The H3O/Art of Life Blog

Search
  • The H3O/Art of Life Blog

WORD UP!

By Dr. Gloria J. Latimore-Peace

Presented by Omni-University


"The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of a lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don't see." Ancestor James Baldwin


When an artist embarks upon a discussion of matters that are vital to the well-being of his/ her community, finding a novel approach might not be the first thing to come to mind. Yet, it must be understood that a prerequisite for making the case relies on getting the readers' attention. This can be quite a challenge, especially in areas where metaphors and similes that can be used to compare the rare to the commonplace are found to be non-existent. In moments when they find themselves facing the language barrier that we call "lost for words", there is no other option but to "word up", i.e., to create them.[2]


Yoruba Priestess Iyanla Vanzant is primarily recognized as the TV personality and relationship coach who recorded nearly a decade of episodes of the " Iyanla, Fix My Life!" Television series. She is known for her declaration that," You gotta call a "thang" a "thang!" However, for every writer whose awesome charge it is to do just that, calling a "thang" a "thang" is more than a notion when the reality is that there is no- thang". It is at times like these that we have to "make a way out of no way"; that all of us- especially the Black writer- must default to the Ancestors, the Guardians of our Culture.


One of my favorite writers is multi-talented Artist Debra Hand whose current essay in Black Art in America was the inspiration for this one. Its ingenious title is, in part, "Who Would Win if Nina Simone, James Baldwin, Gil Scott Heron, and Miles Davis Played a Game of Bid Whist With Words?..." [1]. Ms. Hand's opening salvo was, " Yep. I'm trying to start some stuff." But, she didn't have to tell the readers that because we knew, by the title alone, that we had already been set up.


From this point onward, our only choices are to "suit up" or "hat up" - or- in the case of yours truly- to "shut up".So, I'll just go ahead and defer to the ones with the best hand. I'm not getting ready to get caught up in an attempt to analyze her essay because I know at least two things:(1) Debra Hand, is a renowned Multi-media Artist, one of whose specialties is "dropping game"; and, (2) A writer who has the audacity to set that premise before us, is about to " run a Boston". Word.


The stakes are too high and the deal is too real, so don't expect any of the stakeholders to "get out the game". But, don't start me to talking. The Ancestors have been cued, "Let the game begin!" Here's your Link. Click on it below:


[1] "Who Would Win If Nina Simone, James Baldwin, Gil Scott Heron, and Miles Davis Played a Game of Bid Whist With Words?: Artist Bisa Butler, as Well as Najee Dorsey's new Billboard, might just Hold Some Clues" by Debra Hand


Recommended Reading


[2] "James Baldwin and His Switchblade Mirror" by Debra Hand


Recommended Listening


Gil Scott Heron " Winter in America"


Nina Simone "I Put a Spell on You"


Miles Davis,"It Ain't Necessarily So"


Recommended Viewing


James Baldwin 1979 interview (ABC- TV),


204 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Please Log in / Sign up to comment.