THE DARKER BROTHERS
For this 6x8 work on paper, I used a copy of my original 36x48 painting "The Darker Brothers Laughing" which was inspired at the time by a Langston Hughes poem. The original painting was made with a found b&w photo of an early 20th century Black rodeo cowboy. The photo was copied, enlarged, colored with photo oils, and cut out (Xacto knife.) Then a "twin" brother was created in the same way. The two pieces were glued to my acrylic background incorporating elements of the hateful Confederate flag in shapes mirroring the hideous robes of the grotesque KKK.
For this current work, the copy of the painting was digitally mounted on words from the poem called "I, Too Sing America." LAUGH...GROW STRONG...THEY'LL SEE HOW BEAUTIFUL
I AM. I, TOO AM AMERICA. Here is the poem:
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong.
Tomorrow, I'll be at the table When company comes. Nobody'll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then.
Besides, They'll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed— I, too, am America.
Hughes was a Black poet, writer, and playwright. He wrote insightful, colorful portrayals of Black life in America from the 1920s through the 1960s. He was a major force in the Harlem Renaissance, or, New Negro Movement as it was called. For Hughes it was an extraordinary time of collaboration and creation by Black artists who made Harlem, for a time, the center of Black culture in America. Any proceeds from this work will go to Fisk University.