Funny you should ask that, there’s a major mural going up in my Hood, right up on King Dr. It’s a damn orgy of Integrationism. It’s a damn shrine to Non-Violence (ie: Anti-Self Defense). It’s a another Fetishization of all of the failed and treasonous leaders and ideologies that have been plaguing us for the last half century or more.
It has the Usual Suspects: Obama, King, Mandela, and Malcolm X (who has no business along side Mandela and Obama).
It has the Usual imagery of Marches, Praise Singers, Graduating Black Students, Sun Rays, and shit like that.
I guess I should be so hard on the murals and muralist since I don’t really have any real alternatives; and here’s why:
If you don’t use the common Black Heroes most Black people will not recognize who the hell is on your mural, we only know the Black Heroes that the White media feeds us.
We have also lost the curiosity to learn about our history that we had in the Reconstitution Era, the Harlem Renaissance Era, the Black Power Era, the Black Books Movement (of the 70s and 80s), and during the Conscious Hip Hop Era. During those pockets of time there emerged a thirst for Knowledge (of Self) among Blacks, and thus the artist and scholars emerged to satisfy that thirst.
From the late 90s through the 2000s we have been in one of our “fuck Niggas, fuck bitches, get money,” eras that fill in the gaps between the Black awakening eras I mentioned.
There’s a change that the #BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName, #OccupyTheHood, #HandUpDontShoot, #BlackOut, #FTP movements will spark a academic and ideological reawakening to accompany the political awakenings sparked by the media’s coverage of clustered White Atrocities.
Maybe we’ll go back to bragging about our book collection as much as we brag about our music libraries; maybe scholarly and ideological debate will be as hot in the streets as these Rap Battles, maybe Black writers, artist, and scholars can again make a living producing Radical and Revolutionary works for the people again. Maybe.
Wait, what was your question again? Sorry, I went a little off; lemme just give you a straight answer.
I’d put people like Mark Essex, Fanon, David Fagen, Jean-Jacques Dessaline, Yaa Asantewass, Zumbi dos Palmares, Amy Garvey.
I’d fill it up with African Gods and Goddesses, not just the Kemetic Gods tho.
I’d put a woman breast feeding, and a mid-wife doing home deliveries on the damn mural.
I’d do one on the Mau Mau; I’d put “One Settler One Bullet” on there.
I’d paint wanted posters with the images of the many treasonous New Negros in our communities, and a detailed listing of their past and ongoing offenses.
I’d paint an images of all of the parasitic, non-Black owned businesses in the Hood with the fucking addresses, and images of Black (progressive) owned alternatives.
I’d simply paint in big letters:
GENTRIFICATION IS ETHNIC CLEANSING
ETHNIC CLEANSING IS GENOCIDE
I’d put shit that would provoke people to see that Black Resistance is deeper than them damn posters they’d put up around our public schools every February.
Then, if there was room I’d paint a book list for to look deeper into the themes and history of the mural.
But I don’t really have much artistic talent, so what do I know, right?