Analysis Of The Black Arts Movement In Oakland

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Oakland is a community flourishing in the arts, poetry and literature that has historically ignored in academia by major publishing companies. Most of this work consists of oral/performance poetry and flourishes in communal spaces, spaces that work towards unifying the community and creating a safe environment for underrepresented and marginalized communities.From the beginning of the Black Arts Movement in the 70s with writers such as Ishmael Reed and Sarah Webster Fabio have pushed the boundaries of what it means to be a writer. There is a new emergence of creativity in Oakland that has been inspired by the upsurge of political movements.
Poetry is a dialogue between the poet and the world. Established writers that have spoken out against
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I have attended many cyphers and spoken word poetry readings that are speaking on the central issues of American society today like racism, classicism, sexism, and homophobia. Young people in Oakland are living these realities while expressing themselves through language. Many of the poems in these readings speak on police brutality, violence in the inner city, and deeply emotional poetry about mental health and self care. In class we discussed how poetry is becoming increasingly autobiographical. In this case amongst many young brown and black people it is inescapable since there is very little coverage on the exploration of these real experiences. One notable poet that is tackling these issues is the Youth Poetry Laureate Azariah Cole-Shephard. In poem titled “For the Black men My Love Cannot Protect” we find the central themes of her poem reflect her reality as a young black woman.
For we are not stepping stones toward liberation
We be the backbone that backs you up when nobody else got you.

Dear black man,
I can continue to carve the words “I love you” into your skin with my eyes
But I traded my besos for the bullets I would take for you
My cries for chrome knuckles raised to the sky
And death for deconstruction of the system that don’t want us here.

© Copyright Azariah Cole-Shephard

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