Tuesday, February 21, 2012

BLACK: POST BLACK: BACK TO BLACK......ROBERT COLESCOTT, CAMILLE BILLOPS, KARA WALKER

Traditional images show blacks unified culturally, politically, and socially, united by race at venues such as churches and community meetings. But in the “post black” era, even though individuals define themselves first as black, they do not necessarily define themselves by tradition as much as by personal interests, points of view, and lifestyle.

Post-blackness entails a different perspective from previous generations, one that takes for granted what they fought for: equal rights, integration, middle-class status, affirmative action and political power. While rooted in blackness, it is not restricted by it. It is complex and challenges/rejects the notion that there is a correct or legitimate way to "blackness". Post-blackness has no patience with “self-appointed identity cops” and their “cultural bullying.”



Robert Colescott:
















Camille Billops:








The Post-Black Condition
By ORLANDO PATTERSON
Published: September 22, 2011

Much has been written on the benefits that accrued to the generation of African-Americans reaping the rewards of the civil rights revolution. But we have heard surprisingly little from those in the post-civil-rights age about what these benefits have meant to them, and especially how they view themselves as black people in an America now led by a black president. In his new book, Touré’s aim is to provide an account of this “post-black” condition, one that emerged only in the 1980s but by the ’90s had become the “new black.”

Post-blackness entails a different perspective from earlier generations’, one that takes for granted what they fought for: equal rights, integration, middle-class status, affirmative action and political power. While rooted in blackness, it is not restricted by it, as Michael Eric Dyson says in the book’s foreword; it is an enormously complex and malleable state, Touré says, “a completely liquid shape-shifter that can take any form.” With so many ways of performing blackness, there is now no consensus about what it is or should be. One of his goals, Touré writes in “Who’s Afraid of Post-¬Blackness? What It Means to Be Black Now,” is “to attack and destroy the idea that there is a correct or legitimate way of doing blackness.” Post-blackness has no patience with “self-appointed identity cops” and their “cultural bullying.”
What this malleability means, according to nearly all the 105 prominent African-Americans interviewed for this book, is a liberating pursuit of individuality. Black artists, like other professionals, now feel free to pursue any interest they like and are no longer burdened with the requirement to represent “the race.” Indeed, when they do explore black themes, as most still do, they feel at liberty to be irreverent and humorous. Thus Kara Walker, a typical post-black artist, unhesitatingly “mines modern visions of slavery for comedy without disrespecting slaves.” There are no sacred cows, not even the great civil rights leaders. The artist Rashid Johnson is typically candid in a way many older African-Americans are bound to find hurtful and ungrateful. According to Touré, some of Johnson’s work says, “These people are our history, so honor them, but also, these people are history, so let’s move on.” Ouch!
Post-blackness also means an expanding of collective identity “into infinity.” This involves a radically new inter¬cultural fluency, partly exemplified in hip-hop but also in the new hybrid genres challenging its hegemony. For ¬every Eminem there is a post-black Santigold, who counts the Pixies and punk rock among her strongest influences. Oddly, there is no mention of the retro-futuristic singer Janelle Monáe, whose portrayal of an android as the Other — pamphlets listing Monáe’s “Ten Droid Commandments” for individuality have been handed out at her concerts — has to be the ultimate in post-blackness.

Such fluency undergirds complete ease in interethnic relations. Touré, himself married to a Lebanese-American, praises the effortless “mode-switching” of celebrities and leaders like Oprah Winfrey and President Obama: “Blackness is an important part of them but does not necessarily dominate their persona.” This allows them not only to trust and be trusted by European-Americans, but to seamlessly display the many forms of blackness when the occasion demands.

This all sounds idyllic, but there are problems. To his credit, Touré — a correspondent for MSNBC, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and the author of three previous books — devotes nearly half of “Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?” squarely, if not always successfully, to confronting them. If blackness has become so infinite and malleable a thing, wherein does it exist? Touré insists that there is a “core” there and that “who I am is indelibly shaped by blackness.” Nonetheless, many blacks, including members of his own generation, may wonder if there is anything left, as Touré discovered one terrible night in college. During his freshman year at Emory, he had hung out mostly with white friends, but soon enough was spending “all my social time with black students.” Later on, after a party at the black dorm, a large black man from Alabama barked at him: “Shut up, Touré! You ain’t black!” Devastated, Touré spent the rest of the night in the soul-searching that eventually led to the present book.

