chapter  11
20 Pages

The Same Old Danger/But a Brand New Pleasure”

The Black Arts Movement in the Twenty-First Century
ByAjuan Maria Mance

At the end of twentieth century, US scholars turned their attention to the Black Arts Movement most often to scrutinize how its emphasis on the black male experience of racism marginalized African American womanhood and overlooked some of the specific ways that racial terrorism and enforced segregation had shaped black women's lives. Black Arts Movement inherited its male-centered aesthetic from the poets and theorists of the Harlem Renaissance who, in turn, inherited their masculinist bias from the artists and intellectuals of the post-Reconstruction era. In locating the African American woman as helpmate to the male revolutionary, Black Arts women create portraits of the Afro-American wife and mother that affirm the vision of black womanhood offered in the writings of their male counterparts. Nikki Giovanni and Carolyn Rodgers' desire poems represent an early stage in Black Arts women writer's exploitation of the transgressive capacity inherent in depictions of their everyday lives.