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The Revolutionary Theatre

For those of you who may not know, that’s Amiri Baraka to the left–the founder of the Black Arts Movement, which was the cultural arm to the Black Power Movement of the ’60s.  This man has earned his spot in American culture as a bonafide protest artist–as a matter of fact, he can be considered one of the original protest artists.

I’m not going to go into too much detail on him as his website can do that in illustrious detail.  However, I did want to provide a link to a .pdf of his controversial essay, The Revolutionary Theatre, published in Black Dialogue after it was rejected by a couple of mainstream publications.

Even though this essay was written in 1965, its relevance and brilliantly coded language is something of a marvel.  As an artist living in the land of fakery dressed up as a reality show, I’m even more inspired as a playwright having read this essay.

Ok, yes, it’s vivid and and in many ways, violently written, but given the spirit of the times, who could truly blame the man for his rage?  My reason for inspiration is because he had the audacity to push forward with his art, making an explicit statement about the human condition.  The essay’s point of accusing and attacking anything that could be accused and attacked is extremely critical as we live, now, in this era of Pop culture overload.


About Chandra Kamaria

Chandra Kamaria is a playwright, essayist, culture maven, educator, entrepreneur, and activist. To learn more, visit


One thought on “The Revolutionary Theatre

  1. Amiri Baraka’s theatre manifesto addressed the reality of racial dichotomy, oppression, dehumanization and denial of rights of African Americans over a period of four hundred centuries. This explains why Walker Vessels in “The Slave” tells Grace that they are not fighting individuals, but 300 years of oppression. In 2013, has the situation radically changed with the racial prejudice and bigotry that has recently been rekindled in the acquittal of George Zimmerman? Baraka’s doctrine as enunciated in the Black Revolutionary Theatre Manifesto should continue serve as reference point on the need for racial harmony and toleration, not only in America, but the world over.

    Posted by Amirikpa Oyigbenu | July 17, 2013, 2:52 pm

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