When the Lyrical Muse Sings the Creative Pen Dances – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

If you’re a regular reader of my national African-American cultural arts column, you may have noticed that I have not been posting articles as frequently as I once did. The reason is simple enough. Having reached a certain point in the research for my current book-in-progress (at least one of them anyway) I had to reduce as many additional writing obligations as possible to fully concentrate on completion of the work.

For me, this is the part of authorship when the lyrical muse sings and the creative pen dances. The greater bulk of the more rigid tasks of verification and documentation have been satisfied, and imagination may be allowed to take over the processes of narrative construction. The resulting musical flow of image and language stamp the work with its own unique identity. And its own self-defined meanings destined to merge with different readers’ interpretations of the same.

The Writer and the Times

I started the national African-American cultural arts column on July 13, 2009, with a story about the debut of Johnny and Me, Savannah author Miriam K. Center’s play based on her friendship with the late 4-time Academy Award-winning composer Johnny Mercer. That was followed by a profile of acclaimed artist Jerome Meadows.

The next month, August, saw the launch of the controversial series on the trial (and eventual execution) of Troy Anthony Davis, convicted for the murder of Savannah policeman Mark Allen MacPhail.  Not writing about Davis’s trial, to my mind, would have been a case of gross negligence. Doing so was one early indication of what readers would discover over the next few years: basically, I found it impossible to restrict myself (as asked to do) to the subject of “the arts” as pertaining to African Americans.

Please check out the full post by clicking here: When the Lyrical Muse Sings the Creative Pen Dances – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

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The Abbreviated Mind Faces ‘The King of Music’ Dilemma (part 1 of 2) – National African-American Art Examiner

Michael Jackson in the studio.

Michael Jackson in the studio. (Postered Poetics enhancement of pr release photo)

For those members of a given demographic made uneasy by the idea of eventually becoming just one more minority in America, an abbreviated mind taking note of the evolving dynamics could react with overwhelming fear. The carnage inflicted by Dylann Roof in Charleston, SC, just last month may be considered one such case. That demonstrated by the Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik in 2011 illustrates how analogous scenarios are playing out across the globe.

The idea and reality of losing previously-held political power and privileged authority based on racial domination could (some would say apparently does) encourage violence against those perceived of as a threat. Certainly the ongoing violence inflicted upon unarmed African-Americans by armed White-American policemen ––the latest most visible cases being that of Sandra Bland in Waller County, Texas, and Sam Dubose in Cincinnati, Ohio, does very little to suggest otherwise.

From the opposite end of the undulating spectrum, populations growing increasingly more powerful and reacting with abbreviated minds may, conceivably, develop a penchant for vindictive behavior. It is in fact wholly possible that the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the choking death of Eric Garner in New York City, later followed by shootings of policemen described as “retaliatory,” are precise examples of the dynamics in question. Such scenarios, however, represent only a fraction of the kind of personal, local community, national, and global chaos that an abbreviated mind, especially when linked to intentional guerrilla decontextualization, can cause.

Periods of shifting demographics, along with the often overwhelming giant crashing waves of sudden historical events themselves, often create odd partnerships and dangerously extreme polarization. Fear of getting lost in the shuffle prompts many to abandon personal ethics for some semblance of security motivated by a heightened sense of raging and yet repressed anxiety.

To read the complete post by Aberjhani please click here
The abbreviated mind faces “The King of Music” dilemma (part 1 of 2) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com
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Michael Jackson One Theater production. Video interview with director Jamie King.

How Creativity and Social Responsibility Inspired 5 Memorable Moments | Aberjhani Author-Poet-Literary-Consultant | LinkedIn


Rainbows introduce us to reflections
of different beautiful possibilities
so we never forget that pain and grief
are not the final options in life.

Aberjhani

Measuring the success of a given year by the percentage of profits gained or lost is a sensible enough practice for many individuals and an essential one for various organizations. However, I decided going into 2014 that I wanted to commit time throughout the year to finding ways that creatively honored the concept of mutually-empowering and life-enhancing partnerships. The goal was to combine as much as possible measures of social responsibility with different types of creative endeavors.

Why such an intensely-focused approach? Because the still-straggling uncertainty of the economy, the domestic gun violence that broke America’s collectively-beating heart nearly every other week, and rising waves of conflict on the global front made it far too easy to succumb to such dispositions as cynicism, nihilism, and actions motivated by anything other than an ethical perspective.

