Michaela Coel’s Chewing Gum: Redefining ‘Unruliness’ in London’s East End

Minor, LJ ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8567-3762 'Michaela Coel’s Chewing Gum: Redefining ‘Unruliness’ in London’s East End' , in: UK and Irish Television Comedy: Nation, Region and Identity , Palgrave Macmillan. (In Press)

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Abstract

This chapter explores Michaela Coel and her original TV sitcom Chewing Gum (E4, 2015-) through two key concepts: 'unruliness' (Rowe, 1995) and 'intersectionality'. The argument established initially by Kathleen Rowe - that female comic performance is a form of social/cultural unruliness as well as grotesque in nature – is ultimately inadequate in exploring Coel’s black female comic performance in Chewing Gum. Instead, I contend that a new analytical conception is required to interpret the text. Intersectionality, which has become a central topic in academic and activist circles alike, is a powerful conceptual framework for examining how ‘unruliness’ has shifted from the 1990s to the 2010s. Through this, I contend that Coel offers fresh and contemporary representations of black women on-screen. She mixes cultural forms in straddling disparate spaces: Ghana/Britain, Hackney/Tower Hamlets, and upper-middle class/working-class cultures. Her intersectional experiences have thus affected how contemporary racialised, gendered, classed, and spatial politics overlap in her work. I, therefore, explore how the East End is a significant space and place to explore intersectionality, as well as the ways in which Coel’s concerns with region, heritage, and community anchor her series and shift traditional representations of London’s East End.

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Irwin, Mary and Marshall, Jill
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Depositing User: Dr Laura Jade Minor
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2022 11:41
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2022 15:51
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/65126

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