What does that even mean?
I love the art, passion and expression that came from the Harlem Renaissance. I always have.I can't remember digging into this in school (surprise, surprise) but Augusta Savage, James Van Der Zee, Charles Alston just to name a few were powerhouses of creativity, progress, political activism and resistance.
The resilience of Black Americans is seldom paralleled with the atrocities of the moment. The United States of America's media propaganda machine showcases our trauma but not our resistance. All the while, especially under the most brutal oppression, we fight to thrive.
The Harlem Renaissance was the effect of the great migration. The migrators were fleeing from the oppressive South and since whites in the area failed to keep them out they slowly left and created a black mecca.
The Harlem Renaissance is widely accepted to have ended with the Great Depression in 1929. Then came the Jazz Age in 1920s - 1930s.
The 1950-1960s, came with a new mecca Black Bohemia on the Lower East Side, ended primarily by the assassination of Malcolm X.
This time period was the cultural stomping ground for artists like Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Maya Angelou, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding.
We rose, we rise.
Through struggle, adversity and hardships that often left us omitted from assistance available to whites, we continued to create and recreate.
The 70s, a more recent snapshot of history produced powerhouses like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer & Bob Marley.
The Golden Age of Hip Hop was to follow through the 1980s - 1990s, just like in the Jazz Age a completely new genre was birthed and popularized. The notable period for artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat.
In 2003 Beyonce dropped Dangerously in Love, thats all I have to say about that.
We know the pain, we are made to forget the art, music and spirit that has kept us alive.
Even now, we are spoon fed continually the images of black people murdered and degraded consistently by the media. All while ignoring the resistance all around us in the same form art, political progressiveness and ingenuity.
So when I say Black Renaissance, I argue that this period is on the shoulders of the those who built our culture from scratch. As we move into focusing on more socio-economic gains as a people, let us not forget to honor the strength that is takes to create something new. The power it takes to find purpose in oppression. The boldness and audacity it takes to undo capitalism as the American Dream, for it has always been our nightmare.
The period following the 2012 murder of a child, Trayvon Martin, and the subsequent dismissal of all charges against the murderer which spurred the black community freedom movement.
It's not BLM although the two are born of the same oppression. Black Wall Street is gone (it pains me too), The Harlem Renaissance has ended as has the Civil Rights Movement. That doesn't mean our work is done, but we can't look back, we have to forge forward with intention and genius that our ancestors have gifted us with. Let's name ourselves.
The Mayans predicted end of the world in 2012, I argue there was a death and a new world is being constructed from the ashes.