InThe Kuumba Concept: Creating A Culture many ways, the art world has become a propaganda machine used to reinforce and support systems of oppression. The masses are made to feel inadequate as they are constantly bombarded with images of unattainable perfection, beauty and wealth. Meanwhile, critics rave about the brilliance of these manufactured creations while movies, television shows, magazines and newspapers bombard people with negative messages about themselves, messages that tell them they aren't enough and that happiness can only be attained by having more stuff or becoming more beautiful than the next person.
The Kuumba concept is rooted in the idea that we are all artists, I dare say creators; our collective consciousness is a canvas on which we paint with our thoughts and emotions. We live in a culture that does not encourage us to express ourselves freely. If you don't fit into the mold, if you don't do what you're "supposed to," if you don't think exactly how others want you to think, then you are ostracized. There is a constant pressure pushing you to stay within societies boundaries — any deviation from this zone results in criticism and judgment. Kuumba encourages individuals to move beyond their comfort zones through creative expression. It encourages people to engage in artistic activity regardless of their age, race or sex. Kuumba promotes unapologetic Blackness that makes those outside of our culture uncomfortable.
Let's be clear, Kuumba (which speaks of creativity) is not just about the art of dance or music. It is the art of life. A way of living that rejects the status quo and creates a new reality — a world that we have collectively created in which there is no space for fear, hatred, discrimination or suffering. It is a decentralized network of individuals who have come together to build a better world that we all can share. This movement isn't about money and power. It is about freeing our minds from the mental pollution that has been forced upon us by an oppressive system of power and control, which includes our government, media, corporations, religions and educational systems. Where do we find ourselves at this moment? We find ourselves in a world where our creativity and imagination are suppressed by a system fueled by fear and greed. A system that propagates lies as truth that a majority believe without question. Our Kuumba requires us to ask questions, to do what is deemed impossible, and to change the unchangeable. Here are nine things that we need to be creating with our Kuumba:
1. We need to develop leadership throughout the entire sphere of black life
2. Our leaders need a national forum to share their ideas
3. A combination of technology and communication is vital
4. Black communities must create their own media outlets
5. We need independent economic infrastructure to maintain our own financial independence
6. Black arts, culture and education are so underfunded that they are almost non-existent
7. We must teach our children about who they are
8. Tap into alternative energy sources or technology
9. Looking towards Black Space Colonization
This is the underlying message of Kuumba; that the arts are not a hobby or a form of entertainment, but rather a way of life. It starts with each person freeing themselves from self-imposed constraints and being totally immersed in the creative process. It's about teaching our youth to see life as an opportunity for creative self-expression. It's about breaking free from the prison of Ego, from the mental constructs we had built around us over many lifetimes. This is what real freedom looks like, not just political or economic freedom, but freedom in every area of life.
Here is your proverb for the3 #NguzoSabaChallenge
We shall not give the hyena twice