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October 3, 2018 at 11:18 pm #1233Sheila GallagherKeymaster
After attending the We Wanted a Revolution Exhibition at the ICA, screening the Black Women movie clip, reading Angela Davis and others, please reflect and post on website 1-2 paragraphs on how/if the Black Power and Black Arts Movement continues to influence culture in terms of aesthetics, spoken word and music, and protest movements. Come with a specific question (post it!) to ask Dr. Woodard after his lecture on October 10 at 7:00 in Higgins.
October 4, 2018 at 5:52 pm #1248John BruggemanGuest
The piece of the ICA that was most apparent to me about the way that artists depicted chains and invoked images of slavery as they created their protest art. That’s a very powerful statement to make because as a society, we’ve deemed slavery morally wrong and reprehensible, so if we view the current protest through the lens of comparable to slavery, the art creates this link that has us view the current issues as similar. Certainly we can expand this kind of protest and view comparisons of that to today. Kanye West issued a protest song a few years ago “New Slaves” talking about white record producers order black musicians to make the music that the record producers want. We see the Black Power movement in a new form–the Black Lives Matter movement.
My question for Dr. Woodard: do you think the core goals of the Black Power movement are different from the core goals of the Black Lives Matter movement?
October 6, 2018 at 5:36 pm #1257Benjamin TwohigGuest
The Black Power Movement marked an assertion of African-American art, music, and protest in a way that still deeply resonates today. Reading Angela Davis and James Baldwin, it is abundantly clear that 50 years later writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates and Cornell West stand on the shoulders of the sacrifices and tribulations that their predecessors faced. Indeed, one of the fascinating parts of the ICA exhibit, The Waterbearer by Lorna Simpson, was particularly striking in its relevance in current times of increased awareness of police brutality towards African Americans and the inability of the justice system to often hold officers accountable. In terms of music, it is clear that the Black Power Movement laid the roots for the explosion of hip hop in the 1980s and 1990s, and continues to influence artists today. In fact, many of the MCs of that have become so popular today like Dr.Dre and Kendrick Lamar sample directly from Marvin Gaye and other Motown artists from this period. Additionally, contemporary protest movements like Black Lives Matter continue to draw heavily from this period, often citing Stokely Carmichael and Angela Davis as intellectually influencing current movements.
Question: Why was the Black Power Movement unable to materialize into a larger and more successful political movement in terms of shaping policy?
October 9, 2018 at 4:31 pm #1270Stavros PiperisGuest
There is a clear connection between the Black Power and Black Arts Movement and today’s social left. First, the old movement’s logo lives today; the fist in the air remains a central gesture for those trying to dismantle current sociopolitical structures for racial reasons. It still speaks aesthetically, too. The militant look and imagery matches, and is often channelled by, the liberal protests of current times.
One could also argue that the transmission of art today echoes 1968. The Black Power and Black Arts Movement turned to less institutional, more grassroots methods of spreading art, working outside of major museums and other more aristocratic means. And today, the sharing of art is rapidly becoming more communal and hard to contain with the Internet. Specifically, easy-access streaming platforms like SoundCloud and Bandcamp have made it simpler than ever to get one’s music out to the world.
October 9, 2018 at 8:01 pm #1271James CacciolaGuest
While the Black Power movement of the 60s continues to influence protests today, in many ways the protests of today are much more limited in ambition and scope. As the description of the Black Power exhibition says, “Black Power grew out of the political, economic, and racial reality of post-war America, when the possibilities of American democracy seemed unlimited.” Although the challenges faced by black protesters in the 60s were undeniably worse, this feeling of unlimited potential caused protesters to argue for a significant restructuring of society. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign was perhaps the strongest example of this. It fused the civil rights movement with some fairly radical economic demands to create a profoundly idealistic vision for America. Protest movements of today, such as Black Lives Matter, tend to have much more limited aims and lack the grand vision of the Poor People’s Campaign.
Perhaps these changes were adopted due to the inability of previous protest movements to eliminate police discrimination against black Americans and a belief that more limited goals would increase the likelihood of success. In this sense, modern protests are influenced by previous black protest movements but are not simply a recreation of them.
Question: The Black Power movement of the 60s seems to have emphasized Africa and African culture very much. Has black culture in America moved away from its connections to Africa?
