If datíng is to literary texts, awra is to queer decolonial performances. From the works of Bienvenido Lumbera and Walter Benjamin, this paper discusses the queering of the term aura and how it operates in tropical performances and discourses, through beki (gay language), as awra. The sign “awra” is resuscitated from the imperial lexis and queered by the topical imagination in the Philippine media. Three media texts expound these claims: Awra Briguela’s song “Clap, Clap, Clap, Awra”; Maymay Entrata’s dance “Amakabogera”; and the noontime TV game show “Beklaban,” a portmanteau of Beki (gay) and laban (fight). The paper highlights moments from these media texts that deploy and perform the term “awra” showing how it functions as a slippery, dynamic, and exuberant queer performance. The local queer tongue of the Philippine LGBT community highjacks this word from the Western epistemology and uses it in queer tropical performances, thus providing the opportunity to theorize a queer decolonial performativity. In this case, as aura becomes awra, it is not just appropriation, nor merely reviving of the word and its sense; rather, it is a reincarnation born into new contexts and politics.
Sarce, J.P. (2023). From aura to awra: Toward a tropical queer decolonial performativity in the Philippines. eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the Tropics, 22(1), 29-52. http://dx.doi.org/10.25120/etropic.22.1.2023.3966