Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Break It Down: Flight To Canada

[By Alysha Griffin]

“Break It Down” is a new HBW Literary Blog initiative that strives to offer critical interpretations of song lyrics, excerpts from novels, and poems.

This week, Blog Contributor Alysha Griffin has analyzed Ishmael Reed’s poem, “Flight to Canada.”

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

5 Rebel Writers During Slavery

 [By Alysha Griffin]

In the same way that threats of violence did not always dissuade  slaves’ attempts to escape, the threat of injury or even death was not enough to keep many African Americans quiet. In some instances, African Americans made the pen mightier than the whip.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Struggles for Freedom: Kanye West and Toni Morrison’s Artistic Renderings of Flight

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[By Kenton Rambsy]

Tony Bolden, author of Afro-Blue: Improvisations in African American Poetry and Culture, proposes “vernacular cultures are always dialogic relative to dominant cultures, so they are never static but rather always in flux...writers (artists) who appropriate the vernacular must confront the constant risk of erasure” (26). Bolden’s concept of the ever-changing vernacular culture helps to explain frequent reimagings of slavery and struggles for liberation by black literary artists.

Black writers, musicians, and other artists working in a range of genres use vernacular language to re-envision history and re-image the legacy of enslaved persons. Defiantly, against most popular appraisals of history, these artists validate the independence, intelligence, and ingenuity of their enslaved ancestors through their artistic renderings.