Since partnerships, or relationships, by definition require interaction with more than just oneself, not every effort was as successful as I might have hoped. Certainly not all would top a list of favorite #My2014Moments even when proving what some might describe as “profitable.” Still, others resulted in beneficial reconnections with previous colleagues and some produced thrilling adventures in formerly unexplored territories.

5 Memorable Moments

1. Taking a Stand for Compassion: Toward the end of the year 2013 I promised to sign the Charter for Compassion on the first day of 2014. That affirmation so far has not impressed groups such as ISIL, Boko Haram, the Taliban, or Al-Qaida to revise their habits of employing guerrilla decontextualization to misrepresent a major religion and justify heinous actions against noncombatant civilians. It did, though, prompt me to write three of my stronger articles in 2014 on the world’s attempts to reconcile chaos with sanity:

To check out the full list please click this link:
How Creativity and Social Responsibility Inspired 5 Memorable Moments in 2014

by Aberjhani

Creative Flexibility and Annihilated Lives (essay with poem)

“The systematic looting of language can be recognized by the tendency of its users to forgo its nuanced, complex, mid-wifery properties for menace and subjugation. Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence…”~Toni Morrison, 1993 Nobel Lecture in Literature

(This segment of Creative Flexibility and Annihilated Lives is published in partnership with Voices Compassion Education.)

Like many authors I dive headlong almost every day into a torrential flow of words sparkling with possibilities. I then work to extract from that linguistic flow a collective of sounds, imagery, ideas, and entire compositions capable of offering relevant reflections of the world experienced both inside and outside my own head. Such a mindful exercise in disciplined creative passion tends to focus my thoughts more on striking a balance between the unyielding clarity of prose and the seductive allusiveness of poetry than on the demands of managing a public image.

Because I give myself so wholly to the furious embrace of language on a regular basis, I rarely classify myself as a specific kind of writer. It is usually editors or readers who decide on my behalf whether I am more welcome in their world as an essayist, fiction-writer, historian, poet, or another breed of fever-driven scribbler. They provide the context in which a meeting of our minds may occur and share notes on specific facets of what it means to be in this world.

The differences between the various literary forms are obvious enough but it is not unusual for one genre, during a heated word-session, to flow at will into another. It happens much the way a dancing couple or individual might boogy-bounce nonstop from one song to the next––the rhythm calls and the soul answers.

Please continue reading the essay with poem by Aberjhani by clicking this link:
Creative Flexibility and Annihilated Lives (essay with poem) (article) by Aberjhani on AuthorsDen
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Text and Meaning in Michael Jackson’s Xscape (part 5 of 5)

Art graphic for

“In more ways than one, his status as a ‘superstar’ served largely as a vehicle that allowed him to render as much service to humanity on as many levels as he could.”––Article Excerpt (Aberjhani) 


The lucky number seventh track on Xscape, “Blue Gangsta,” is the perfect musical metaphor for the would-be thug of steel who discovers he is as vulnerable to the anguish of a broken heart as anyone else. The L-O-V-E giveth and the L-O-V-E taketh away. 

The menacing progression of chords and scheming vocals that made “Smooth Criminal” so irresistibly sinister is brought to its knees in “Blue Gangsta.” With atmospheric rhythmic tension generated by snare percussions, violins, and anxious horns, Jackson’s voice with impeccable delivery creates a brooding drama of the heart:

“No where to run, no where to hide
All the things you said
And the things you’ve done to me
You can no longer make me cry…”

The song extends the album’s theme of love as a multifaceted adventure through great joy and sometimes equally great pain. In “Blue Gangsta” we view it from the painted perspective of a realist, as Jackson has done before in compositions that explore love’s less euphoric side. The title also gives a nod of respect to the musical genre most famous for lamenting shattered hearts: the classic Blues themselves.  


Xscape and Guerrilla Decontextualization

Tempo-wise, the title track of Michael Jackson’s second posthumous release holds its own with such fever-driven classics as “Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” and “Tabloid Junkie.”  That Rodney Jerkins worked extensively with Jackson on the original recording from 1999-2001 and was able to revisit it more than a decade later makes it easier to accept the contemporized version as something the megastar himself might have done.

Lyric-wise, the song “Xscape” documents the King of Pop’s nonstop battles with the forces of guerrilla decontextualization. As a black man who defined and redefined pop culture with virtually every album released during his solo career, Jackson was a prime target for those who used guerrilla decontextualization

to portray him in the media as a “whacko” or “pervert” rather than as the brilliant creative artist and exemplary humanitarian that he was.

