Sergio (oil on canvas) by Mario Loprete
Check out this epic clip of interview with nationwide speaker of Circle of Change Leadership, Dr. Joshua Fredenburg (Dr. J), by Dr. Dana Emerson
African American artistry has always been cornerstone to the winds of change in America. I was first introduced to the Harlem Renaissance as a graduate student studying African American literature in my 20s; the brilliant artistic voices of this generation of writers and poets showed me the power of creative work that transcends political oppression, economic disparity, and intolerable cultural biases. Writers like W.E.B. Du Bois, who helped define the African American experience with his concept of “double-consciousness and the veil” from The Souls of Black Folk, and Langston Hughes’s poems like “Dreams” and “Let America Be America Again”. This proliferation of artistry signaled a progressive change in the state of a 1920s-30s American culture that was not nearly far enough away from the ravages of slavery and the incoherent basis for racism. The talent of these writers and artists made people notice, and America responded for decades in all sorts of ways: politically, hypocritically, chaotically, sometimes violently, but oftentimes beautifully, when more and more people were actually brought to see, feel, and act in the interest of better humanity.
Now, one hundred years after the Harlem Renaissance, we’ve had an African American President, and this helped far more people of color feel that they, too, have the ability to lead and further causes that support a more beautiful, progressive, intelligent, and innovative nation full of diverse imaginations. With the emergence of this reawakening, transformative artistry can continue its legacy of lifting culture to higher ground. Let’s keep the momentum going for a 21st century renaissance; one that is infused and designed by the ethic of love.
Marilyn Brock, Sept 2019