Sunday, August 12, 2007


After two solid weeks of living alone in a new state (not to mention a new state of being) with almost NO access to the internet (wotta nightmare), I finally came to a coffee house only to save my new credit union account from a very ill-timed overdraft and totally accidentally (I swear) wound up peeking over at Black Looks where, it turns out, Kym Platt posted yesterday about Emory Douglas and his work. Just what the doctor ordered! Douglas was the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967-1979 and remains a revolutionary artist extraordinaire. When Leigh Raiford recently interviewed him for Code Z, she asked Douglas what revolutionary art is today. His response:

"Overcoming obstacles. I mean then, now, in the future. Once you achieve a certain success or establish a certain criteria as it relates to concerns, then you have to implement that thing. And once you implement it, it’s revolutionary. So it’s about overcoming obstacles, it’s dealing with change, the process of change. And giving people some insight into the issues that we’re dealing with. Racism. Racism is a rampant thing. In a way, it’s been almost mainstreamed now, to justify it. Apologists for it. These are things that perhaps can be thought out. How can you express that so people can see that? They may be thinking about it, but they don’t see it visually.

"But then again, what you had then, we had organizations. But now you got electronic media where you can access and reach millions of people in that way. But the actual out-there organization that we did during that period when the art was art of consciousness it was…You know, you were out there, you had that connection, actual physical connection. So it’s a great difference now than then in a lot of ways. Because lots of people put their stuff on electronic media for people to look at. They get inspired, they’re moved, they do something."

Change is tough. Transition is a mo-fo. Whether personal, political, or social. But it can. be. done.

*big inhale followed by big exhale*