October 10, 2018 at 3:05 am #1275Natalie SpindlerGuest
The Black Power and Black Arts Movement still influences people, protests, music, and art of today. The influence can be seen in Black Lives Matter, current music, and many other facets of art and life. Writers such as Angela Davis clearly influence current authors and continue to be widely read and discussed. The Black Power Movement also was the inspiration and reason for the boom of hip hop in the 80s and 90s. The Black Power Movement has continued to influence current artists such as Beyonce, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and many others. During Beyonce’s Super Bowl halftime performance, she was surrounded by dancers in Black Panther uniforms. Many of today’s artists are creating music and art surrounding Black Lives Matter, just as artists created music and art inspired by Black Power. In many ways, Black Lives Matter is a new form of the Black Power Movement and draws inspiration from the Black Power Movement and those who were instrumental in this movement.
Question: How much similarity do you see between Black Lives Matter and the Black Power Movement?
October 10, 2018 at 3:49 am #1276Hyun Ji YimGuest
The Black Arts Movement continues to inspire, educate, and catalyze current movements today, such as the Black Lives Matter movement. Even with the gap in generations separating the youth today, artwork, like Mirror Mirror by Carrie Mae Weems, resonate. For example, people were enraged after seeing Princess Tiana, from Princess and the Frog, have visibly lighter skin and hair in her appearance in the trailer for the sequel of Wreck-it-Ralph. In parallel, Carrie Mae Weem’s Mirror Mirror showcases the stereotypical “look” found in princesses and how these embedded cultural ideals. While not outright said, these cultural norms negatively impact women of darker skin tones and shape how younger children imagine beauty.
Films like “Get Out” or “Black Panther” may not have erupted without the Black Power and Arts Movement. In particular, “Black Panther” showcased an almost all black cast. The artists in movie produced fashionable, modern, African inspired clothes in the world of Wakanda. This reminded me of the “New Black Mood” during the Black Power Movement.
Question: While the films provide an outlet for creative protest, do movies, like “Black Panther”, confuse and overshadow the history and work of activists in Black Panther in the 1970s (as the names are similar). Although the film did extremely well in the box office, what if the movie hadn’t?
October 10, 2018 at 5:10 am #1277Victoria TrinhGuest
The foundation in which our world stands on is uplifted by the efforts of black people. Black culture has been one of the most prominent factors in the development of our society—we consume black music, art, language, etc. Unfortunately, we do not express appreciation but appropriation. We have stolen black culture without any remorse, acting as though we were the original creators. In sum, the manner in which society has painted itself embodies the message of: “everyone wants to be black, without being black”. From slavery to the present day, we continue to oppress black people due to their skin color; we stereotype and inhibit their growth and prosperity. The privilege many of us carry is rooted in the justice we fail to give, the stripping of humanity.
Black power is about the ability of turning ugly into beauty, from having your voice be taken away yet choosing to sing about the pain to being chained and shackled yet building strength from within. This is why the Black Power and Black Arts Movement matters so much; its spirit has not laid rest as the fight is still being fought. The movement embodies the might and resistance of the people despite racism and inequality. It is the black voice that society attempted to lock up, however its presence was/is much too large and too loud—it was/is impossible to ignore. The movement has influenced culture as it was about having faith for a better future and protesting through aesthetics, spoken word and music, etc. to have those demands be met. While the images of such may differ/ be distorted, the emotions have not changed. The said creations are the physical reflection of what it meant to be black in that specific time and position. Looking at the We Wanted a Revolution Exhibition at the ICA, screening the Black Women movie clip, and reading Angela Davis and others, they all hold the same theme. In particular, I thoroughly enjoyed the piece, “Revolutionary Sister” by Dindga McCannon because of its colors and accessories (crown and belt), it was bright but eerie. It told a story, the life, and pain. It stopped to make me understand and listen. Could I empathize? Could I relate? Or, could I come from a place of compassion? This impact and these questions are prevalent now. The influence is both external and internal.
Speaking about if the Black Power and Black Arts Movement influences culture, that is a blatant yes. On the other hand, how? They are the roots.
Question: Even today some people view the Black Power and Black Arts Movement as a threat or an act of revenge, how can we convince them to see the situation in a different light?
October 10, 2018 at 2:33 pm #1278Ziyang XiangGuest
Black Power and Black Arts Movement’s influences do not disappear or even fade as time goes.
Hip-hop originated from African Americans culture, influences nowadays fashion design (Supreme, Off-White…); Dreadlocks become popular amid Chinese young generation. The rapper is a real job, worldwide.
