Furious Flowers: Using Black Arts Inquiry and Pedagogy to Engage Black Males

by Lasana Kazembe

Apr 1, 2014

This essay urges a turn to ways of knowing, valuing, and meaning making based on inquiry and teaching around cultural ideas espoused during the Black Arts Movement (1965-1976). As an alternative paradigm, Black Arts inquiry and pedagogy is presented as a functional extension of African American cultural knowledge and life praxes. A Black Arts curricula encourages critical resistance to ideologies imposed by the dominant culture and promotes development of culturally based aesthetic and materialist approaches that make worthwhile use of African American cultural knowledge.

  • Kazembe contends "there is a need for marginalized groups to engage and leverage indigenous cultural knowledge."
  • Kazembe sees a Black Arts-inspired critical literacy curriculum as a "deliberately revolutionary model designed to empower, educate, and uplift."
  • The poetry of Black Arts writers Amiri Baraka and Etheridge Knight can engage Black males around ideas such as resistance, identity, and power.
  • Black Arts curricula provide Black male students with "high-octane" culturally grounded educational experiences that are contrary to the 'education for service' model and lean more toward the 'education for power' model.
  • At the crux of Black Arts inquiry and teaching is a critical literacy rooted in exploring, embracing, and elucidating African American historical memory as a cultural asset.