Essay The Black Arts Movement

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First, we assume that there is already in existence the basis for such an aesthetic.

Essentially, it consists of an African-American cultural tradition.

Currently, these writers are re-evaluating Western aesthetic, the traditional role of the writer, and the social function of art.

Implicit in this re-evaluation is the need to develop a black aesthetic.

Recently, these two movements have begun to merge: the political values inherent in the Black Power concept are now finding concrete expression in the aesthetics of Afro-American dramatists, poets, choreographers, musicians, and novelists.

A main tenet of Black Power is the necessity for Black people to define the world in their own terms.The Black artist takes this to mean that his primary duty is to speak to the spiritual and cultural needs of Black people.Therefore, the main thrust of this new breed of contemporary writers is to confront the contradictions arising out of the Black mans experience in the racist West.But this aesthetic is finally, by implication, broader than that tradition.It encompasses most of the useable elements of the Third World culture.The Black artist must create new forms and new values, sing new songs (or purify old ones); and along with other Black authorities, he must create a new history, new symbols, myths, and legends (and purify old ones by fire).And the Black artist, in creating his own aesthetic, must be accountable for it only to the Black people.Larry Neal The Black Arts Movement is radically opposed to any concept of the artist that alienates him from his community.In order to perform this task, the black Arts Movement proposes a radical reordering of the Western cultural aesthetic.Black Art will talk to the people and with the will of the people stop impending protective custody.The Black Arts Movement eschews protest literature. Implicit in the concept of protest literature, as brother Knight has made clear, is an appeal to white morality: Now any Black man who masters the technique of his particular art form, who adheres to the white aesthetic, and who directs his work toward a white audience is, in one sense, protesting.


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