Hello World I am a Poet, a Writer, an Artist, an Architect, a Father of a 7 year old, an M.C., a Black man, etc. The state of the Black man is too ambiguous to be defined or be confined by any one person’s perception, or statistical study, or relationship. No one person is an expert on any particular being, not even that being him/herself. We are forever evolving whether we know it, accept it or not. Hence, the premise is to address the state of the black man and as a black man I meet at least one qualification on the resume to add a grain of salt to the recipe. While I have never been able to calculate exactly how every black man is surviving, grinding, hustling, working, sleeping, dancing, rapping, singing, hooping, running, preaching, loving and flat out existing in their present state.
As a black man I can go out on a tree limb and tell you this, we all start out as a blank canvas, and society/life hands us a paint brush and palette to draw/paint a masterpiece of sorts whether you like it or not. Like that abstract art piece that you look at and wonder how someone would pay x amount of dollars for something you think you probably could have drawn at home, so it is with the existence of the black man. We are no monolithic society of men, as in art we are variety we are; abstract, renaissance, modern, post modern, pop-art, neo classism, Romanism, impressionism, symbolism, cubism and realism, we are what ‘WE’ paint on our own individual canvases and as a result we are judged, fair or unfair, in the court of individual/public opinion.
In essence, this society is no more than a gallery upon which my ‘Black man’ existence hangs (no pun intended) on the walls of life’s museum. When I walk in a room I bring a painted canvas that some see as a work of art and some see as simply colors splattered on a canvas used as an exploit of talent. Depending on your culture, worldview, and education, and in some cases upbringing, you look at me as High art or ‘black art’ or graffiti that exist on walls as mere vandalism. But like graffiti I seem to never be able to simply wash away. I keep coming back even after you outlawed me, placed me in jail, banned me from certain places and even painted over my existence. I keep coming back, and eventually like that graffiti art, I am eventually allowed into the club (Museum), and in some cases exploited to a certain degree.
Therefore, maybe the state of the black man is, as he paints his ever evolving existence, on B.E.T. Maybe it’s on the radio. Maybe it’s on the Movie screen, the boardroom, or the home life. Maybe it’s how he treats his family or maybe it’s all of the above. As a black man, I know enough to know that I don’t know enough and that I am at a place where I must unlearn just as much as I have been taught. Fine art is only as fine as the definer, as Picasso is praised for his masterpieces that were influenced by African sculpture, which in turn led to the evolvement of Cubism, which in turn leads us to praise Picasso, but in some cases omitting the influences. Thus, it is the case with the state of the black man. He influences all there is, consciously or subconsciously, painting a landscape that leads to the evolvement of jazz, blues, rock, hip-hop, etc. I can’t over intellectualize a painting that may simply be as it may, as ‘Literal’ as the artist intended, and I can’t oversimplify a painting that has more depth than presented to the naked eye.
The state of the Black man is often times painted with broad strokes of television, politics, religion, music and stereotypes that lead one to believe the state of the black man is a caricature of a post racial existence in America that says, “well you can exhibit your work next to mine now so things is getting better”. Nevertheless, better is relative from state to state (pun intended). As a dear brother told me on the way to the airport, “we are moving faster but in the same position”. We where sitting in the back of the plane when it was flying 100 mph. Yet, when it started moving 1,000 mph we are still sitting in the back of the plane. Therefore, in essence our position has to change just as fast as our environment/movement. We can’t be content with displaying our work in the same museum. We must control the museums that allow us the gallery space to exhibit and define our works of art for ourselves regardless of what money and exploitation says, because we know money talks as fast as exploitation walks.
We are in a state of conclusion. We must author the chapters to our own books from preface to the end and show the world that art is subjective but also revolutionary, moving, judged, but also bought and sold, and also praised and as stated we are what we individually paint on our respected canvases knowing that in some cases we must create a communal mural that leaves room for the black boys looking up to us to have an example of what a masterpiece is as well as leave space on the walls, so they can contribute accordingly.
Equality is a Poet and Hip-Hop artist in the Group H.I.S.D. (Hueston Independent Spit District) their latest album ‘The Weakend’ . Log on to www.theweakend.com to digitally download it.