Helping him to understand, in the words of Henry Louis Gates Jr. (an interviewee), the core beneath the “multiplicity of multiplicities” of ways to express blackness were the many successful people he spoke to. Post-black identity, we learn, resides in the need to live with and transcend new and subtle but pervasive forms of racism: “Post-black does not mean ‘post-racial.’ ” This new racism is invisible and unknowable, always lurking in the shadows, the secret decisions of whites resulting in lost opportunities blacks never knew about or even thought possible: “There’s a sense of malevolent ghosts darting around you, screwing with you, often out of sight but never out of mind.” Even so extraordinarily successful a person as Elizabeth Alexander, the tenured Yale professor and inaugural poet, claims to be haunted by “a continual underestimation of my intellectual ability and capacity, and the real insidious aspect of that kind of racism is that we don’t know half the time when people are underestimating us.” Touré, though he doesn’t call it that, seems to have unearthed here a new post-black sociological evil: counterfactual racism.
Less metaphysical accounts of what constitutes post-black identity turn out to be nothing more than the shared experience of living with, and overcoming, lingering old-fashioned racism, of learning to ignore the white gaze, along with the added burden of disregarding the censoring black one. This sounds remarkably like a black version of what Alan Dersho¬witz calls “the Tsuris Theory of Jewish Survival,” in which assimilated American Jews desperately need external troubles and imagined enemies to maintain their identity.

Touré is at his best in his finely delineated observations of the joys and dangers of post-blackness, whether it is being lived or being staged. He offers a wickedly funny account of a performance piece by the artist William Pope.L, some of whose “best-known projects are his crawls, where he dons a business suit and crawls on hands and knees through miles of Manhattan.” During one such performance, in Tompkins Square Park, an older black man accosts a white man who is videotaping Pope.L, thinking that the videographer is humiliating a homeless brother. “What are you doing showing black people like this?” Pope.L tries to explain: “I’m working. . . . I create symbolic acts.” There is generational bewilderment: “What is a symbolic act? Crawling up to the white man, or what?!”

Touré fully assays the “complex and messy and fluid” possibilities and dangers inherent in post-blackness in a dazzling deconstruction of the tragicomic art and life of Dave Chappelle. Utterly uninhibited by black or white gazes, Chappelle irreverently cast a sharply revealing light on black life that drew a multiracial audience of millions to his Comedy Central routines. But did he go too far in his comic mining of traditional black postures and vulnerabilities? Touré suggests that, in the end, Chappelle came close to both prostituting and pimping the black life he had once so endearingly parodied, and that in a terrible moment of self-recognition he realized that his “comic mouth has written checks that his body is afraid to cash. . . . The freedom of the post-black era has scared him to death. So he picks up the gauntlet he threw down at the beginning of the show and he runs,” ditching a $50 million contract for the anonymity of Africa.

For all its occasional contradictions (why the put-down of the comedian Byron Allen for his Middle American cultural fluency?) and omissions (there is no consideration of the ways immigrant blacks and mixed-race people are contributing to post-black hetero¬geneity), this is one of the most acutely observed accounts of what it is like to be young, black and middle-class in contemporary America. Touré inventively draws on a range of evidence — auto¬biography, music, art, interviews, comedy and popular social analysis — for a performance carried through with unsparing honesty, in a distinctive voice that is often humorous, occasionally wary and defensive, but always intensely engaging.



Kara Walker:













Michael Ray Charles:







Beverly McIver


















BAMBOOZLED:
(LANGUAGE WARNING)




PLEASE READ THIS ARTICLE PRIOR TO WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7 AND COME TO CLASS THAT DAY PREPARED TO DISCUSS WITH GUEST SPEAKER CHRISTOPHER HUTCHINSON.:

Our Front Porch: Would Atlanta Benefit from a Postcolonial Dialogue?
Written By Christopher Hutchinson on January 1, 2012 in Our Front Porch



What is Kehinde Wiley really saying? Art credit: Kehinde Wiley (American, born 1977), Thiogo Oliveira do Rosario Rozendo, 2009, from the series, The World Stage: Brazil, oil on canvas, collection of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, 2010.8. Image courtesy the High Museum of Art.

