Pushing the Culture (and Liberation) Forward
The line between Black culture and American culture is blurry; not because “if you live in America you’re American therefore so are your contributions” or any reason that would indicate it’s because Black people are a part to a whole, but more so because larger mainstream society tends to take things from Black culture and not cite their source, literally business as usual. But, Black culture is not American culture.
Black culture has long been birthed out of being “othered”. Our creativity flourishes into tangible pieces of art in it’s many forms as a result of constant reminders that we aren’t mainstream American society. We create for us because nobody else does. Inspired by the Black experience in America, intentionally or not, the Black community creates, and from that, juxtaposes the American Dream with how it looks, feels, and sounds to be kept out of that Dream.
Black culture in 2016 is proclaiming loudly that we are here – telling our own stories, validating our own experiences and histories and with the advent of social media our voices, and in turn, our culture is being amplified – this time without the possibility of erasure.
There is something in the air, in the era, in our spirit encouraging our community to claim our identities, write our own stories, and change the narrative without fear and this is the root of change. Jerica Lowman, a writer who identifies as a bisexual, biracial, Black woman, described in an interview how she can’t relate to the “straight white female protagonist” and that characters of color in media are often one-dimensional.
“There is a rise in awareness that is happening in the Black culture,” said Lowman, “We’re not settling anymore.” Black culture agitates the status quo, and as a result we will be liberated.
Within the last 2-4 years, we’ve seen a rise in Black self-expression. Social media platforms like Twitter and Tumblr have put inspiration at our fingertips, connecting Black folks that may never meet in person but can still transfer knowledge, passions, and creativity; you can be inspired to pursue a career, lifestyle, or hobby you may never have considered or knew of beforehand.
We’re in a period of Black Cultural Renaissance as our community utilizes the resources at hand and moves the culture forward. From conversations around hairstyles and the composition of the Oscar nominees to Twitter chats supporting #blkcreatives and their businesses, Black people are pushing the country forward as we stand our ground and carve out our space that cannot be denied.
Black creativity is rooted in and inspired by our experiences, and is a tool for uplifting our community. Take some time to indulge in the culture and creations of Black folks, show your support and help push the culture – and Black liberation – forward:
- Support Black art and Black creativity
- Create your own, write out that idea you’ve been sitting on, paint, color…
- Visit an African-American museum or take a mural tour in your area