Life of the Party: Say It Loud

The Root and IMPACT team up with the Corcoran to celebrate the Congressional Black Caucus and provocative upcoming exhibition, ‘30 Americans.’
By Tyler Sullivan

Glowing attendees at the Corcoran, celebrating with The Root. Photo By Meredith Rizzo.

“Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud”—a saying once thought and felt, but, relays artist Glenn Ligon, one that could only be whispered.

Today, however, Ligon and others not only get to shout this saying, but celebrate it. Identity is something to be honored, pronounced, and upheld; and in the upcoming ‘30 Americans’ exhibition at the Corcoran, Ligon and others will do just that.

“Say it Loud,” the name given to the private event hosted by The Root and IMPACT Arts + Film Fund last Thursday, September 22, celebrated the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference, highlighting the journey of identity and offering guests a sneak preview of the Corcoran’s much-anticipated 30 Americans exhibition.

Through the show’s title, “30 Americans,” rather than “African Americans,” or “Black Americans,” creators hope to convey the question of racial identity, rather than the factual statement of nationality. (Rubell Family, November 2008) This question is tackled by each artist in their own unique way, highlighting the many differences that make up the people of America as a whole.

Opening October 1 (through February 12, 2012), 30 Americans features provocative works, raising and explicating these questions of personal identity. Works showcase racial, behavioral, and sexual identity issues through the work of some of the most prominent African American artists of the last three decades, while exploring the influence of artistic legacy and community across the years.

Many of the artists represented in 30 Americans use their art as a means to express, contend with, and tackle these very personal issues in ways that are meaningful to them as individuals. The Root, and many others involved in putting on this creative event and eye-opening exhibition, hope to unveil these personal struggles and invite others to share in each artist’s process of navigating them—inviting everyone to “say it loud.”

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