|Women Writers of the Harlem Renaissance|
My need to write stems from the successes and the problems I stem from. If I did not know the pen and paper as well as I do, I truly believe I would be in Bellevue right now in their psychiatric department, or maybe under a tombstone reading, here once lived a girl who never lived. But, enough with the melodrama. Lets make this an external example.
Last night The Last Poets had a show at the Schomburg in Harlem. They showed a documentary about their group.
The major reason why the group came about was because of the political climate of the sixties. Out of Malcolm X’s assassination, birthed The Last Poets. Abiodun Oyewole, Umar Bin Hassan and Felipe Luciano -all youth at the time- were fired up; they were angry; sick and tired of the segregation and blatant racism. As politically conscience as they were, they needed an outlet from the violence, so they wrote poetry.
When a person is caught or trapped in a situation in which they cannot change, that person will either go mad, runaway, fight back, or take that energy to recreate a new energy-an alter ego if you will. If the situation wont change, the situation will change you.
With the fear of death if Blacks rebelled, The Last Poets were a huge outlet for Black America. The poets opened the door of Black Americas mouth that harbored feelings of anger, hate, depression, and all the other things one would feel if taken, enslaved, beaten out of their language and home, and then forced to accept that they were inferior.
Even though we are no longer out rightly oppressed (I mean, I can ride the train and sit where I want to), their message is still relevant today. America has come a long way, but there is more work to do.
This is why I write, rewrite, revise, and teach because there are more things to do. My life is a constant challenge. I constantly have to make a way. To recreate myself. To find solutions to questions older than me and to create new answers to problems I created.
I am not a writer with Degrees of Make Believe. I am a writer. It is just that simple. Everyday I try to make right(er) of the wrongs older and younger than me. And in this struggle, in this process of the day to day, the only beauty is art. The meal you made out of platanoes and tuna fish. The new outfit you made out of your grandmothers dress and a waist belt.
It’s that simple and that sincere, writing that is. That is what makes it good. So, sometimes I feel like shit and when I write about it, the shit doesn’t stink that bad and life becomes a little more bearable, a little more hopeful. You realize life is a little bit more… and then you appreciate it, like good art.
Be Well in Writing,
Judith also blogs at The Poem's Reflection
from the PPM Archives Sept 2009