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Walking RaddyThe Baby Dolls of New Orleans$
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Kim Vaz-Deville

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781496817396

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496817396.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Women Maskers

Women Maskers

Critics of Social Issues1

(p.61) Women Maskers
Walking Raddy

Pamela R. Franco

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter discusses two elements of black women’s masquerade, dressing up and social commentary, in Trinidad Carnival and the efficacy of their performance. The Baby Doll masquerade character of the early decades of the twentieth century provides a portrait of the intersection of dress, commentary, and play. The beautiful and radiant Martiniquian-style dress enabled Black women to be visible as they took center stage in a performance of public shaming of men allegedly for non-support of their children. At times comic, the performance was also double-edged. Black women appeared to be both virtuous (as mothers) and deviant (whores who could not confirm a father’s paternity). In the end, the Baby Doll character was an inventive, carnivalesque attempt to right a wrong, but to no avail.

Keywords:   black female maskers, dressing up, public shaming, Commentary, beggin mas

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