We are starting a new Sunday Series over here at “. . .Or Does It Explode” called “The Artist and the Revolution”. Each week, similar to “Legends of the Ball” we will feature an important artist who has contributed to the building of a new society, who has contributed to the revolution. First up. . . EMORY DOUGLAS!
Reflecting on revolutionary movements always brings me back to Emory Douglas, the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party. The breath of his work in the party is astonishing and commands respect. There is always talk about how artist are the first to be corrupted or to be turned away from revolutionary struggle, because artist are seen as reflectors. They are seen as people on the fringes of the movement articulating more creatively what other militants are putting forth with no greater connection to the struggle than their contribution of talent. And while this may be true of some I believe that it is a very narrow and simplistic view of the artist and the revolution. Hearing Douglas speak and looking at his work it become all too clear to me that artists, visual and performance, are essential to the building of a movement. Art holds the potential to touch people in ways that words shouted at rallies through amplifiers can never achieve. It is because the need to create and articulate experience is something that is at the core of human experience. It is the light in all of us and when we see it in a revolutionary context it becomes potent. Light reflecting struggle.
Here is an interview with the man himself, done for the “Eyes on The Prize” series.