The idea for BURNAWAY originated from a front-porch conversation about the need for more dialogue about local art. Please welcome Christopher Hutchinson, today’s guest writer of Our Front Porch.

I visited the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center during the National Black Arts Festival last year, and when I surveyed Melvin Edwards’s exhibit Inside & Out, I was stunned. Really!? Is this supposed to be the most contemporary African American artist working in the Atlanta art scene? While I enjoyed the exhibit, I was disappointed that the most contemporary discussion you could have about Edwards’s work would be based on a concept that is over 60 years old—formal analysis circa 1950.

But, depending on your perspective, Edwards’s exhibit may indeed be viewed as radically advanced in comparison to the antiquated African American art often found at Hammonds House Museum. The art typically presented at Hammonds House continues to romanticize concepts crystallized in the Harlem Renaissance, which happened over 80 years ago. Nostalgia is being perpetuated, and a living, evolving culture is marginalized, bottled up, and packaged for sale. We’ve grown up on Good Times, but why are there still African American artists whose highest aspiration is becoming “The Black Picasso of the Ghetto”—stuck attempting to figure out synthetic cubism. Aaron Douglas figured it out a long time ago.

Discussing a work strictly in formal academic terms—line, color, form, composition, value—carries with it a conscious universal language that ends up being the editing of culture. The postcolonial dialogue concerning African American art is outdated and diluted. This problem is global and is also one of the major contributing factors for the archaic state of the Atlanta art scene. When will African American art enter into an avant-garde dialogue in step with current times, instead of always working in retrospect?

So much of contemporary art today is connected to contemporary philosophy—philosophies that are often French and theories of art that are constantly evolving, but deriving most of their power from Marcel Duchamp. In order to have a truly contemporary African American art dialogue, we have to be just as fluent in modern and contemporary black/African American philosophy, such as the writings of James Baldwin, Frantz Fanon, Fred Moten, and Stuart Hall.

Are Atlanta’s institutions of learning equipped with the resources for teaching students how to deconstruct African American art through the lens of these philosophies? Through my own experience as a Jamaican/American artist and professor of art at Atlanta Metropolitan College, and after receiving my MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, these problems and questions are present in my own practice as well as teaching. Omission and inclusion into the history depends on whether we have an adequate vocabulary for critically analyzing African American art.

Postcolonialism envisions a mental space where people affected by colonialism may return to an original context of their own history, in one’s own language. Put plainly, postcolonialism takes the aspects that are important to a culture, from that culture’s perspective, and uses them to build that culture up.

The dialogue has made a little progress in America. Thelma Golden and the Studio Museum of Harlem, for example, has engaged in the dialogue by introducing some the most famous black/African American artists of late, one of the most notable being Kehinde Wiley. Wiley uses a Western visual narrative to portray the spectacle of hip-hop, the spectacle of blackness, in a romantic light.

Using hip-hop, slavery, and art history to point out the omission of Africans and African Americans from history is not actually postcolonialism. It just points out a redundancy: colonialism exists. Can we truly say that Kehinde Wiley is using his own language, or is he using the exotic nature of hip-hop and specific links to art history as an “in” to the contemporary art scene? Using the language of academia has been a decisive choice for African American artists. The African American artist’s conflict is “how do I edit my work just enough for it to be accepted into whatever institution?”

The nostalgic packaging of African American culture is not just restricted to exhibits at the Hammonds House Museum. I found the same ideals fused into Radcliffe Bailey’s exhibit at the High Museum. To its credit, it was a truly successful exhibition that received a great deal of acclaim and press. And overall it was beneficial to the Atlanta art scene. Nonetheless, with the exception of a few pieces such as Windward Coast and Cerebral Caverns, the exhibit was once again nostalgia at its finest. Baseball fields, guitars, music, and references to Satchel Paige were all packaged into large-scale memorabilia, again marginalizing the African American experience.

Charlene Teters is one artist that has embraced postcolonialism. She reclaims her Native American culture from a colonial aesthetic and returns to the ritual practices of her native tribe. She does not attempt to fit into the mold of a Western aesthetic or narrative. Teters could care less about the formal elements. She does not use a Western narrative to engage the viewer. Her intent is to destroy the exotic nostalgia present in Native American culture. As a result of her work, many “Indian” mascots and imitations of Native American culture have been eradicated.

