Trough analysis of comedienne Danitra Vance’s 1986 Saturday Night Live sketch performances of a 17-year-old character named Cabrini Green Harlem Watts Jackson, this paper argues that performances of Black girlishness can explicate that while anti-Black and sexist violence and domination suggest that white people do not perceive Black girls as children, there are indeed telltale indicators of Black girlishness. Educators, artists, and scholars who seek to understand and defend Black girls have made the claim that since Black girls are not perceived as children, they do not have girlhoods, and this paper’s argument complicates that claim. From Vance’s diction to her movements and sartorial choices, Cabrini Green represents the paradox of perceived innocence and perceived waywardness and womanishness, an age-old characteristic of African American girlhood as a set of experiences and as a set of ideas.

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