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This essay wonders what it means to make a beautiful work of art in a time of political crisis. In this case, the crisis is the state-sponsored violence proliferating in the racist and homophobic ferment of the 1980s. In Isaac Julien’s luxurious film Looking for Langston, I read beauty as a part of Julien’s queer black political imaginary and argue that beauty judgments are structures of political demand-making. This essay seeks to explain how the film mobilizes beauty against fetish and death by staging the moment of aesthetic judgment, calling attention to beauty judgments as sites of affective collectivity, political action, and spaces of survival.