The Politics Behind the Black Aesthetic

The Politics Behind the Black Aesthetic

Blackness as an identity has always been fraught with controversy. There has never been a time in history where blackness occupied a neutral space. Being black has always been affiliated with some sort of political stance, whether that of resistance or oppression.  Simple things such as dress and culture have always meant something far deeper for black people across the world.

The history of oppression faced by people of African descent globally made way for various resistance movements aimed at empowering black people. One of the ways in which this was done is through art and music. This was particularly prominent with African Americans during the civil rights movement where wearing one’s hair in an afro was seen as a strong political statement. Art and aesthetic as a form of resistance continued with the rise of hip hop.

Black youth went against all forms of “respectability” and created their own subculture which allowed them to voice out their social and political angst. The hip hop looks, although mainstream and popular, were considered quite obscene and degenerate by society at large.

Black art and fashion continue to be topics of conversation in political spaces, especially with the rise of identity politics in mainstream media.

In what ways do you feel like your identity is political as a black person? Comment Below.


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