Thuistezien 62 — 23.05.2020

All Power to the People!
Jared Ball

On the occasion of the exhibition ‘All Power to the People!’, at the end of 2018 an international symposium took place at West, which featured several prominent speakers such as Emory Douglas and Kathleen Cleaver, both former members of the Black Panther Party (BPP). Also attending was Prof. Dr. Jared A. Ball, giving the presentation 'Defining Phenomena: Propaganda, Power and The Black Panther Party' that not only paid tribute to the work and struggle of the BPP, but also came to remind us that this struggle is far from over. During the lecture he shows his compassionate character and the determination with which he continues to fight for the global emancipatory struggle that took place in the second half of the twentieth century. He does not only touch upon the Black Power movement in the US, but also on issues such as decolonisation, feminism and anti-racism. How do we as a society deal with such movements, is there a place for them and are they being heard? How do the media react to that and are they critical enough? Are we as a society being critical in our turn?

At times like these such questions seem more pressing than ever. During a crisis, the weaknesses and shortcomings of a system are exposed. Art always looks critically at the world that surrounds us, which is what Jared Ball is also trying to do and what he’s advocating for. ‘Keep producing the work, keep doing the work – the art needs to keep coming.’ The system we live in, created by the US and the Western world at the forefront, allows us to oppress people and silence them, leading to inequality and reinforcing a sense of injustice. The example of the Black Panthers is just one of many where established power structures have successfully managed to isolate and ignore certain ideas and ideologies. He argues that media and pop culture play a major role in this and he not only tries to make us aware of that, but pleads in favour of breaking through these vested structures. It's not all about the clicks, views and likes, it's about creating something substantive. And if we want to achieve that, we need to have an honest discussion of ideas.

Jared is a father and husband. After that, he is Professor of Communication Studies at Morgan State University and is founder/curator of – a platform that advocates the importance of and the need for so-called ‘emancipatory journalism’. Recently, in early 2020, he had his book 'The Myth and Propaganda of Black Buying Power' published, which is undoubtedly a great addition to the lecture he gave, in november 2018, at West.