The Black Arts Movement : A Black Spirit And A White Spirit Essay

The Black Arts Movement : A Black Spirit And A White Spirit Essay

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Ever since Christopher Columbus arrived in America in 1492, white people have constantly oppressed and discriminated against minority races. In my original essay, I addressed how leaders of the Black Arts Movement believed that the establishment of a separate Black culture provided the best opportunity for change to occur. During the time period of the Black Arts Movement, many thought that two separate spirits divided American society—a Black spirit and a White spirit. In the minds of African-Americans, the White spirit unfairly dominated and controlled America, leaving the Black spirit with little impact or voice in society. According to Larry Neal, “Western aesthetic has run its course: it is impossible to construct anything meaningful within its decaying structure” (Neal 1). In order for African-Americans to have a chance to succeed in American society, they would need to destroy this oppressive White aesthetic and create a “Black Aesthetic.” Now, I want to discuss how the actions of whites and the Black Arts Movement illustrate how some negative perceptions and stereotypes of African-Americans hurt the African-American community and drove them to fight for change.
The main goal of the Black Arts Movement was to destroy the tyrannical White aesthetic and establish a Black aesthetic. To do this, African-Americans needed to, “define the world in their own terms,” and replace White culture with Black culture through art (Neal 1). Black Arts Movement leaders hoped that the new songs, values, and symbols that spoke directly to African-Americans would bring the community together and launch the ascension of the Black aesthetic. Gill Scott Heron’s poem, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, exemplifies how artists in the Black Arts M...


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...mage to this detail in the hook of the song, “Now I run the game got the whole world talkin ', King Kunta / Everybody wanna cut the legs off him, Kunta.” Since Lamar has earned the title of one of the top rappers, every other rapper wants to do better than him and whites want to impede his success by “cut the legs off him.” Furthermore, “King Kunta” acts as an oxymoron, “Kendrick’s simultaneously oppressed like a slave, and dominant like a king. In other words: a wealthy black man in America” (Rap Genius). Even though Lamar has made millions of dollars, he knows that he will still face discrimination and feels a need to give back to the African-American community and create a cultural change. African-Americans utilize art, literature, and music to present, express, and cope with the struggles that their skin color presents and in hopes of sparking change in society.

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