An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose.
Category Archive: Langston Hughes
To my mind, it is the duty of the younger Negro artist, if he accepts any duties at all from outsiders, to change through the force of his art that old whispering ‘I want to be white,’ hidden in the aspirations of his people, to ‘Why should I want to be white? I am a Negro – and beautiful!’
Without going outside his race, and even among the better classes with their ‘white’ culture and conscious American manners, but still Negro enough to be different, there is sufficient matter to furnish a black artist with a lifetime of creative work.
Humor is laughing at what you haven’t got when you ought to have it.
One of the great needs of Negro children is to have books about themselves and their lives that can help them be proud.
We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased, we are glad. If they are not, it doesn’t matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too.
Even the ‘Negro’ shows like ‘Amos and Andy’ and ‘Beulah’ are written largely by white writers – the better to preserve the stereotypes, I imagine.
Certainly there is, for the American Negro artist who can escape the restrictions the more advanced among his own group would put upon him, a great field of unused material ready for his art.
My personal experience has been that in my 25 years of writing, I have not been asked to do more than four or five commercial one-shot scripts. These were performed on major national hook-ups but produced for me no immediate additional jobs or requests. One script for BBC was done around the world with an all-star cast.
Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.