My questions for BURNAWAY’s Front Porch:

What can be done to move past nostalgic blackness?

Does Atlanta have the power and resources to be at the helm of the postcolonial dialogue?

What cultural lexicon or lexicons are present now in Atlanta? How can art relate and incorporate these languages?

24 comments:

  1. To move past nostalgic blackness, African American art must be willing to step into current times and experience postcolonialism. Instead of reaching into the past, one must use their own experience of the present to depict their own idea of blackness. Atlanta could be an idea spot to begin moving to postcolonism- the use of the music, fashion, of the modern people of the city could be used to view the blackness of now. By using art to depict the blackness of now (which can be seen in the people, their music, their fashion) the art can incorporate and relate to the language of the people (the blackness) of now.

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  2. I agree with mjwillis, in order to move past nostalgic blackness, American American artists need to be willing to create art that does not have a direct link to race or Black history. I think that in order for society to consider Black artists as simply artists alone then he or she would have to create themes that arent racially based. As far as Atlanta having the power and resources to create a post colonialism dialouge, I would have to say maybe. I know some consider Atlanta to be "Black Hollywood" so therefore, more Blacks would be able to consider a review or exhibit or what have you, with a wider eye due to the popularity of the city. But once the celebrities or other well known people start to hear about the post colonialism, then they to may want to jump on the band wagon.

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  3. I think that both of you made good points on how to move beyond nostalgic blackness. It is important to note, though, that moving beyond something does not necessarily mean leaving if behind. The article seems to make clear that, while there is a " nostalgic" lexicon in Atlanta, it is not the only lexicon there. I think that the way move beyond nostalgia is to combine these different lexicons - the old and the new - or to at least start a dialogue between them. In doing so, a new lexicon, or vocabulary, will emerge that is capable of communicating not only where we have been but also where we are and where we are going. Since these different lexicons are present in Atlanta, I think that it can be the helm of this dialogue.

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  4. I agree with Kyle. To get past nostalgic blackness you have to acknowledge your cultural past so you can understand it in order to move forward and get to where you are going. While I believe in this, I do think that nostalgic blackness should be as minimal as possible. As stated in the blog, nostalgic blackness marginalizes black culture and may enhance the stereotypical image that already exists. Atlanta does have the power and resources to be at the center of the postcolonial dialogue because the cultural lexicon in Atlanta is so powerful and influential. Many people in the south, especially African Americans, consider Atlanta the mecca for fashion, art, music, and general cultural innovations. Because of this, it would be rather easy for Atlanta to influence people.

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  5. The first question asks what can be done to move past nostalgic blackness and the answer is in the question; move past it. It seems that the article is saying that African American artists keep harping on past subjects and if that’s the case the artist needs to pick their next move and make it. It’s like Jay-Z says, “on to the next one.” I only lived in Atlanta for 6 months in 2010 so I can’t answer yes or no to Atlanta being at the “helm of the postcolonial dialogue.” If I had to make a guess though I would say yes. Atlanta is a prominent city where African Americans can call shots and get things done so if it’s not possible there it’s probably not possible anywhere. I’m not really sure what cultural lexicons or lexicons are present in Atlanta, as I don’t spend that much time there so I can’t answer that question. I wanted to point out though he mentions that Radcliffe Bailey’s Windward Coast and Cerebral Caverns weren’t nostalgic. Windward Coast was about a slave at sea and I’m pretty sure Cerebral Caverns takes it’s name from a Reggie Workman (jazz musician) album. Is slavery and jazz music not “nostalgic packaging of African American culture?” Maybe I didn’t understand that part of the article. As for the article about post blackness, I thought it was a good article. I think it’s neat that people want to break out of stereotypes and start blurring race definitions.

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  6. 1.I think in order to move past post nostalgic blackness its got to be put into the past where it belongs while it is an important thing to remember and never forgotten the way some african americans tell each other there not black if they don't mold to the stereotypes is keeping post nostalgic blackness a part of life for African Americans everyday. It needs to be a thing of the past

    2. I think it Atlanta definitely has the power and resources to be the helm of the postcolonial dialogue. It's just the people there who need to use that power and those resources to move Atlanta in that direction instead of keeping it at a stand still.

