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Black Art - Amiri Baraka

Listen to Amiri Baraka’s haunting hurl of voice, his unclothing of haggard Black heart; listen to his impassioned call suffused with the jungle rhythms of drums, shrill screeches of tenor sax and trumpets. The project of the Black Arts movement as a new way of seeing, a way of being and performing, borne out the experience of repression, and the inherent violence and rawness of the backlash is embodied in this scream. “…we want “poems that kill.” Assassin poems, Poems that shoot guns. Poems that wrestle cops into alleys and take their weapons leaving them dead with tongues pulled out and sent to Ireland. Knockoff poems for dope selling wops or slick halfwhite politicians Airplane poems…” This language of violence, graphic imagery, onomatopeic surreal sounds conjures up an explosion of feeling and revolution that is a synaesthetic assault. Few poems serve as a manifesto of an era, a movement and a revolution the way Amiri Baraka’s Black art explodes, precipitating the many colourful strands of creative expression, cultural magic and history. By the time he ends with “Let Black people understand that they are the lovers and the sons of warriors and sons of warriors Are poems & poets & all the loveliness here in the world We want a black poem. And a Black World. Let the world be a Black Poem And Let All Black People Speak This Poem Silently or LOUD”

no listener can resist the torrent of the “black aesthetic”. This is an insult, an offensive series of slurs, meant to enlighten. Let this be the one thing you listen to today thinking about this richness of culture and community (and the myopia and anti-intellectualism of the oppressor), and the fierceness that drives the protests.

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