To take an oppressed people and stifle their soul stirring expression of the arts then set them free in an environment like Harlem, New York in the 1930s only produced the fevered burst of creative works in every area of writing, dance, music, design, fashion and culture known as the Harlem Renaissance.
Understanding what this period in American history has done to shape not only the black experience but the mainstream pop culture influence, one must absorb the main facet of greatness in Langston Hughes’ poetic prose. From his literature and life analyzing angles to his painful painting of how time isn’t our friend, he lead the movement with words. Mere letters and scarred memories by this man cultivated an air of wanting to share feelings and knowledge amongst his peers and followers.
The spirit of this time lives on in the generations of the descendants of this iconic era. Hip-Hop is the direct grandchild of the time period and continues the baring soul of the inner workings of hurt, happy and honored people.
Street Art is a close sibling to what has become of a melding of different visual times clashing on it’s rawest level. The easiest way to connect it to Hip-Hop is to just mention Graffiti as a rebel culture that defaces buildings in the name of youthful and creative expression...but that would demean the various works of amazement that covers the streets of the world.
When the mysterious modern artist Banksy stencils a anti-political visual on a random international side street he sheds the worlds light in the darkest of locations. His selection of street space rather than a ritzy gallery intensifies the message of being connected to the people that are lost and need to be awakened with eye-opening displays. Ones that can spark the individual into free thought, lending to the theory that intelligence is just below our everyday surface of interaction.
Street art is more than spray paint, markers, wheat paste, glue and swirls of random angst. It’s heart and soul speak in symbols.
Respect the movements that are change agents and will continue to inspire life as we know it.