    3. Atlanta is known to the souths place for big city art fashion music food sports etc and especially for african americans with jazz and all the art galleries that go on there. if a change needs to be made to make a statement atlanta is the place its going to happen and finally make a change through music and art and change the way he world thinks and creates for african americans

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  7. To get past the nostalgic blackness, people need to accept art for art. They be current with the issues that these artist are bringing to the table. Just because some people "can't handle the truth", as Ms. Amaki would say, these artist are putting the truth infront of the viewer's faces. I think Atlanta has the power to do this movement. Why would any art culture want to stand in this stagnate place. I think Atlanta has very powerful African Americans that could make this happen. The resources are present, and have people that want this to happen.
    I had to look up lexicon, thank you Dictionary.com. I think there is a huge range of languages in Atlanta. It's the big city in Georgia. The languages vary between social classes, different work forces, and more. I believe anyone can enjoy art, but an average Joe might not know how to express it. In my first art critique, I know I just blurted out what I thought of the work. I think he explains this very well here, "Postcolonialism envisions a mental space where people affected by colonialism may return to an original context of their own history, in one’s own language. Put plainly, postcolonialism takes the aspects that are important to a culture, from that culture’s perspective, and uses them to build that culture up"

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  8. To move beyond the limitations of nostalgic blackness, I believe African American artists need to look beyond the history of blackness and reflect on their own personal experiences and inspirations in order to depict a current "new blackness" . The road to postcolonialism starts with artists moving beyond the redundant historical African American culture themes that have almost been deemed as mandatory in African American works, and explore their experiences as an individual. Atlanta definitely has the power as well as the resources to bring about this new sense of blackness. It is viewed as the mecca of art, fashion, and music in the south. Thus I believe this city has the capability to fuel the propagation of postcolonialism.

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  9. In order to move past nostalgic blackness, we can learn to accept racial diversity. Honor the culture and history of nostalgic blackness but learn to forgive societies racism before the civil rights movement in order to continue with contemporary ideas of equality between races. In culture today, in order to move past labels, stereotypes, and racism, an individual shouldn't be easily influenced by mass media and pop culture's perception of race. To further this idea of "post colonialism" African American artist can analyze their identity through their own experiences and influences. Atlanta can definitely assist the power and resources for a postcolonial dialogue. Atlanta has a huge population and a thriving city full of art and entertainment. An artist can derive concepts and ideas just by experiencing Atlanta itself. The language of contemporary Atlanta is filled with art, entertainment, music, and food. I think Atlanta is a place of wealth and social status. Thus, an artist could incorporate ideas of brands, entertainment, and success in their artwork. A good amount of African American art relates to these concepts. For Instance, Kehinde Wiley references to hip-hop through majority of his work.

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  10. I feel to move past nostalgic blackness, artists should not focus so much on the past and what happened then, but more-so their own struggles as individuals. People (or at least me) want to look at a work and feel some connection with the artist. We want to feel like we are relating and sharing something with another human, regardless of race, and not a history book. I also feel that some may further the stereotype. People just have to snap out of it. To promote PEOPLE not race. Nevertheless, the past is still an important part of better understanding yourself and others. I've never been to Atlanta, but as much as I hear Usher (love that dude) mention Atlanta in his songs, it should be a great place to start. Fasion capitol of the south? ATL. Music industry capitol? ATL. It has all the means necessary to break into a "new blackness."

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  11. In order to move past nostalgic "blackness" one must not forget one's history, but one must also not stay stuck in that history. The past is called the past for a reason. It is relevant to our existence but change and growth is inevitable. We as a people must all move forward and see one another for our own individuality as opposed to our skin color. Atlanta has the capability to create a postcolonial dialogue due to it's incredible spirit. Atlanta is one of the most influential cities in America. It is on the forefront of African American art, music and culture. Atlanta's lexicon or lexicons bring forth a "new blackness." A city of cultural influence, creative spirit and individuality.

