In this article, I examine the intersection of two trajectories of thought and practice regarding the relationship between the sacred and the monstrous. One trajectory includes authors like George Bataille who, contrary to those who define the sacred in terms of purity and order, associate the sacred with those forces and energies that can be horrifying and anguish-filled. The other trajectory includes Black authors and artists like Christina Sharpe who have responded to a white supremacist legacy of associating Black bodies with the monstrous, with excessive flesh, with that space between the human and the animal. Black bodies have traditionally been marked as “matter out of place,” as that dirt that resists form (like the monster). In this essay, I look at Black music, particularly hip-hop and reggae, as a space where the relationship between the monster figure and monstrosity is reexpressed and visualized.

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