Feels Right

Feels Right: Black Queer Women & the Politics of Partying in Chicago (Duke University Press, 2022)

Full introduction to the book can be read on Duke University Press' website—link here.

In Feels Right Kemi Adeyemi presents an ethnography of how black queer women in Chicago use dance to assert their physical and affective rights to the city. Adeyemi stages the book in queer dance parties in gentrifying neighborhoods, where good feelings are good business. But feeling good is elusive for black queer women whose nightlives are undercut by white people, heterosexuality, neoliberal capitalism, burnout, and other buzzkills. Adeyemi documents how black queer women respond to these conditions: how they destroy DJ booths, argue with one another, dance slowly, and stop partying altogether. Their practices complicate our expectations that life at night, on the queer dance floor, or among black queer community simply feels good. Adeyemi’s framework of “feeling right” instead offers a closer, kinesthetic look at how black queer women adroitly manage feeling itself as a complex right they should be afforded in cities that violently structure their movements and energies. What emerges in Feels Right is a sensorial portrait of the critical, black queer geographies and collectivities that emerge in social dance settings and in the broader neoliberal city.

Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award recipient.


Feels Right approaches the nexus of race, pleasure, geography, and capital in innovative and important ways. Kemi Adeyemi’s prose crackles with essential sensory details and the organics of life. Her argument is a necessary extension of work on Black life and death and the ways the tensions between the two find articulation in cities and neighborhoods, on streets, and in the spaces of everyday life.” — Aimee Meredith Cox, author of Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship

“In this incredibly beautiful and important work, Kemi Adeyemi addresses the erasure of Black queer women’s stories, histories, and spaces by recovering the complexity of their lived geographies. Feels Right is a fantastic read that transports readers into their world that was—and one yet to come.” — Jen Jack Gieseking, author of A Queer New York: Geographies of Lesbians, Dykes, and Queers

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