I think most of African Americans in the 19 century would not believe these phenomena at all. That’s how powerful these movements are in my opinion. And those examples are just public ones, not to mention different cases in specific fields like arts. As female artists start becoming significant in Art History classes, the role of African Americans has also been recognized, whether the work is related to African cultures or to be an African American in the United States. A lot of African American artists show that they also produce great artworks. Kara Walker’s work introduces a lot of backgrounds of African American history while being artistic astonishing, so does the Waterbearer by Lorna Simpson in ICA.spite of the background story, the photo itself is impressive and really hard to forget. The way that Simpson uses to blend the skin color and the black background and how the white has been to arranged make people to stop walking and stand there for hours.
Black Power and Black Arts also help the people, especially young people, to believe in the faith that through protest, we can achieve something, even it might take years. It’s important to believe that protest is legit rather than protest leads to chaos. Sometimes protests can turn to be terrible and chaotic but that’s just one side effect, which could not override the progress after them. Moreover, these movements also help people to think about the question of self-determination and identity: Who is the real people of the land? And how should people with different identities play together without humanizing the other?
Question: What is the ultimate end of all these movements in your opinion?
October 10, 2018 at 3:27 pm #1279Josh ElbazGuest
I think the Black Power and Black Arts Movement continue to have a strong influence today among contemporary artists and groups. I feel that the most politically visible instance of this influence has been in the Black Lives Matter movement that emerged around 2014, where demonstraters and protesters have repeatedly drawn on the type of imagery that was seen in the past — shackles, chains, and images of abuse and exploitation. In hip hop, Kanye West is the most visible artist in my mind that has used slavery imagery in his songs and publicly, especially in recent comments.
It is interesting to note that key figures in the Black Church have also returned to this kind of imagery as a way of dealing with the unique circumstances of black suffering in America. In a separate class, I learned about a Black minister that related to slave spirituals in bringing attention to the discrimination surrounding black individuals with HIV/AIDS. It is interesting here how the spirituals exert a unique effect as opposed to the countless number of philosophical or fictional texts on suffering. One could read Tolstoy or Gandhi and find relief in their classic exploration of suffering, but there is something distinct about slave spirituals that is especially poignant among the black community. Something about having a shared historical locus, a shared historical suffering, that offers more profound relief. I think this quality of returning to the history of black suffering in America empassions contemporaries today in a way that other experiences could not. Even the more modern history of the civil rights movement in the 50’s accomplishes the same effect, and serves as the inspiration for current political movements focused on addressing disproportionate suffering among the black community.
My question for Dr. Woodward: Do you see progress being made today in the same way progress was made in the 60’s or in times prior?
October 10, 2018 at 5:28 pm #1280Jacob HermannGuest
The Black Power and Black Arts Movement have been heavily influential on culture and protest movements today. The AfriCOBRA movement consisted of a community of black artists that used bright colors and psychedelic patterns to depict important black leaders and their success. Their paintings preached positivity and empowerment of black identity directly to the black community. Just this year, Kehinde Wiley, a naturalistic black cultural painter, painted a portrait of Barack Obama that used a similar style of depicting a black leader amidst bright psychedelic colors. He has other works that also implement this style to reflect black culture. “Black Lives Matter” was a modern response to injustices toward black people, particularly in the case of police brutality. This protest movement had many similar characteristics of black protest movements from the 60’s and 70’s.
Although a lot of progress has been made in terms of equality in America, particularly with black people and black women, racism, police brutality, and other injustices towards black people and other minorities in America are still prevalent. There seems to have been a loss of momentum of black protest movements after the 1970’s. Even though there are still movements today such as “Black Lives Matter”, there are still many injustices that are not being addressed with the same passion as in the 70’s. Why is this the case? Has enough been achieved?
October 10, 2018 at 5:29 pm #1281Rose KuoGuest
The Black Power and Black Arts Movement continue to influence our culture in that they stand for and further contribute to pluralism in our society and open up more space for intercultural dialogues across different artistic disciplines. Their presence demonstrated that our society is not monolithic, and that it should and does embrace various nuances that add to our understanding and appreciation of the Black community. From the We Wanted a Revolution Exhibit, I learned that there are numerous ways of expressing one’s Black identity that comes empowered by the production/performance of art, whether it’s through photography like Carrie Mae Weem’s or abstract installations that reflect protest messages. Our culture is continuously diversified and made more inclusive by the addition of the Black Arts Movement, and its embodiment of protest and racial call definitely serve to drive people to come to the more progressive terms with institutional racism that has so rooted in our society.
