Nikki Giovanni

"Legacy of Change"

Hello everyone. My name is Angela Brown. I work at CSN as a gaming laboratory administrative assistant. I’m going to give you a brief report on the black Arts Movement.

The diversity program is responsible for the black history program at CSN. The reason I was asked to participate in the poetry reading program is because I am a self published poet. . They read my poems and invited me to read my poems at the poetry reading. I always wanted to share my poetry. I love to read and write poetry. Poetry is my passion. . It is my purpose in life.. My poetry is an inspiration to young poets who want to be writers to follow their dreams of becoming a poet.

The black Arts Movement occurred from 1965 – 1975. The black Arts Movement was known as the aesthetic arts movement of black expression. The black Arts Movement was started by LeRoi Jones after the death of his friend Malcolm X, a nationalist, during the cilvil rights movement. It was then LeRoi Jones, also known as Amari Baraka, opened the repository school of the arts. The repository school of the arts offered courses in visual and performing arts. Students would study music, dance, theater and literature. Artist would learn to express their social perspective on race, culture and sexuality through music, literature, dance and theater. Artist like Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Mays Angelou and Audre Lord we’re amongst poets involved in the black Arts movement. The contributions of the artist in the black art movement, has had a positive influence on rap, spoken word and hip hop poems because it helped to influence modern artists to express their views on social, cultural and political issues which occur in society today.

There are two words that come to mind when I think of the Black Arts Movement: the aesthetic movement and black consciousness.

The black Arts Movement is considered the aesthetic arts movement. The black Arts Movement was one of the most controversial arts movement in American history. The black Arts Movement was both a social and political movement which focus was used to express black cultural identity through an artistic expression. The movement gave a moral expression stating black is beautiful. The art form conveyed an emotional response known for its sentimental value as an contextual and intimate art form of expression .

The black conscious movement was a grass roots movement that started in the 60’s and 70’s during the Civil Rights Era. During the Civil Rights Era black people protested for equality and justice. The movement represented social and political consciousness. Black consciousness means to be aware of ones identity as a black person. Black consciousness helped to organize and educate primarily the youth to understand inequality, social unrest, and injustice in society to promote change.

There were two wars being fought in the sixties and seventies: Vietnam and Cilvil Rights. From 1965-1975, black artist ad writers redefined literature from the 1920’s and 1930’s. BAM compromised the black consciousness to liberate a message of economic, cultural and psychological truth. The fundamental reason to exist was empowerment. Self-knowledge of ones culture is the discovery of understanding who you are identifying your purpose as you relate to the world. How we feel about ourselves is the reason we exist.

The sixties and seventies was a time of political and economic disparity. There were negative images of the black race. The message behind the black arts movement changed the perception people had about black people. The black Arts Movement challenged society to change.

I am grateful for the Black Arts Movement because it has helped me to write poetry. Poets like Nikki Giovanni and Maya Angelou are an inspiration to read in identifying my cultural diversity. Often I reflect on poems like Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day by Nikki Giovanni or I Rise by Maya Angelou to remind me that I am a poet because I have something to say from cultural environment and activism. It is the reason I am a poet.

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