Second Line Part 2

To further my Second Line discussion, I wanted to connect Steve Prince’s work culturally to New Orleans, in addition to the biblical references seen in Part 1.

 What I had noticed was the reference to New Orleans’s cultural practice of celebrating the dead. Often seen are people dancing down the street to jazz music with parasols in hand during a funeral procession. These ideas are carried in many of Mr. Prince’s works. Many contain figures playing jazz instruments, as seen in his print titled “Second Line Rebirth“. In the “Second Line I-IV” the horses are carrying similar parasols and portray poses invoking the imagery of dancing. In the background, cemetery headstones line the horizon.

Furthermore, the title of Second Line connects Mr. Prince’s work directly to the funeral practices in New Orleans. Typically the “first line” of the parade would be family members of the deceased, the hearse and jazz band. The rest who follow dancing and singing are defined as the “second line”. The horses named as the second line are depicted carrying the spirits to the cemetery with the spirits emerging from their mouths and littering the floor beneath them. 

The poses and parasols are also seen in Kim Vaz-Deville’s novel Walking Raddy The Baby Dolls of New OrleansThe Baby Dolls of New Orleans were symbols of African Americans celebrating their cultures and “reclaiming segregated space” (pg. 38). It was also a chance for black youth to escape the oppression of Jim Crow laws. This traditional dress and free movement dance is mirrored in today’s society to celebrate black culture. Photos within the book display current day females elaborately dressed with parasols in hand (pg. 157-161). Steve Prince mirrors this black pride in Second Line by having the horsemen mimic the baby doll “look”. The symbolism affirms my belief that Mr. Prince is using the horses to connect to the culture and hardships African Americans in New Orleans faced.

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