Question to Dr. Woodard: How do you think has the Black Power Movement shaped and influenced the BLM Movement in our current days, has people’s perception of the two movements changed, e.g. regarding the backlash and the charge of violence from the White community, and what do you see has improved or evolved?
October 10, 2018 at 6:15 pm #1282Stephanie LiuGuest
The Black Power and Black Arts Movement still heavily contributes to current culture, especially pop culture and with young people. Rap music and black artists are very active, especially in the music scene, and have gained large followings. Although people do attempt to ignore the activism in their music (the controversy surrounding Beyoncé’s song “Formation,” for example), their cultural significance cannot be ignored. With contributions by black artists using very blatant and directed imagery and references from the Black Power movement, especially how prevalent and widespread such expressions have become, the Black Power movement has a solid place in American culture and continues to leave its mark and its message. With the Black Lives Matter constantly in the news and their roots in the Black Power movement, society still sees similar protests and people are still fighting for the same causes that they did decades ago.
Question: Do you think protest movements such as Black Power and Black Lives Matter can really effect the radical change that they want to bring? Is protest and radical change the way to right injustices or should people try a more gradual, systematic approach?
October 10, 2018 at 6:26 pm #1283Daniel Garzon-MaldonadoGuest
The struggles of the Black Power and Black Arts Movements are still clearly influencing our culture in the present. Many of their aesthetic and political ideals and tactics are still alive. They made big steps towards a wider public recognition of diversity in the arts (visual arts, music, literature, etc.). They also made clear the importance of independent cultural, political, and social institutions that focus on the interests of underprivileged populations. Their tactics of protest are still reenacted today—for example, in the performance of Beyoncé at the Super Bowl in 2016, in which she and her dancers alluded to the Black Panthers and the protest of Smith and Carlos at the 1968 Olympics. The controversy which surrounded the case seems to be a sign of how effective the protest was and how sensitive the issue still is.
However, the exhibition “We Wanted a Revolution” and the Black Woman documentary aim at one important aspect for improvement—the higher discrimination produced by the intersection of different factors of social inequality, like being at the same time black and a woman. Black women had to fight harder for a place in the black and feminist movements and even decided to create their own collectives, like Where We At, in 1971. These kinds of problems, poignantly relevant today, are addressed through the concept of intersectionality.
October 10, 2018 at 6:31 pm #1284Joan E KennedyGuest
I think the Black Power and Black Arts movement continue to influence culture at an extremely deep level. The things that struck me the most about the “We Wanted a Revolution Exhibition” at the ICA were the sensuality and boldness of the artwork, the emphasis on familial structures, the boldness and confidence of painted figures (both in the portraits and protest posters), and the perceived innovativeness of methods (such as the combination of poetry and photograph). Those same notions are ever-present within art nowadays. The piece at the entrance of the exhibit by Faith Ringold, called “For the Woman’s House,” reimagines the fabric of a woman’s life, picturing a future of athletic prowess, representation, and leadership, and I think this painting perhaps sums up the whole exhibit and the Black Arts movement as I understand it—it’s a reimagining and rewriting of a world having undergone a separation from implied and historical bondage.
In her piece, Davis points out that an “a priori” culpability is applied within society, and I think this definitely is true, and reflected in the Black Power and Black Arts movements. She talks about a reversal of the dominant narrative and the conventions that it forces upon people. She brings up the example of Nat Turner’s rebellion being deemed “crime,” and the American killing of it’s British Oppressors as a “revolution.” In doing so, Davis presses a reset button on thinking about history, which I think is also at the core of the Black Power and Black Arts movements. Probably the most pervasive form of Black Art nowadays, as others have pointed out in their discussion posts, is hip-hop and rap music. Rap is both a rebellion against Western-European musical conventions, and a genre with conventions of its own—with beats rooted in African musical tradition. I think that within this art form, there is an assumed culpability. When NWA says “Fuck the Police,” in reaction to police violence, exposing inadequacies in structures with words rather than retaliating to violence placed upon the black community with violence, it is assumed a threat by mainstream forces. Thus, impression of black communities is “rooted in imposed patterns of black existence” (Davis). Rap music often contains misogyny in its songs, so critics blame rap music for misogyny in the world, placing blame on the creators of rap music, but that assertion ignores the fact that mainstream models of manhood respect women and are not non-violent, and that women are not seen as a means toward attaining manhood within every section of mainstream culture.
