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.