"We are the only people whose name is always a trend. / When is this shit gonna end? / Look at all the different colors of our skin. / Black is not our color. It's our core. / It's what we been livin" and fightin" and dyin" for" (Robinson).
Throughout the decades, black Americans have had many race-related titles come and go in a touchy battle of what is politically correct for the rest of America to say. Where once their existence was hardly acknowledged, black Americans have stormed the scene of pop culture. Despite the endless changes they have seen, one thing remains true: the purpose of black American art, which is, according to Maulana Karenga, "to make revolution, using its own medium" (1974). .
During the Harlem Renaissance, much debate revolved around this issue. In his controversial article in the June 1926 issue of the Nation, Schuyler argues:.
As for the literature, painting, and sculpture of Aframericans --- such as there is --- it is identical in kind with the literature, painting and sculpture of white Americans: that is, it shows more or less evidence of European influence Now the work of these artists is no more "expressive of the Negro soul" than are the scribblings of Octavus Cohen or Hugh Wiley (Schuyler 1172).
He goes on to point out that the leaders in "Aframerican" art were educated and popularized by American or European institutes. His idea that black Americans didn't create black art at all did not sit well and, in fact, evoked a response from Langston Hughes the following week. .
I, too, personally disagree with Schuyler's claim. To me, all art has a definitive reason for being created: to say something, to get a message out to others. As history was made and racial tension grew, black Americans had plenty to say. Through literature, they"re able to express their ideas, prove their humanity to a skeptical society, encourage one another to band together.