The BAM also changed how people felt that art should be circulated. Instead of in museums—where art is called art based off of presupposed and elitist criteria, art took on a new grassroots form. In this sense, I think the BAM somewhat freed art and created an appreciation for art as subversion. This notion is seen all over the art world, I think, but also within the realm of fashion given the rise of street wear, which has its roots in hip hop culture.
My question for Dr. Woodward: How have you seen the Black Power and Black Art’s movements motivations and agenda change in the past 50 years?
October 10, 2018 at 7:35 pm #1286Nolan ConstantineGuest
The Black Power and Black Arts Movement absolutely continue to influence today’s culture, largely due to the fact that similar problems exist in today’s society that existed in the 1960s and 1970s. Racism clearly exists, prison reform is needed, public schools struggle, police brutality threatens minorities, street violence hurts communities and families, etc. Today’s celebrities continue to use their status to bring attention to and protest such problems. Various hip-hop/rap songs contain quite political and quite disturbing lyrics. Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Chance the Rapper, and Childish Gambino are just a few artists who often address contemporary issues in their songs. In Childish Gambino’s “This is America,” for example, he underscores the stark contrast between the popular (positive) perception of black experience in America vs. the often brutal realities of black life in America. The song promotes the idea that Americans must recognize what America truly is and take action in order for any change to occur. Colin Kaepernick also serves as an example of someone who has called for public change through noticeable protest. This protest and call for action permeates itself in American culture. Further, celebrities do more than just bring attention to issues–they often try to be part of the solution and make progress, especially in their own communities. Lebron James, for example, recently founded the I Promise School, a public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. The school is free and provides a variety of incredible resources for at-risk students and their families. James drew on his own experience to help make the school as impactful as possible.
Overall, it seems that today’s cultural leaders, like those during the 60s and 70s, are advocating for more awareness that problems exist and a revolutionary change in ideals, but they are also trying to prove society on an incremental basis, often starting to solve problems in their hometowns.
Question for Prof. Woodard: What role do you think the average citizen has in helping to change American culture and life for the better?
October 10, 2018 at 7:58 pm #1287Amy GatelyGuest
I think that the Black Power ad Black Arts movements are both incredibly relevant today. These movements allow for the degree of black culture that is present in today’s society, which previously did not exist, to increase. These movements set in motion the rise of this cultural norm (though it is also important to note that just because there is more space dedicated to black culture today that does not mean there is a lot, or anywhere close to enough) with the Black Power movement. For example the push for Black women artists to create a space for themselves has led to more space for Black artists in museums today, though this space is still limited. This has been slow progress, showing the limits of American society due to its nature as a stratified and racist entity which all Americans are raised in. This, as a woman in reel one of the video we watched says, is very important to expose in order to change, and I do think the Black Power and Black Arts movement brought awareness to this. Unfortunately, I think the hopefulness present in the 60s is no longer alive today, causing protests to be more limited in scope. This is evident in the smaller (though still incredibly important) scope of the Black Lives Matter movement, which is to change the criminal justice system to be more just, not society as a whole. On the other hand,one major difference I have also noticed is the elevated presence of intersectional identities today, which allows for a more multi faceted approach to protest. This is progress built on the Black Power movement, which was really more so a movement for black men that ignored women (as did white feminism).
Question: What were the most long lasting effects of the Black Power and Black Art Movements, and how can we mimic these successes to achieve today’s goals within Black Lives Matter and beyond?
October 10, 2018 at 8:37 pm #1288Terence O’BrienGuest
Black Power and the Black Arts Movement still clearly influence our culture in a myriad of ways. The ICA exhibit showed its viewers that feminist black art could be expressed—and consequentially it served as a needed source to portray issues and social struggles. In essence, the exhibit showed us that new platforms for artistic expression/revolt could be possible. With that in mind, Black Power remains pertinent, and stems from a long line of history—but it’s expressed in a variety of different ways now. Kneeling for the anthem, and Black Lives Matter protests are two effective means to represent Black Power today, and they’re only made possible from the preceding Black Arts Movement that we’ve read and learned about. The ICA exhibit also showed us that racial biases and partiality persisted within art—something we typically regard as open and accessible. So, by aiming at representing an underrepresented group of people (female black artists), the Black Arts Movement conveys to us that Black Power can be brought to any aspect of society that lacks racial equality and justice.
