Sunday, February 12, 2017


Black Art In America
BARBERSHOP, oil painting by artist Kadir Nelson

I have fond memories going with my father to his barber. In those days boys talked when asked something. I sat for hours listening to these Black men run through the gamut of topics. Laughing and joking were a part of the time with soul or blues music in the background, and most notably there were no women there either. Looking back that meant a great deal. Men needed and need time alone amongst ourselves. Cigar bars, barber shops and parks where checkers is being played are the last vestiges of an old tradition these days.

In fact, newcomers to life need to understand the sanctity of barbershops because in the U.S. for centuries it was against the white man's law for Black people to strike whites, or defend themselves against the advances of whites; even if they tried to kill you. Barbershops were a place white police left alone. "They ain't on the street corner," you could imagine them saying. "Must be alright, then." You see Black men in congregation terrified whites because high intelligence, a just cause, physical prowess and rage were a lethal combination.
- Gregory E. Woods, Keeper of Stories 10.17.16

Older Black man photographed by Wanda Lotus a BAIA member
at a neighborhood block party
in Bronx, NY 3Sept2016, she titled Lotusland.

There are not enough photographic works on the power of the older Black men who lived through the 20th century thoughtfully with intelligence and a propensity for violence in defense of self, family and community. - Gregory E. Woods, Keeper of Stories

teaching technique popular today.

The phone. The phone has less to do with communication.

I learned how to communicate in my youth and developed it as I aged far into my adulthood. The phone, for the most part, retarded in many the powers of language, of the word as power, and disallowed communication skills to develop in far too many young people. Instead of creating a 'new' sophistication it did not. It create a bizarre version of zombie status with a nerdy type of disconnect from the deep sensations of being connected to the vital energies of Life, of Creation!

I use a land line. As I get older using the phone becomes less and less in the forefront of my attention to the details of life moving forward. Communication, as an art form, develops continually and I enjoy it immensely. - Gregory E. Woods, Keeper of Stories (Dawn Wolf)

The Fly Hip and Ageless
Black man's style of dress, elegant along the hard lines.

Hardness present in an elegant way defines some Black men's lives. Fashion hid this to the dim of sight, and made it clear to others who've understood their own struggles towards the light of who they are meant to be in this world of ours.  What clothes don't cover within Black American men is struggle and delight. When a man wears his clothes right he is wearing himself. When he isn't he is off his focus. But, near the end of our lives approaching old age clothes are simply definitive statements and style is the man and less the child who has to wear someone else's version of identity.

I may be wrong on all counts. My sense of style and fashion is fundamentally influenced by my little sister's strong gift with cloth. Making all of the clothes she has ever worn her depth of perception about cloth and spirits wearing cloth has taken me outside of the spectrum of the impact of men's clothes designed and made by feminine men. You see, something about the spirit in cloth, and design sets truly masculine spirits into dominating what is around and within them. That is the mark of hardness present in an elegant way defining Black men I was pointing out.

Manhood is not defined by feminine matters not from the essence of the female essential to the depth and growth of Man. - Gregory E. Woods, Keeper of Stories 10/18/16 

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