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ERIC Number: ED083337
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1973
Pages: 22
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
The Power of the Rap: The Black Idiom and the New Black Poetry.
Smitherman, Geneva
Black Arts Literature--of which the New Black Poetry is the most important manifestation--emerged during the past decade as the appropriate artistic counterthrust to Black Power. Rhetoric and shouting aside, this new thrust was, on a very basic level, simply a call to black folks to redefine Blackness and re-evaluate the Black Experience. For the writer, this reassessment has culminated in a redefinition of the role of the artist and a new perspective on what constitutes Art. Black art must of necessity be functional and relevant to the lives and daily struggles of black people. The creator of Black Arts Literature envisions himself as a Necromancer, a skillful manipulator of the Art of Black Magic, whose job it is to "heal" Black folks through the evocative power of Art, and transform their suffering into constructive political action. In representing the masses, the new Art will be expressive of the uniqueness of Afro-American culture. Hence the quest among Black Arts writers for a style rooted in this cultural sensibility, a style that is emerging as an identifiable Black Aesthetic. Nowhere is this Aesthetic more strikingly revealed in the language of the New Black Poetry, for in creating this new linguistic form, the poets are not only tapping the reservoir of the Black Cultural Universe but doing so in the Black Idiom. Poetic genre strike at the heart of the Black Cultural Sensibility: it is only through oral delivery that the audience can fully appreciate the artistic import and meaning the New Black Poetry. This, then, is the "Power of the Rap." (Author/JM)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
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Note: This article was excerpted from Dr. Geneva Smitherman's forthcoming book, The Black Idiom: Soul and Style