Saturday, October 8, 2011

On art. Feb. 2009

I did some heavy-duty thinking after the Grammy guy's comments last night.  I believe arts should be in the schools and arts should be funded.  But I also think that when government gets involved, a formerly flourishing thing can wilt pretty quickly.  Art exists despite government.  Proponents of an arts czar (I did some reading) say that all great civilizations are marked by their wonderful art, I can't help adding that this great art is often dug up out of the ground because the great civilization is long gone.

There are some things considered art that offend my soul.  The pervading ideology of some gangsta rap, that many extol as urban poetry disturbs me.  It disturbs me as a woman.  I recognize its right to exist, but I don't play it at my place.  I don't think it feeds healthy things to a culture.

I think this crystallized when I saw something a few years back in my neighborhood.  An African girl (wearing a dashiki) was walking back home from the laundry with a basket on her head.  A small group of young boys were riding bikes behind her, as she ignored them, yelling:

BOOM!! it's on, bitch nigga we'll rock yo' room
BOOM!! bitch what's happnin'? (WHAT?!)
BOOM!! bitch what's happnin'? (WHAT?!)
BOOM!! it's on, bitch nigga we'll rock yo' room
BOOM!! bitch what's happnin'? (WHAT?!)
BOOM!! bitch what's happnin'? (WHAT?!)

Art molds us and we mold art.  I guess not ALWAYS in good ways.  But, at least, I wrote a poem about it:


A sharp rock under the ball of the foot

Hums the memory of bruises

These things are the apochrypha of us

Taking memory space

Waiting for the lightning strike

Connecting time to grace

A girl in the hood

Her name is Princess

Walks misunderstood

With her head held high

In the faraway nearby

Remora follow on swerving bikes

Yelling the rap someone sold them

BOOM!! It's on, bitch nigga we'll rock yo' room

Sanctioned thoughts decaying

I ran into Certs guy

At the convenience store

He always smiles at me

I think his thoughts must be minty fresh

I realize as we rise above

We're all just in the line for love

You squeak where you are and the globe convulses

Through my open windows

I hear the f word in the courtyard

My mind decelerates

Relaxed among the blasphemy

And time accelerates

The edges of me blur

Into the surrounding sound

An origami lame duck folding

Into dog-eared pages of ephemera


Art exists at its best in a free society. Art drinks liberty for its survival.  I worry that "governmentalizing" arts will lead to a repression of free speech and a diminishment of art that is critical of government, or critical of the ideals a certain faction of government wishes to sow.

No comments:

Post a Comment