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  12. To be realistic, it would be extremely difficult to move past nostalgic blackness because its everywhere. One way to move past it or at least try to is by moving on, refer to it but don't live it. I have found myself included sometimes. Looking back will only slow down progress and keep us from living our lives. Moving forward needs to start with artists and I'm not just talking about those who paint or sketch but those who write music, act on television, or perform on stage. These people whether the world likes it or not sets the example or are the images of African Americans, the people in general.
    If there is any southern city that has the power and resources to be at the helm of the postcolonial dialogue, Atlanta would be #1. This shouldn't be an issue. That city is the Chinatown for blacks and there are countless of them that are successful.
    I would definitely say hip hop and rap music has taken over Atlanta. They are also acknowledged for their styles in fashion, contemporary art, and we are all familiar with the celebrity population there. Many artists incorporate these things like Kehinde Wiley and the clothing he used on some of his images. Graffiti is another example in relation to the hip hop era. Atlanta is capable of doing whatever they want.

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  13. To move past the nostalgic blackness I think that the artist should simply move along to the future or still have a sense of emotion to the past related to their work, but have their work translated differently. They should adapt to new situations and have aspiring thoughts from today leading towards different works of art. Since there are still problems and questions about this topic of Atlanta having the power and resources to be at the helm of the postcolonial dialogue as Mr. Hutchinson stated I think that Atlanta does not meet the standards of achieving the helm of the postcolonial dialogue. It also was said that the postcolonial dialogue was outdated and diluted. Kehinde Wiley is a cultural lexicon present in Atlanta. He doesn’t really point out the post colonialism in his work, but he has evidence of just colonialism. Wiley uses his own language of art history, slavery and hip hop to point out the exclusion of Africans and African Americans from history. The language he uses is academia which so to other African American artists use. But by using it they also want their art to be accepted into institutions which they do somewhat proceed. The

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  14. To truly move past nostalgic blackness, I think artists should start looking at the past in a new light. rather than carrying it around with them, remember that it is in the past. Keep it in the back of your head to refer to, but live in the now. Also, I think instead of looking at the past, to look at themselves and what they have learned. This includes their life experiences and what they have learned about themselves as well as their surroundings. Atlanta definitely has the resources to be at the helm of postcolonial dialogue. It has been the mecca for black culture for many years through music and arts. Music and art are both lexicons in Atlanta. Just walking down the street, one can see vibrant and intricate graffiti art. Not to mention the numerous galleries and exhibits, as well as music venues all throughout the city.

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  15. Well, for one "moving past" nostalgic blackness is a step in the right direction, but I also feel that the phrase "those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it" comes to play. I think it's important to move on and see things from a new perspective in our modern lives, but I also think it is important to remember the past. New art and new ideas should and will be born, but I feel as though the past should always been in everyone's minds.
    I feel as though Atlanta could have the power and resources to be at "the helm" of this dialogue, as long as people are willing to go for it and get the word out and put the effort in. Power and resources can be gained, but it first takes motivation and willpower of people.
    The article mentions that the nostalgic blackness is present now and several people have mentioned the fact that music, fashion, and new artists are present in the lexicon, and I feel as though art can incorporate all of these things into a new modern postcolonial movement because I believe that art has no limits to what it can express. People now can take everything that has happened in the past, but look at their lives now and look into the future and create something individual and interesting.

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  16. 1. I think that by marking the past with a respectful humor, Af. Am. artist are, in their own way "moving past" nostalgic blackness. I agree with Kayla, that the past should never be forgotten. Would I forget my heritage and not expose hints of it in my work? No ma'am.. One thing for sure is to look at the past, learn from it, and move on all as equal (not living in the past)
    2. Atlanta does have a lot of black history and with that could grow the power and resources to be at "the helm". Heck I would rejoice in that (i'm from Cumming, GA) However, it takes people with the dream to make this happen. Are there those who are willing to dedicate their time to this pursuit?
    3. There are many buildings, parks, and other famous/art savvy places in Atlanta to have shows, exhibits, festivals, etc. Hip Hop, Rap, and other sounds have made their ever lasting print on Atlanta. This performance art could further Atlanta as a foundation to be at "helm". Not to mention, Atlanta's people is a cultural melting pot. NOt as much as NY, but it's there.