Question: What are some similarities and differences you could point out between the beginning of the Black Power movement and where it stands now?
October 10, 2018 at 9:05 pm #1292Chris ZhangGuest
The single most memorable piece for me from the ICA continues to be the one of the rifle scope fixating on the head of a Black Panther leader – choosing to demonstrate that the viewer in their complacency to the events around them is complicit to this killing. I think the profundity of this piece is in relating to the greater theme of the Black Power/Black Cultural Movement that there is a battle being fought (physically and spiritually) everyday and many choose to ignore it.
Thus with art like this piece or spoken word or any other form of media regarding the movement, there is understandably less room for patience in performance than media that might involve a topic less urgent, say something like consumerism in the 21st century, because there is a fight for representation and survival going on for the African American people. Looking at many of the other pieces from the ICA and the other resources presented through this class, I do sense that Black Power media typically (at least for me) manifests itself in a much more evocative way than others.
Question: Do you consider there to be palpable value in exposing people more to Black Art and culture than the rhetoric of the argument towards black empowerment? In better words, what is the role of art/media in advancing the movement to the whole of the population?
October 10, 2018 at 9:14 pm #1293Evan KielmeyerGuest
The Black Power and Black Arts Movement are as important today as they were in the 1960s. While the issues being fought for may not be the same today as they were during the conception of the Black Power Movement, its overarching goals of shaping black identity and dismantling the institutions that suppress and oppress still hold true. The Black Arts Movement is alive and well in all facets of contemporary arts and culture and holds major cultural impact. Where the Black Arts Movement today differs from its conception is in its cultural reach. The Black Arts Movement of the ‘60s existed primarily within the black community. Literature, art, and music were spread throughout black communities to promote an internal sense of black identity and self. Today, examples of Black Power and Black Arts are reaching global scales and audiences. Notable examples are Beyonce’s Super Bowl 50 halftime performance in which she provoked messages of black power, protest, and black identity, as well as Jordan Peele winning an Oscar for his film ‘Get Out,’ a film that satirized racial stereotypes into a horror film. Black arts seen today have a stronger influence on culture because of their influence on those outside of the Black community.
My question for Dr. Woodward: Can anyone contribute to the Black Arts Movement? Or is it exclusively black artists?
October 10, 2018 at 9:36 pm #1294Francine AlmedaGuest
After attending “We Wanted a Revolution” at the ICA, I strongly believe that the diversity of artwork exhibited is a direct representation of how diverse “black artwork” can truly be, and in turn, illustrate the diversity of the black experience. This is a continuously relevant topic. I believe that in analyzing forms of black, female art, we are not only understanding the art itself, but understanding the experience which inspired the piece as valid and legitimate. This step of validation is crucial – it is often overlooked, as art is often taken out of context or appropriated. Therefore, “We Wanted a Revolution” takes powerful strides towards raising awareness of the black experience, and subsequently, an extremely impactful type of revolution.
Question: What do you believe are the most common forms of micro-agressions people can, unintentionally, perform when appreciating black culture and art?
October 10, 2018 at 10:05 pm #1295Ningkun DaiGuest
The connection between the Black Power, Black Arts Movement and todays’ s culture is obvious. Although Black culture is now regarded as one of the mainstream culture, it would never happen without the effort from Black Power and Black Arts Movement.
In my opinion, Black Power and Black Arts Movement has great influence and accomplishment in three different perspectives. First, it brought out a brand new idea of diversity. It strongly challenged White Supremacism in the past. It made people examine their way of life, since the unexamined life is not worth living. Second, after it succeed, people begin to realize that black culture is not the only culture was suppressed and ignored in the past. People began to embrace the diversity of the world. Third, since it is possible for black people to accomplish this kind of success, other kind of people who were suppressed in the history now has a method to gain the justice. They made a huge progress towards a wider public recognition of diversity more than just arts. They also made clear the importance of independent cultural, political, and social institutions that focus on the interests of underprivileged population. There is no doubt that Black Power and Black Arts Movement had, having and will have impact on our society.
My question for Dr. Woodward: Do you think the people who were protesting for Black Power and Black Arts’ movements were in the same position as the people who are protesting for sexual harassment(mee too)?
