Bebe’Kids, Out from Under

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Mural by Tschabalala SELF (Baltimore Museum of Art

After months of pandemic lockdown, the Baltimore Museum of Art opened its doors to the public, April 2021. 

I’m walking through an art exhibition entitled, NOW IS THE TIME. Artists, Not born in the 1800’s, but from the 1960’s to 2002. DALIN HALEEM, was born in 2002. JARRELL GIBBS was born in, 1988. 

As I kept walking, I stopped at the exhibit entitled, THE FIFTHE CHILD BURNING, by LONNIE B. HOLLEY. 

Lonnie B. Holley’s, FIFTH CHILD BURNING

A torrent of emotions made highways through my system. Should I hold my hand over my mouth to scream out loud, muted slightly by my four fingers and a thumb? Should I stomp on the museum floor in expressions of rage and sympathy? Or should I be dignified and whisper silently, in a language only I could understand? 

NINA SIMONE’s “MISSISSIPPI GODDAM”, flashed through my mind. I could see Nina at her piano, wishing she could jump up from that piano stool, eat some spinach, and like Popeye the cartoon character, with amplified vigor, flail that piano through the 20-foot wooden concert doors, with a heaving chest, tears and spittle bellowing, “now I can breathe!”. 

RUFUS, by VALERIE MAYNARD

Bebe’s kids are not done yet. In an adjoining room, emblazoned comparable to the size of a theatre screen, is a work by TSCHABALALA SELF.  (opening photo above).

And then there is the stiff upperlip copied from Rufus by Baldwin.

To stand next to a black female figure 15 to 20 feet tall with all the prodigious mounds that made white men leave their mansions to fornicate in the bowels of the ghetto, is very intimidating, and for some men regardless of color, this experience, could lead to appointments with mental health institutions.

Artist RAMSESS, quilts SOJOURNER TRUTH.

Bebe’s Kids are not only out from under, they are out breathing fire. …WHAAAAT!!! Could be the reaction in the neighborhood.

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