For the full post by Aberjhani please click this link:

Text and Meaning in Michael Jackson’s Xscape part 5 of 5 – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

 

Mothers, Daughters, and Slavery Make Disturbing 2014 Holiday News (part 1 of 2)

Nigerians call for justice on behalf of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. (photo by Reuters)

Nigerians demand justice in case of kidnapped students and better laws to protect girls. (photo by Reuters)

In chilling contrast to the lyrical verse and candy-sweet images that millions of American families are preparing to enjoy on the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day, May 11, the families of almost 300 abducted school girls in Nigeria are struggling to maintain sanity while praying for an end to the ordeal. 

The students reportedly were abducted from the Government Secondary Girl School in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, on April 15 (some reports say April 14). On May 4, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan issued an appeal to the international community for assistance finding and returning the students, who range in age from 16 to 18. President Jonathan stated, “This is a trying time for this country… it is painful,” and promised parents that he would not allow the kidnapping to go unsolved. 

Video in which the extremist leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, surfaced May 5. In the video, Shekau boasted that he intended to sell some of the girls into slavery and force others into marriage. On May 6, additional reports began to emerge that another eight girls, aged 12 to 15, had been abducted from a village near Boko Haram’s suspected stronghold. 

Social media, blaring the hashtags #BringBackOurGirls and #StolenDreams, helped to increase international outrage over the mass kidnapping itself. However, outrage has also intensified over the failure thus far to recover such a large number of young women. Since the original kidnapping, some 50 of the student managed to escape while approximately 220 remain captive.

 

Terror and Guerrilla Decontextualization

That the mass abduction is criminally heinous and spiritually tragic is something not even a marginally-informed person would deny. It should not, however, be described as an accurate expression of Islam. When the terrorist labels it as such, he is doing nothing more than utilizing guerrilla decontextualization to replace the spiritual goals of the religion with an individual lust for power and a deadly disregard for human life.

To check out the full article by Aberjhani please click this link:
Mothers, daughters, and slavery make disturbing 2014 holiday news (part 1 of 2) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

Text and Meaning in T.J. Reddy’s Poems in One-Part Harmony (part 1 of 4)

Cover of poet-artist T.J. Reddy's classic antiracism volume

T.J. Rdddy’s “Poems in One-Part Harmony”: A rediscovered classic by a hidden treasure of American art and literature.

“And the syndrome goes on;
this is only a poem,
wondering when to our senses
we will come home.”
––T.J. Reddy (from A Poem About A Syndrome)

Most of the more celebrated names among African-American authors, poets, and artists are known to the world because of their association with specific cultural arts movements. The recently-deceased  Amiri Baraka has been identified as a hero of both the late 1950s Beat Movement and the 1960s and 1970s Black Arts Movement. Poets such as Gwendolyn Brooks and Sterling Brown remain renowned for their link to the Harlem Renaissance.

One of the more powerful qualities of such movements is that they often inspire more creative genius than the world takes time to recognize. Or sometimes they produce creative thinkers of a type that “others” tend to fear and consequently attempt to destroy. It is possible both these scenarios may be applied to the poet, visual artist, human rights advocate, and educator known as T.J. Reddy.

A Select Catalog Listing

As a painter, Reddy’s work reflects the traditions of the Harlem Renaissance and the colors of the tropics––blazing reds, yellows, oranges and turquoise––assembled to present absorbing visual narratives on the culture and history of people of African descent. As a poet, he occupies a self-constructed space that bridges the aesthetic qualities and cultural concerns of fellow wordsmiths such as Haki Madhubuti, Etheridge Knight, and Henry Dumas. As an advocate for racial and social equality, he holds the uneasy distinction of having been one of “The Charlotte Three.”

His first book of poems, Less Than a Score But a Point, was published by no less than Random House’s Vintage Books imprint in 1974. That singular event literally placed his name in a select catalog listing beside some of literature’s most noted pens. They included those of: Langston Hughes, W.H. Auden, Albert Camus, William Faulkner, Sylvia Plath, Marcel Proust, Jean Paul Sartre, and Quincy Troupe.

To read the complete powerful story by Aberjhani please click this url:
Text and Meaning in T.J. Reddy’s Poems in One-Part Harmony (part 1 of 4) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.