October 10, 2018 at 10:20 pm #1296Andrew MettiasGuest
After attending the exhibit at the ICA a few weeks ago I believe that the Black Power and Black Arts Movement continues to influence culture to this day. In regards to aesthetics, the piece that struck me the most from the exhibit was the molotov cocktail piece on display with the black power raised fist emblem attached to the glass bottle. This piece was powerful to me as it demonstrates the rebellious and revolutionary energy through the symbolism of a powerful object: the molotov cocktail. This incendiary weapon contains a powerful history of as it was used in many forms of protests and revolutions ranging from the Nazi resistance to the Ferguson unrest. The symbolism of the weapon itself combined with the raised fish evokes a powerful sentiment of revolution.
In regard to the spoken word and music aspect of revolution, Arthur Jaffa’s piece “Love is the message, the message is Death” seamlessly combines potent videos of current current racial injustices and protests with modern day music, in this case, Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam”, a contemporary song featuring gospel inspired beats to craft a powerful display of the modern black American struggle with institutionalized racism and identity.
October 10, 2018 at 10:23 pm #1297Andrew MettiasGuest
Question: How much success do you personally think the Black Power Movement has achieved from its earlier years till today? Do you think that the same strategies of the past are applicable to today’s socio-political climate?
October 10, 2018 at 10:30 pm #1298Luis FialhoGuest
The black power and black Arts movements never truly ended, insofar as they have never stopped having an impact on this world. In sheer aesthetics, one can clearly see that a recognition of Black Power and black Art is still present in todays fashion and art. Films like Black Panther portray classic African styles into modern fashion, a move that is mirrored in today’s fashion trends. Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly was a phenomenal album with prescient commentary on black inequality and discriminatory incarceration, just as Beyoncé’s sampled work from Malcom X showed that the Black Power movement was anything but gone. Whether if be Black Power of Black Lives Matter, many of the same slogans and desires of the past are still present today (those desires of equality have gone largely unfulfilled). Whether it be athletes raising their fists during the Olympics or athletes taking a knee during the national anthem, protest is still active and visible today. The clothes you wear, movies you watch, and music you listen to all bears these echoes of protest, and as such makes one wonder what one can do. As such:
Q: There is a lot of debate over where to draw the line between appreciation and appropriation. How do you define them, and where do you draw the line?
October 10, 2018 at 10:30 pm #1299Michaela GacnikGuest
The Black Power and Black Arts movement most definitely influences modern culture. From the Black Lives Matter movements happening worldwide to the global appreciation for young rap and hip-hop artists, the 1960/70’s movements paved the way for a more diverse culture related to the arts and protesting. Many would have never believed that movies like Moonlight or black artists like Beyonce would be winning awards and idolized around the world.
I was very moved by the strength and beauty exhibited at the We Wanted a Revolution show. Black women took matters into their own hands and found creative ways to share their voice. Also the fact the show is happening at the ICA now gives more credit and awareness about black female power.
Question: How do you think social media has influenced protesting compared to those in 1968?
October 10, 2018 at 11:06 pm #1300Alicia ClowGuest
I thought the article tied in very nicely with the ICA’s exhibition we saw last month where we had an opportunity to actually see what the women in the Black Artist Movement produced. The prints that were fitted together on the wall of the ICA really exuded the energy that the article was trying to convey. Additionally, I thought the more contemporary video piece by Jafa speaks to the enduring struggle and revival that Black Americans still face today.
October 10, 2018 at 11:13 pm #1302AbyanGuest
The Black Power and BAM has influenced culture in many and long lasting ways. From black feminist thinking to films like Black Panther, and hip hop music. African American expressions of their experiences in the late 60s shown in the ICA exhibition underlined by the ‘Where We At Collective’ which was a group of female artists in New York who supported one another as artist is and demanded space to show their work where they were shunned by white female spaces and the black art world dominated by men. This taking back and demanding of space is an ongoing struggle today, as shown by representation issues made obvious in the entertainment industry.
The militant activism and the complete non acceptance of things like mass incarceration and police brutality by the Black Panther Party is echoed in the Black Lives Matter movement. Artists like Kendrick and athletes like Kaepernick in their popular protests reflect this that came before them. All this shows that the black power movement never really ended and still continues today.
October 11, 2018 at 2:58 pm #1303Daniel Garzon-MaldonadoGuest
I forgot to post the question in advance, but I did ask it: Different excluded populations have been justly demanding to be recognized politically and artistically. However, sometimes it seems that in that tendency we are losing a common ground. Where does that lead? What can we do about it?
