Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Meaning of BAM, The Black Arts Movement

BAM was a revolutionary act/action, in tandem with the Black liberation movement, inseparable and integral. BAM was Juju word power, holy ghost dance, music, art, mythology to negate white supremacy in white or black face. We had to figure out how to live in this world but not be of this world controlled by white supremacy, thus BAM was an act of self-determination. BAM was not for the black bourgeoise agenda, was not to make Negroes comfortable sitting in the theater, but to make the audience join the action (ritual theatre) and become one, and, when necessary run out of the theatre butt naked, screaming and hollering because the truth touched them and changed them.--Marvin X


Somehow I just received your emailed request with me inadvertently at the head of the “TO” line, presumably because it happened to follow a message I had recently sent you. I’ll give the matter some thought and may send a comment later, as I am presently much too humbled by Marvin’s brief but apt  manifesto of the Black Arts Movement I only stumbled into in a small way with the publication of my “Black Anglo Saxons” – and that according to Kalamu ya Salaam (Cf. his “Historical Overview to the Black Arts Movement” in The Oxford Companion to African-American Literature). But more than that, I’m afraid my vision is so blurred and bifurcated the Black Arts Movement momentarily reminds me of a blackened picture of Dorian Gray, with our liberation movement long on ice but continuing to decay. Which I suppose is why these erstwhile and illustrious black arts pioneers are poised to answer your call to converge at the University of California’s Merced campus and paint a Portrait of BAM.


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