Black Power: What Does It Mean Now?

Growing up during the post Black Power era most definitely impacted my psyche as early as 5 years of age. Images of proud Black people, fists raised, Afros high and neatly shaped; people greeting each other with What’s up, brutha? Good morning, sistah. Was a regular occurrence. Black people always were excited whenever Black folks were on t.v. and it was always a high moment when Black achievement was recognized and highlighted in various forms of the media, but particularly in the media. I remember whenever this would happen, neighbors and family would all call each other and make sure to convey that “Black folks were going to be on this or that tonight, y’all. This sounds hilarious but this was big for the community and our people. We were being validated. And it gave us pride. Music, sports, fashion, business and politics, Black folks were making strides.

However the power of the politics and passions of the Black Power movement of the sixties began to diminish in the mid seventies. As time moved on…the images that once were familiar to me became distorted.  The failure of the Black Power movement is that it didn’t inspire nationalism as a habit–it became more of a cliche. The younger generation only heard soundbites and images of something that should have been normal culturally and relateable; and not just for entertainment purposes and faux-intellectualism. Many just became disillusioned.

The tough looking, cool, aloof, leather coat wearing, banner carrying young black men and women that were visible in the sixties, waned. No longer were Afros in style but Jheri Curls. Fashion became eclectic and everything old became new. I saw images of Black people becoming less Afrocentric and more conservative. Men wore Stacy Adams shoes…double-breasted shirts, parts cut into their hair; the ladies wore retro chic fashion and shoulder pads became the rage. Big hair was normal in the eighties and people seemed to go about everything in a mundane fashion until the mid part of the decade. Miami Vice, The Cosby Show, Hill Street Blues, were all hit shows. Rap music, Madonna and Michael Jackson would dominate music and music videos would forever change how we looked at artists. However, America began to learn new words: Crack and AIDS would change life forever and greed would mark the decade. By the time the nineties came; people started to pay with their lives for their actions of the past. Gang violence began to takeover communities. HIV/AIDS deaths increased, crack babies were being born, crackheads, drug deals gone bad…these things left an aftermath and a legacy. Neighborhoods began to change–communities torn apart. Angry faces began to be seen on videos and Black youth turned away from talks of God, community and the good ‘ole days from their parents and began chanting songs that reflected a generation that had been abandoned, confused and was now lost.

Today, we are in a new millennium. We have a Black President. Have Black Politics ended? In Less than 5 years, Blacks will have a Trillion dollar buying power and millions of Black men and women have graduated from some of our greatest learning institutions and White people now think it’s cool to date and marry us, but what is Black Power? What does it mean today?

16 comments on “Black Power: What Does It Mean Now?

  1. Adeen says:

    Black power also means getting an education and helping out our community. Black power means supporting Black businesses. Black power means opening your own business. Black power means not supporting White or non Black businesses.


  2. There is black power, supporting black businesses and boycotting florida based businesses, hit em where it hurts.


  3. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and also the rest of the
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  4. noah says:

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  6. swandiver says:

    If we continue to rely on the current political/protest structure in our community, nothing will change. Some people may disagree but we need to move black protest away from the church and make it more secular because there are aspects of Christianity that I believe are incompatible with real political and economic progress.

    At this point in time, accountability should be the key word in any discussion with people who want to be so-called leaders. Though at this point, a hierarchical structure seems slow and outdated in today’s world.


    • truthangel07 says:

      I feel that Black people must become more educated about the world system before we try to create a new world order for Black America.


      • swandiver says:

        The problem is, the current world order is specifically designed NOT to educate us about the world system . . . especially in America. The vast majority of Black people in this country should have passports, traveling all over the world to get some real perspective. But all too often, our leaders and hierarchical structure will be the first one waving the American flag, spouting jingoistic and ignorant nonsense that we’ve been told is patriotism.

        The Black leaders that the government always thought were the most dangerous (like Malcolm X) were those who urged us to make a connection with oppression worldwide. That there was no difference between us and Palestinians or Tamils or South American native people or and poor and oppressed people. The current world order keeps African-Americans in a sounding box echoing the same old ineffective rhetoric, constantly acting in reaction to American white culture instead of basically setting out on our own.


      • truthangel07 says:

        But who’s fault is that, really?

        If you know that there is a force out there trying to stop you–why do you ALLOW IT to control you?

        Libraries are all over the country. There simply is no excuse for anyone to be ignorant in this day and age.


  7. swandiver says:

    The Black Power movement of the sixties was deliberately undermined through FBI programs like COINTELPRO and the de-legitimizing of most African-American leaders who supported a nationalist agenda. It did not place enough emphasis on controlling the means of production in our own community so that our ownership could act as a stop-gap to racist government policies that decimated our communities. Yes, we could fight the landlords for cheaper rent or better living conditions, or we could have organized and bought the buildings ourselves. That is just one example.

    The definition of power is universal and timeless: The ability to control and alter one’s destiny as one sees fit. Having Black Power, real black power is going to demonstrated when our fates are not tied to the whims and direction of Mainstream culture in America. When our culture stops being defined by the reactions to racism and starts becoming something new.


    • truthangel07 says:

      I totally agree with that. Totally.

      What do you think will come of the Trayvon Martin issue/tragedy? Will progress be made or will this just be yet another disappointment Black people will have to endure?


  8. Adeen says:

    Black power today means learning to love and respect your race and people, getting educated about your history, supporting Black businesses and most of all valuing God, family and culture.


  9. mstoogood4yall says:

    good question what is black power? I think black power is knowing ur history and controlling ur dollar. Black power is being respectful to other black people. Black power is supporting black businesses and raising confident black kids who love themselves. Black power is taking care of yourself and loving the people in your life. Black power is… a beautiful thing.


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