October 11, 2018 at 9:52 pm #1304Daniel YoungGuest
The Black Power and Black Arts Movement has had a lasting legacy on the culture of American music, literature, and protest movements. Whereas the protest culture of the 1960s was in many ways a counter-cultural movement, elements of the Black Arts Movement and the message of Black Power have been incorporated into mainstream music and pop culture. What specifically comes to my mind when thinking of the evolution of the Black Arts Movement is the “consciousness rap” genre, spearheaded by popular rappers such as Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole. These popular rappers and artists use their status in the entertainment industry as a platform to address persistent social and racially-charged issues in American society, such as police brutality, mass incarceration, and gun violence. The consciousness rap genre is an extension of the long history of African American protest and liberation movements. Angela Davis agreed that and literature can be powerful tools for change; helping the masses become “conscious of their responsibility to defend those who are being persecuted for attempting to bring about the alleviation of the most injurious immediate problems facing back communities…”
Question for Dr. Woodward: How has literature in the Black Arts movement evolved to reflect the changing social and political situations of the 21st century?
December 6, 2018 at 7:22 pm #1506Peter KlapesGuest
In terms of aesthetics — and I focus on literature and poetry — I’m not sure if we could ever locate any ‘power’ therein. Isn’t language always self-deconstructing? Isn’t it ‘unintentional’? Is the sublime a real experience? It is possible — if one bears a particular mindset — that aesthetic and cultural objects bear anything but power.
My question for Dr. Woodard would be: don’t such movements contradict the effort (of 1968, etc.) to have an indeterminate event, universality, and universal harmony and love? How can this not be nationalism and jingoism?
December 18, 2018 at 10:15 pm #1544Emily MrennaGuest
In many ways, the relevance of the Black Power movement today is inseparable from the historical processes which produced that movement in the first place. The Movement for Black Lives calls back in many ways to both the aesthetics and the politics of the Black Power movement. That said, quite a bit has changed since 1968. I’ve found a lot of critical power in a book like Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow”, a book that’s being increasingly taught at universities. Alexander’s argument suggests that racist power structures have not only survived the civil rights legislation which gave people of color formal legal equality, and even suggests that in many ways these power structures have become more insidious and powerful then ever, since they lack the overt racism of the Old Jim Crow segregation laws. This was something the Black Power movement was already partially aware of, a movement which in many ways distinguished itself from the more liberal civil rights movement by targeting forms of racism in the North just as much as in the South. In between now and then, Alexander argues, mass incarceration and police brutality have become the most prominent forms of racist oppression, precisely because of the political consensus that emerged during the Clinton years where both parties felt the need to be “tough on crime”. “Tough on crime” has concretely meant an extraordinary leap in the US prison population, a population which disproportionately includes people of color; this sociopolitical transformation was supported by both political parties, something which was arguably the case during most of the history of the Old Jim Crow too. These social structures were first critiqued in the mainstream by rap music, from N.W.A. to contemporary artists like Kendrick Lamar (“The Blacker the Berry”) or Childish Gambino (“This is America”). I’ve witnessed rap music have a powerful effect on the political consciousness of at least some of my fellow white BC students (at least those students who’ve chosen to treat the music they listen to as more than entertainment).
More recently, a successful Hollywood movie like Black Panther might seem like a fulfillment of the dream of black arts movement. A portrayal of an independent Black nation that is technologically strong enough to stand on its own feet proved to be a very compelling idea for a lot of viewers, especially given how starkly it stands in contrast to the state of most black people in the US today. In a city like Boston, racial contradictions are incredibly obvious, as years of gentrification and mortgage red-lining have pushed the majority of working class people of color to live in poorly maintained neighborhoods that are far from the city proper and which lack sufficient public transportation (like Roslindale and Dorchester). Some of these people have to take three or four buses every morning to work dead-end jobs serving the consumer habits of the wealthy and upper middle class, which in the US are largely white. One wonders, however, if a movie like Black Panther de-politicizes these problems and offers utopian solutions; especially since that movie poses a false dichotomy between violent revolution as vengeance and reform (in the characters of Killmonger and T’Challa). Vengeance is certainly not an admirable solution to any act of injustice, but one wonders, like Michelle Alexander, if the longevity of white supremacist power structures might require peaceful solutions which also happen to be radical and deep.