Partin’ the Waters: Arts and the movement

Art can be collective, committing or functional or art can be just for art’s sake. Often the lively arts, music, song, dance and the theatrical arts can be tools to raise awareness about social movements that aim to change the status quo. So can the visual arts be a companion tool to sharpen the fighting capacity of those for fighting change. Art can increase the I SHALL NOT BE MOVED RESOLVE.

In 1955, The Little Rock Central nine faced down bayonets and white mobs in an effort to desegregate Central High School. The recalcitrant and racist Governor Faubus threw down the gauntlet and faced off with President Eisenhower and the NAACP, CORE and other rams poised to assault the remnants of the peculiar institution of slavery. Charles Mingus, composer and jazz (Black Classical Music) took to the field with the composition Fables of Faubus. Fables of Faubus ridiculed Faubus for being “so ridiculous.” The composition probably did not do much to move Faubus, but it advanced the resolve of black America to smash desegregation. We do know that the mobs dispersed when President Eisenhower ordered the guards to fix their bayonets. Mingus was not the only musician to write “fire music.”

Who can forget “A Raisin in the Sun” by playwright Lorraine Hansberry. The TV production starred icons Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee and a young Lou Gossett. With the support of the government real estate moguls, white citizen mobs joined in an unholy alliance to establish restrictive covenants to keep black people from moving and living in the neighborhoods of their choice. These exclusive social devices became the forerunner of redlining and other practices for insuring that we were locked in slums and ghettoes with tangled webs of pathology. The blindingly talented and beautiful Ms. Hansberry brought to the stage a black family who decided to pay the cost by sacrificing comfort and money for dignity. Raisin in the Sun was subversive to the existing social order and psychic liberation to all those impacted by restrictive covenants and redlining.

Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach were two of the earliest artists to take the pulsating rhythms and captivating harmonies of jazz and produce Freedom Suite, which reflected the rising nationalist and freedom sentiments of the black masses. A flood of consciousness music became entrenched in the mindset of artist-intellectuals and the dam burst.

Most baby boomers and generation Xers will bristle when they hear Sam Cooke opening the freedom spigot with A CHANGE IS GOING TO COME. Around the time that Goodman, Schwerney and Chaney were murdered in Mississippi, hundreds of students of conscience were pouring into Lowndes County and the Black Belt to launch a new phase of struggle. Nina Simone, our black princess went along to the Black Belt with the haunting Mississippi GODDAM, and I WISH I KNEW HOW IT FELT TO BE FREE. These songs were derivatives of Billie Holiday singing about STRANGE FRUIT on southern trees.

Curtis Mayfield launched a cache of songs such as WE ARE A WINNER AND THE SOUNDTRACK FOR CLAUDINE. Sails were put beneath the anti- Vietnam War ship by Marvin Gaye and his not to be matched WHAT’S GOING ON LP.

Mari Evans, Amir Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, Don L Lee picked up the pace of the Harlem Renaissance writers and developed a newer aesthetic that enabled society to view the black presence in a different manner. Great novels came forth by young and old black writers. The 2000’s will include the name of Attica Locke and Terry McMillan and, of course, the great one Tony Morrison.

Conscious ART opens the pathway and broadens the vision of poets and seers and the ordinary brother and sister. The black aesthetic is even better when we own our own cultural houses. VIVA Eileen and THE ENSEMBLE!



Latest Articles


Search our archive of past issues Receive our Latest Updates
* indicates required

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

Scroll to Top