The The development of independent presses, such
The Black Arts Movement, unitedethics and aesthetics holding the black artist to a new moral and culturalresponsibility for their art. Distinctively black art became a tool by whichthe black community could reclaim and harvest their African/Black heritage. Thecreation of black art fought against the absorption of their culture into thewhite-biased society in which they lived in for centuries. The Black Arts Movement used itsliterature, music and drama to speak politically and directly to the community.
The Black Arts Movementcultivated a manner of expression which gave full voice to its feeling ofdesperate, violent rebellion and independence. The publication and adoption ofthe black arts is mainly due to the creation of nationally distributed magazines.These magazines were imperative, because most literary publications of the timerejected works of the black arts. Magazines such as Freedom ways and Liberatoroffered publishing opportunities for young black artists.These distributions paved the way formore major critical journals devoted to black Arts such as the Black Dialogueand the Journal of Black Poetry founded by Joe Goncalves. The development of independent presses,such as Third World Press, freed black artists from the control of white-mainstreampublishers, that held many artists back in the past.
The Movement worked toliberate the black community by removing the boundaries of their expression. TheBlack art movement was integrally linked to the concept of Black Aesthetics. Nealexplains in “The Black Arts Movement” how the reinforcement of racial hierarchythrough the advertisement of white aesthetic will compromise black culture.
Racialhierarchies are reinforced through the constant reminders of a dominant, primary,white community. Neal explains in his essay that “there are in fact and inspirit two Americas one black, one white” (Neal). The danger of not counteractingthe white aesthetics, is that it has the ability to trump the need for a blackaesthetic. The Black Aesthetic is the appreciation of the ideologies and perspectivesof art that focuses on Blackness and the Black culture. Using Black Aesthetic was toadvance the liberation of the black people by encouraging and giving them pridein their love, struggles, beauty and history.
“The motive behind the Black aesthetic is thedestruction of the white thing, the destruction of white ideas, and white waysof looking at the world.” (Neal). Essentially, if culture, beauty and art arestandardized by a white aesthetic, then black culture, beauty and art will beviewed as known existent and belittled, which reinforces a racial hierarchy.The concept of the Black Aestheticwas very important to the African American community, and accepting itself asBlack. Black Aesthetics was a major key to breaking mental chains of pastoppression. For once in U.S.
history, during the 60s and 70s white people wereconfronted and had to in some ways deal with their racial disparities, and onthe other hand black people were empowering each other. During the 1960s and 1970sBlack meant not only beautiful, but also was a sense of power and pride in thelegacy of African American achievement. One of both Black Art Movement and TheBlack Power Movement’s goal was increasing black people’s level ofconsciousness. One of the results, was black people starting to call themselvesBlack instead of Negro, it was a way of breaking free and taking control ofwhat people call them. Another result was men and women wearing their hairNatural, such as the Afro; some people also wore African Garments, Africanpendants and other jewelry. Many of the black activists would change theirgiven or slave name and take on and African, or Arab name instead, which representedtheir rejection of the forced upon white society and embracement of theirAfrican identity.
The self-identificationwith blackness spread throughout the entire African Diaspora, and became an activeparticipation in the socio-political empowerment of the black community. While some say that The Civil Rightswere vastly different from The Black Arts movement and The Black Power Movement,but in many ways, were influenced by Malcolm X; and can also be viewed as an extensionfrom the previous Civil Rights Movement. TheBlack Power Movement was a vitally important point in history, because itrefers to a period in the 1960s when African-Americans, or blacks, changedtheir views about the manner by which they should achieve economic power,political power, and civil rights. The Black Power Movement began during aperiod when blacks legally considered to be equal to all other citizens of theUnited States, although in reality of life that was constantly proven to be otherwise.White society still could not come to terms with seeing black people as havingas much worth and human value as whites.
Black Power means the complete freedomof black people from white oppression by whatever means black people deemnecessary. The term “Black Power” was first popularized by Stokely Carmichaelalso known as Kwame Ture in 1966, during a SNCC (Student NonviolentCoordination committee) Rally.