Why Creativity Is Important To The Black Community

Kwanzaa DrummersReginald LewisFlickr/CC-NC-2.0

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This article is part six of PushBlack’s seven-day Kwanzaa series. If you missed yesterday’s story, click here to check it out.

Happy Kwanzaa! Today, we celebrate the sixth principle, known as Kuumba, or creativity.

According to Kwanzaa creator Maulana Karenga, Kuumba calls for us “to do always as much as we can, in the way that we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than when we inherited it.”

Kuumba encourages us to reflect on the fifth principle, Nia, or purpose, and develop creative ways of achieving our goals. This creativity can come in different forms.

The most obvious form is artistic expression. Traditionally, we have used the arts to depict the Black experience in ways that offer new perspectives on the issues we face in society.

Our community is filled with talented people who use music, visual arts, dance, and other artforms to express our range of emotion and lived experiences in ways we can connect to. This creativity often contributes to a healing process for both the artist and the audience.

We must support these artists, and find ways to ensure they continue working for the best interest of the community -- instead of being diverted by the lure or materialism that comes with creating art as a commodity in American society. We’ve seen far too often how our messages can be diluted when money replaces liberation as the inspiration.

Additionally, creativity does not only mean artistic creation. It can also mean determining creative solutions for the issues we face in society.

Throughout history, we have found creative ways to liberate ourselves. For example, just look at the creative ways enslaved people escaped slavery; or the Montgomery, AL bus boycott (1955-1956) where the Black community rejected discrimination and stopped using public transportation, working together to create alternative methods of transportation.

Even if you aren’t a traditional artist, you can still contribute creative ideas to develop solutions to many of the challenges we face.

For more info about Kwanzaa, check out “The African American Holiday of Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture.”

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