The frenetically poised movements of the African – Americans like the Black Power Movement and the Black Arts Movement can hardly be said to have seen their heyday. A return to the ethnic past has been the dream of many writers. Lorraine Hansberry and Alice Childress did it mildly and sentimentally whereas Adrienne Kennedy and Ntozake Shange among the women did it with outright rage and aggressiveness.
The men have in fact been more vociferous with the strong – armed idiom of an Amiri Baraka, an Ed Bullins and a James Baldwin. But the net result of the whole mission in spite of its unswerving nature has been submersion and oblivion. It would be extremely gratifying to find a black who avers that these movements of the past in Berkley and elsewhere have elevated his subject position. Once a subaltern one is destined to remain so. It is a branding that stays for life. This is not pessimism but observed reality. It is very encouraging to find young men of African origin militating for a unique aesthetic platform where they remain their own true selves without any danger of downgrading. It is often when a slot in the mainstream is sought that frustration arises. Very often the mainstream is a synonym for the brute majority and does not qualify its participants in any way. Art is the monopoly of the thinking and protesting human who will not accept facile explanations or people who remain comfortable on their convenient perch. Art is the product of struggle with the self and grappling with the environment. A bloke who has done neither cannot call himself a pioneer whatever be the label he claims for himself. Let the people wronged by time and history carve out their own “black hole” and give the world a taste of radiating intellect that can outreach all forms of known matter. In short, let the raisin in the sun come alive.