This weekend Tavis Smiley re-ran his two-hour radio program (heard here on Sats. and Suns., 2 PM, in two parts, one each day) made from the "Black Latino Summit" held in Los Angeles late last year. One of the moderators and spokespeople is Wendell Pierce (Bunk - The Wire -- he's also starring in the new Simon series set in contemporary New Orleans).
Wendell Pierce is a serious artist. He's also a cogent thinker and articulate. He spoke clearly to the need for people to not confuse art with culture, that these are not necessarily the same sorts of expression. He defined the differences. He followed up with describing how art can, and may, and often does, grow out of culture. Then he connected both art and culture with activism, while insisting that there is a necessary place in any community's culture for art, and that parents should do their best to bring up their children with art as much as culture. IOW, museums, theaters and ballet lessons are as important for nurturing identity and community as is church and other cultural expression.
He describes the split between the African American communities and the Latino communities. He explained how his move to Los Angeles taught him what their communities shared culturally. His connection of the funeral second lines of New Orleans to the Latinos' El Día del Muertos was brilliant.He and the other moderators did a spectacular job too, of explicating just how the power structure works -- and spends lots of money on -- keeping the African American and Latino communities divided, along that same old effective strategy of 'divide and conquer.' We all must be smarter than to be used that way.
The Tavis Smiley show website is here.You may find the broadcast archived there, or listen to it streaming, depending on the time it broadcasts in your area. Listening is highly recommended.