How do you paint racial struggle?
Art and the Racial Struggle in America have always been linked. Art has been used as a tool in the ongoing racial struggle in America, and has helped to unify, divide and define all Americans in some form. Art itself has always been a difficult term to define, but I believe that based on any one persons definition, it can be an antidote or a form of resistance against certain kinds of discrimination. W.E.B. Du Bois make a strong argument for the role in which art plays in the racial struggle and defines art as “propaganda”, even in the face of purist. It is because of my exploration of Du Bois’s article, “Criteria of Negro Art”, that I firmly believe art and the racial struggle are linked.
The world has changed since W.E.B. wrote the “Criteria of Negro Art.” The art work produced by many minority artists has become more socially acceptable; however, this does not mean “white publishers catering to white folk” does not still exist. The fact that many minority artists in the main stream forms of art, like music, movies, and television, have a limited voice is troubling. I have seen several cases of minority artist with vast amounts of talent, criticized for speaking out on contemporary issues of discrimination. A good example would be Kanye West and the MTV Video music award ceremony in 2009. After Taylor Swift won the award for best female video for the year, Kanye, unannounced and uninvited, walked up on stage and claimed that Beyonce, a fellow black artist, had a better video and should have won. He was in essence calling out MTV for awarding Taylor Swift, because she is white and Beyonce is Black and the award, which is voted on by the fans, favored Taylor. Because he spoke out and expressed his frustration, Kanye received a huge backlash from the media and the industry. Most of it was due to the manner in which he interrupted Taylor on stage but also because he claimed the award was unjustly presented. Kanye felt that...
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