Black History Month of poems is an email series that aims to engage subscribers on the topic of the African American experience--past, present, and future--through poetry. Poets are prophets, and black poets have brought and continue to bring us especially valuable messages about who we are as a nation.
Each email features a poem, a short commentary, and a collection of resources that help put the poem in context including author information, and parallel works of art that further expand on the poem.
THE WEEKLY EMAILS
James Weldon Johnson (1817 - 1938) was a poet and songwriter who famously composed "Lift Every Voice and Sing" in collaboration with his brother. The song was an inspiration to the black community and was named the "Negro National Anthem" by the NAACP.
Read the poem, hear a performance of the song, and learn about some of the art that "Lift Every Voice and Sing" inspired.
Music is its own kind of poetry, and there are many contemporary black artists whose compositions, music videos, and lyrics have been incredibly influential and prophetic in the same way that many poems have been. Think Kendrick Lamar's "Alright" or Beyonce's "Lemonade."
As the demographics in the United States continue to change and racial tensions run high, these voices have become increasingly important to me.
This playlist includes a variety of popular hip hop artists. If you are new to hip hop, I recommend the [CLEAN] playlist. And if hip hop just isn't your thing, hear me out.
Hip hop was THE most dominant genre in the US in 2017, yet it has not received the kind of media attention or recognition its artists have earned. Here I see another connection to poetry. Powerful poetry that moves us and inspires change from the bottom up, has always come from a the margins.