The Black Artist

17 Smite a white v

Amiri Baraka, also called LeRoi Jones, was an important African American writer of poetry, drama and music criticism. He wanted to rebel against racism and the exclusion of Black people. Through his poem Black Art, he expressed the need to commit the violence required to establish a Black World. Black Art, quickly became the major poetic manifesto of the Black Arts Literary Movement. The Black Arts Movement is radically opposed to any concept of the artist that alienates him from his community. It envisions an art that speaks directly to the needs and aspirations of Black America. In order to perform this task, the Black Arts Movement proposes a separate symbolism, mythology, critique, and iconology. The writer’s aim is to confront the contradictions arising out of the Black man’s experience in the racist West. It is impossible to construct anything meaningful within its decaying structure. The Black Artist has to advocate a cultural revolution in art and ideas. The cultural values inherent in Western history must either be radicalized or destroyed. In fact, what is needed is a whole new system of ideas. He stated: <<We want poems that kill>> or <<Arm yourself or arm yourself>>. Promoting confrontation with the white power structure, he saw poetry as a weapon of action: his poetry demanded violence against those he felt were responsible for un unjust society. The Black Artist had to help in the destruction of America as he knows it. His role is to carefully report and reflect the nature of society, and the nature of himself in that society. “The Black Artist must draw the correct image of the world out of his soul. He must use this image to band his brothers and sisters together in a common understanding of the nature of the world and the nature of the human soul. The Black Artist must demonstrate sweet life, how it differs from the deathly grip of the White Eyes. The Black Artist must teach the White Eyes about their deaths, and teach the black man how to bring these deaths about.