THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE

 

 

بِسْــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِالرَّحْمَنِ اارَّحِيم

“HARLEM”

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum Dearly Beloved Asiatic Black Family!!!

I just found out recently that this poem was written by THE Langston Hughes!!!

Never did my High School English Lit teacher (an old white devil) inform his classes of the importance of the personality who was Langston Hughes nor of the magnitude of the context in which this powerful poem was written – The Harlem Renaissance.

I didn’t even realize that this poem, which I have never been able to forget and which also was the inspiration for Lorraine Hansbury’s stage-play “A Raisin in the Sun,” was even written by a Blackman – and Langston Hughes at that! I didn’t even know the poem was called “Harlem.”

But I digress, years later, in college, when I learned about the Harlem Renaissance, my professor lectured on the question that still plagues Black artists today, but which probably originated during the Renaissance, which was at that time referred to as THE “NEW NEGRO” MOVEMENT:

Should Black artists create ART FOR ART’S SAKE or for POLITICAL AWARENESS in the attempt to educate the masses and MAKE A STATEMENT through the medium of art/music/literature?

Of course, you can probably guess my stance on this topic, but I think Langston put it best in his article “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” (1926)

“One of the most promising of the young Negro poets said to me once, ‘I want to be a poet–not a Negro poet,’ meaning, I believe, ‘I want to write like a white poet”; meaning subconsciously, ‘I would like to be a white poet’; meaning behind that, ‘I would like to be white.'”

The question, rather, the approach a Black artist takes towards his medium depends on his approach toward life in general, I believe.

If he feels politically driven, it will manifest itself through his art. If not, it won’t.

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