills up his tank off I-55, we shine the matte white ulnas of John D. Rockefeller. The whole time, his Vampire Weekend CD plays louder and louder in the background. And make sure you catch the series finale where we air an exclusive, never-before-seen interview with the artist as a newborn, sickly, so pale that the nurses thought his mom was trying to steal a white baby. This series has already received acclaim in places like every black square on Instagram, a $5000 bill, and the cheeks of NSA agents who may or may not be dropping in on Davis’ calls right now. We’ve been told it feels more honest than honesty. Like a case, it feels like it’s still making itself. We’ve been told it feels compulsively rewatchable, that the leery hills keep growing their eyes. It’s a cultural juggernaut you won’t want to miss stealing.
Justin Davis is a cultural worker and an MFA candidate at the University of Memphis. You can find his poems and hybrid work in places like wildness, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Apogee Journal, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, BOAAT, and Freezeray. He’s a past Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. He’s a proud union member.