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  17. Perhaps moving past nostalgic blackness will happen when the issues that provoke it are allowed to fully and honestly come to light. While the nation has come a very long way in the past century, painful histories remain too close for comfort. Likewise, realities still exist that bar the way for some to move forward. In other words, issues that make nostalgic blackness still relevant for some need to be confronted directly and honestly before this stage in American history will be put in the past. Atlanta seems the ideal city for the postcolonial dialogue to occur. Atlanta has long been the “Mecca” for African Americans. The large population of African Americans taking part in the arts, education, politics, etc. has all the power to initiate this conversation. The city is more than equipped with its numerous museums, schools and places of higher learning, and influential residents. It will take first an awareness and willingness.

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  18. 1. To move past the nostalgic blackness, I believe that African American Artists need to focus on the NOW of today's world and notice and take into appreciation how far the community has come. Artists should still take into account leaders, fashions, music etc, but incorporate how these things have evolved through out history.

    2. Atlanta is the main hub of the South for fashion, music, entertainment and the arts. I think for them to be the helm of this they need to delve into it immediately and not look back.

    3.There are numerous amounts of Lexicons in Atlanta that can help them push forward from nostalgic blackness. There are museums, schools, universities, parks etc there that can help. Atlanta has a wonderful opportunity to make a new statement in the arts

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  19. In order to move past nostalgic blackness I think that artist need to keep in mind the history, but gear away to the current time. I agree with one of the comments, people saying something like, "you don't act black" is keeping our society in the same place we were.
    Atlanta does have the ability for postcolonial dialogue to occur because of the large population of African Americans. From the population, the success gained by the education on opportunies should prove the stereo typical racism wrong. In Atlanta, many performance art and visual art is offered for many to see. The art is available to spread the awareness as long as it is offered in the right way.

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  20. I think people just have to be who they are. I appreciate art done by blacks that speaks to their history and heritage, but not when it's shoved down my throat. I think a way to move past it all is to do art that is more personal or that speaks to a broader range of people.

    I have little experience with Atlanta in the past few years, but I would expect that as the "capitol" of the South, it would have the lexicon and the power to be at the helm of any postcolonial dialogue that would take place in the South.

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  21. In order for art to move past the "nostalgic blackness" idea, society needs to leave the ideas and burdens of slavery, colonialism and racial stereotypes in the past. How can progress be made if art only dwells on the issue? I appreciate the works that pay tribute to these historical times, but I would love to see more modern ideas. Atlanta could be the capital for these types of changes. If artists began to modernize their work more, keeping up with the progress of today, it would be amazing to see what a city like Atlanta could become. Atlanta is the most urban southern city, in my opinion, full of promise, constant growth and potential.

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  22. Postcolonialism brings to light a plethora of issues regarding the representation of blackness. Specifically, it beckons black artists of the twenty-first century to strive for the balance of representing their history while nourishing their own individuality — a difficult task to say the least. In an effort to ensure that black artists are not limited by their obligation to uplift the race, postcolonials seemingly manage to draw stricter limitations than ever before. Within the post black framework, contemporary black artists now feel the pressure of resolving their own individuality in a way that defies precedent. Simultaneously, postcolonialism functions to liberate black artists from the proverbial machine even while it places increasing constraints and expectations on their work. On the other hand, the most valuable contribution of the push for postcolonialism seems to be its insistence on innovation. Indeed, the danger of stagnancy is particularly latent in the work of black artists insofar as there is a constant expectation to honor the past (specifically, the accomplishments of the civil rights era). By establishing a norm wherein contemporary artists have no preconceived obligation to nostalgia, the postcolonial movement is ultimately one of both innovation and liberation.

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  23. I think the solution is simple: create universal work. It's not that easy for artists like Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, and Robert Colescott. Their works are based on the African American image. That's their passion,and that makes them unique artists. The same can be said about most artists of the African Diaspora. Their works will not change until the world changes.

    Atlanta is the black entertainment capital of the world. They have the resources to challenge this post-colonial dialogue. It's up to the artist of the African Diaspora to jump start this movement.

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  24. Moving past nostalgic blackness means that artists have to try to think about ways in which to create their works without the use of any known stereotypes. Some artists choose to work with these such stereotypes because it is what they are trying to exploit and create, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are displaying them in derogatory or negative ways. Artists who choose not to use any definitive characteristics pointing towards nostalgic blackness and typical stereotypes create works in which display deeper meanings behind the stereotypes without exploiting them at all and cannot be stereotyped itself.

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