Thursday, September 30, 2010

BREADANDROSES: Responses to blog posts.

BREADANDROSES: Responses to blog posts #1 and #2.

Blog Post #2, question 2.

What is Reed's argument about why music was so important to the Civil Rights movement? What are some of the specific roles it played in the movement? How does this relate or compare to your own experiences of the role of music in everyday life, or the relation of music to politics?

          Reed explains in detail the purpose and effects of the strong influence of music during the Civil Rights movement. The role of music had many uses and purposes according to Reed, but in my opinion from the reading it was developed by the afro-american community to counter the oppresion of the racist society. In one form I believe that upon enduring centuries of slavery a culture of resistance developed where one of the many practices(against slavery) developed which included the use of music as a powerful tool. This was a strong factor in countering the torment of suffering slavery. Perhaps orginally used to communicate in code, but also to motivate, uplift the spirits of the many who had relatively few other options to counter face or oppose thier oppresors. As detailed in the chapter " Singing Civil rights", The Chirstian religion was a very dominant force in organizing, developing and leading the Civil Rights movement and upon reaching the 1950's the role of singing effectively evolved and was in use as a tool for the movement. Youth movements as well as older conservative movements for "Freedom" applied the use of music to overcome fear, express solidarity and communicate a message. most notable during protests, the communal chanting and singing of thier message reflects much of what can be seen in media to this day; almost anyone who watches a documentary on the Civil Rights movement can recognise a gathering most associated with singing songs of peace, freedom, and racial equality.
         I believe music is a powerful force in humanity because it influences behavior. Whether your a mother singing a lluaby to sleeping child or a boxer listening to the rocky theme before a fight, the power of music will always have a role and use in everyday life. Today you can hear politicians attempt to win a following by using music as a tool; in thier political campaigns they choose the audience and a favorable song to address the setting, trying to create some kind of commonality with thier target, as if they really represent them and share simlarities, I only know that my favorite presidents are dead presidents in my wallet.

Blog post #1, question 1. 

In his essay "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," poet Langston Hughes talks about the challenges faced by Black artists. What does he see as the main challenges? Then look at the selection of poems from the Harlem Renassaince from your packet. What connections do you see between Hughes' essays and these poems?
            Langston Hughes mentions in his essay a "mountain" that represents challenges for black artists. In this passage Langston hughes describes in hiw own words what the challenge represents. "...the mountain standing in the way of any true Negro art in America—this urge within the race toward whiteness, the desire to pour racial individuality into the mold of American standardization, and to be as little Negro and as much American as possible." During this era in the 1920's the Jim Crow laws were influential in the south and nationwide/worldwide racism was very abundant and openly expressed as well, hence in my prespective Langston hughes very much openly expresses this social reality in his works; where dominant societies were influenced by racist white ethnocentrsim. In reality for black artist during the 20's I believe mainstream america at the time was a very challenging place for a non-white to be accepted. Even presently, dominant status quo of white society still provides a challenge for non-whites in many aspects economically and socially, as is commonly seen throughout the United States despite the racial and ethnic demograhic changes taking place. For example, there are very few racially/ethnically integrated communities existing as opposed to seeing the common racially/ethnically separated communities, proving intergration is a long way off. I dont believe a large mainstream utopian society is possible in my lifetime, but the idea is nice.


  1. Hi Jorge - Thanks for your blog link and welcome aboard. Looks like you have some catching up to do!

  2. hi prof, im catching up, I'll be up to date by tuesday.

  3. Hi Jorge - Great, thanks for updating. You have two interesting posts here - relating to Hughes, how do you think artists are affected by the extent to which our culture remains segregated?

  4. Presently, from my little experience and knowledge of contemporary art or art communities, I can strongly suggest that with artists whom express thier racial or ethnic or whatever difference in relation to segregation in general, may use/express thier form of identity in thier works. A gay/lesbian, latino, black, in my view would express thier own interpretation of thier state of mind in thier works; as art is a form of self-expression and people are usually influenced by thier thier life experience and enviroment. In relation to hughes concerning black art, In my opinion.. from seeing art pieces in black communities many forms of expression, that express a solidarity with thier enviroment and history. One other very common form is graffiti, some called "pieces" that depict visually abstract colorful wording of thier "tag" names, usually representing the urban/street culture. some other forms express "africanization" where the theme is usually black characters with african influence, and may be very colorful backgrounds with scenes of african people, or "black empowerment" with images of black leadership, like murals of MLK and so on. Basically there is a polarization from the mainstream media preference towards "art". If you go to the MET there are many euro-centric forms of artworks as main the attractions, I remember that they were nice but even I found little in relation to new york from my experience, BTW I'm giving educated guesses from what I've seen growing up in NYC. I remember about 8 or 10 years ago an interesting form of artwork I believe was done by a black woman.. She took a picture of the Virgin Mary and smooshed cow dung all-over it under a clear cover, it caused controversy form the catholic community and was all over the news. My mother even found it ridiculus, but I thought it was an interesting statement of freedom of speech against religion, kind of like the muhammed pieces done today.

  5. I remember that controversy too - the painting itself was kind of beautiful, ironically. You raise interesting points about which art gets validated where - we'll see more similar questions later in the semester. Great reflections!