Neo-realist literature represents some significant changes in the consciousness of African diaspora. The literature of this period gives a realistic portrayal of those difficulties that African people can face. It explores such themes as oppression, lack of opportunities, and injustice. The language is also important for the poets, who worked in the neo-realist tradition.
They used words and sentences that best described the experiences of black people and the hardships that they had to overcome. However, neo-realist poets and writers urge the audience to remember that they have the power to achieve success. This paper will show how this literature helped African people embrace their past and empowered them.
First of all, it should be noted that poets and writers relied more on their cultural heritage. For instance, one can mention the poets who called themselves Neo-Griots. This name originates from the word “griot” that referred to West-African poets, story-tellers, and musicians (“West African Griots” par. 6). These people played an important part in the social life of African societies.
The thing is that they spoke about the main values of people, the struggles, and difficulties of people. Neo-Griots relied on this tradition because it represented a part of their cultural heritage. They wanted to be viewed as spokesmen of the nation. Moreover, in this way, they tried to emphasize the idea that black people should accept their culture and art because it could help them to resist racism and oppression.
One of the themes that they explored was social injustice. They focused on such topics as economic disfranchisement, lack of educational opportunities, or prejudice of the state, and so forth. The realistic description of these problems was aimed at showing that African people have the same capabilities, but they are often deprived of opportunities.
In this regard, one can certainly mention the famous Deaf Poetry Jam. This event was participated by many performers who tried to act as poets and story-tellers. For instance, the poet, who is known as Black Ice, explored the experiences of black children who were raised in the inner-cities. In particular, this performer spoke about the availability of drugs, lack of educational opportunities, and family problems (“Def Poetry Jam”).
In this way, the poet enables the listeners and viewers to put themselves in the position of these children. However, there is a significant peculiarity that one should not overlook. Black Ice urges people to imagine what would happen if these children had these opportunities (“Def Poetry Jam”). He certainly prefers the neo-realist style, and he accurately describes the difficulties of children who are raised in such conditions.
He also gives an empowering message by saying that the current condition of black people can be changed. Their current social status should not be regarded as something permanent. To some extent, he urges the audience to remember that they are capable of bringing improvements to their lives. This is one of the major messages that neo-realist writers and poets tried to convey.
Overall, neo-realist literature showed the past and present of African people were full of oppression, suffering, and injustice. These poets and writers also tried to demonstrate that black people can and should change the situation. These are the most important peculiarities of neo-realist literature. One of its aims was to demonstrate that human beings were a free agent who could improve the quality of their lives.
Def Poetry Jam. Ex. Prod. Russell Simmons. New York: HBO. 2006. Web. 16 May, 2012. < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kVT89O6cLo >
West African Griots 2008. Web. 12 May, 2012. < http://www.accessgambia.com/information/african-griots-1.html>