After World War 1, the 1920’s marked a new era for American culture, and brought an enormous wave of literature, music, and poetry. This era was dominated by African American culture, bringing artists like Langston Hughes and Claude McKay into the spotlight, paving the way for the cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance.
In many ways, the Harlem Renaissance is highly similar to the social and cultural trends of today. In the late 1910’s and early 20’s, art became a largely popular outlet for the black community, and for the first time, appealed to a wide demographic of Americans. Authors like Nora Zeale Hurston and Jessie Redmon Fauset wrote books about the black lifestyle and black culture that captivated a large amount of people, white and black alike. Similarly, today African American authors are publishing marvelous works of literature that are sweeping the nation as instant classics and show details into the life of a black person in modern America. Books like “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and “Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn Ward.
The Harlem Renaissance was a time where people could publish and write about the normalities of their current lives, while also letting new trends and styles take over and cause a cultural revolution. Jazz rapidly became the most popular genre of music in America, taking modern sound and adding improvised music and rhythm to songs, replacing victorian style opera music. Jazz clubs became the normal hangout spots and everyone learned to play the trumpet after hearing Benny Goodman and Django Reinhardt. Much like today, rap music is now *the* most popular genre of music in the world. Even though rap music was only invented in the 1970’s, there seems to be a new wave of style approaching the scene. “Weird” hip-hop artists and alternative takes on rap are getting a huge amount of attention, whether it’s from BROCKHAMPTON, or Lil Uzi Vert. Some may even compare the poetry and rhythm of Harlem renaissance poets to modern music.
The Harlem Renaissance wasn’t just about art or music, though. It was about identity. America had just ended what was called “the war to end all wars”. Anywhere you looked, there were people who were affected by the war in one way or another. The renaissance of 1920’s America created the black identity, bringing people together to work towards a greater good and equality. The culture continues on today. People still fight for equality and share the identity of new ideas. Community still brings people together, where anyone can relate to a struggle. Empowerment and the spread of black culture carries on today. A newer era of today draws many more similarities to the 1920’s, but the present day world continues to add its own flare and oneness that none other could recreate.