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Imagining a New World for Us

March 1, 2010

There were a lot of interesting points brought up this week regarding Black Power and how blacks could not only get power, but maintain it. Some points which were mentioned in class concerning this movement were how some authors believed power (during the 1960’s) was to be obtained for blacks. Stokely Carmichael says that the base of power could be to own land and that individuals get power by knowing where they came from because knowing this allowed them to know where they were going. Carmichael says, since we come from the land, it is therefore necessary that we should be able to own it (allegory of the cave). This idea of owning the land that you come from transitions into Pan-Africanism which is a global community engaged in a collective struggle. Its aim is to empower black people all over the world since they are somehow connected.

A social structure being changed from bottom up soon became the mindset of many during the black power movement. Walter Rodney says in his article that white power makes whites stronger and richer and blacks weaker and poorer. Therefore, black power should be looked at as a way for “Negroes to take a warning to white people that they will no longer tolerate brutality and violence” according to Bayard Rustin. Frantz Fanon said your power is manifested in violence and everything about our culture that the colonist brought in needs to be destroyed. Doing so will liberate those who continued to struggle for independence.

Michael Hanson’s article, “Suppose James Brown Read Fanon,” took up a chunk of class time because it discusses the struggle between music and the movement. Black music audibly captures a feeling and many people are able to turn on a song and relive what the people of that time period were going through. During the Black Arts Movement (BAM), black popular music was used as a vehicle to speak to mass black desires (Hanson, 342). There was some tension among black art during that time period. Some wondered, can artists create art to be just that, art? They asked if all black art should be about promoting the movement and/or being political.

I agree with Hanson with his claim that music expands our minds about freedom and much more. There are artists now which may not be exactly as upfront in terms of political art as in the past, but they have a message for young adults concerning advocacy and ultimately it’s up to those individuals to make a change in the way they see the world.

–Amina M. Daniels

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