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Erykah Badu is hosting a two-part series about the Black Power and Black Arts movement of the late ’60s and ’70s on BBC Radio 4 called “Black Is A Country.”

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The first segment, which aired last week, touches on the political climate of the era while exploring some of the underground music of the time. (via Pitchfork)

Badu describes how there was a creation of a new consciousness, a new aesthetic as the Black Arts and Black Power movements emerged from the failures of the Civil Rights era. Some respected names such as Sonia Sanchez offer insights. Free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman explains how he worked on creating new sounds for the new era. And saxist Archie Shepp talks about wanting to make a difference through art.

Plus there are interviews with contemporary artists such as Talib Kweli who discusses the impact that ’60s activist Stokely Carmichael had on his life and music.

You can stream it over on the BBC’s website. The second part airs Thursday.

The BBC site also features an informative description of the major players of the era and details some of impact that the movements had on African-American culture and politics.

‘The Black Power and Black Arts concept both relate to the Afro-American’s desire for self-determination and nationhood’ wrote the African American philosopher Larry Neale in 1968,’…a main tenet of Black Power is the necessity for Black people to define the world in their own terms. The Black artist will make the same point in the context of aesthetics.’

Badu’s voice can also be heard in the riveting documentary, The Black Power Mixtape. You can watch the trailer below.


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