Enclaving and cultural resonance in Black "Game of Thrones" fandom

  • Sarah Florini Arizona State University
Keywords: African American, African American Vernacular English, Black cult media, Live tweeting, Podcasting, Twitter

Abstract

Because of the ways fandom is constructed as white, Black fans are often overlooked or marginalized. Black Game of Thrones (2011–) fans create a parallel culturally resonant fandom organized around an African American Vernacular English–inflected iteration of the show's title, Dem Thrones. Through podcast recaps and the use of nonstandard hashtags for live tweeting, these fans draw on the affordances of digital media to create enclaved fan spaces. In addition to creating parallel and sequestered fandoms, Dem Thrones fans also engage in culturally resonant fan practices that use Black cultural commonplaces and center Black experiences. Dem Thrones fans draw on vernaculars and Black cult media to interpret the show through Black cultural lenses. They also use strategies for reading otherwise absent Black cultural specificity into the text. Seizing on resemblances to Black linguistic, aesthetic, or social practices, Dem Thrones fan map Black culture onto a text, creating opportunities for identification despite a dearth of Black representation.

Published
2019-03-15