Black Arts Movement
- Tammy L. Kernodle
The Black Arts Movement is most commonly referred to as the artistic arm of the Black Power Movement. Although it has largely been referred to as a literary movement—due in large part to the impact of writers such as Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Larry Neal, and Nikki Giovanni—the movement’s goals were also advanced by musicians, painters, photographers and filmmakers. Aesthetically and philosophically the movement and its leaders sought to articulate and represent, through various forms of artistic expression, the diverse cultural and historical phenomenon that have shaped the African American experience. Its beginnings can be traced to the assassination of Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) in 1965. Jones and Neal, both black nationalists, called out to artists to join the black liberation movement and work toward creating a decidedly “black” art that would appeal both to the masses and those within the academy by drawing heavily from an Afrocentric cultural tradition. Many avant-garde jazz artists, including John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, and Archie Shepp, among others, embraced the tenets of the movement. A ...