movement in black art, music, and literature, it "was also a significant moment in the history of . . . black lesbians and gay men . . . and the . . . social networks they created-played a crucial role in the [visual arts], in the blues, in the clubs, [in the music] of the Renaissance." 68
Gladys Bentley was a full-figured black woman with a magnificent growling voice who performed in a white tuxedo and white top hat. She was a talented pianist and she was a lesbian. To deny her is to wholly deny the Harlem Renaissance. Gladys Bentley is our sister. Simpson gives us this information and asks that we consider people and their differences. This is the grammar through which a new millennium is made. We learn to accept people and their differences and to aid and assist when there are people in need.
All of these artists in one way or another have given us a new language for the twenty-first century. They have demonstrated in their own grammar that they understand not only who they are, but what they -- and we -- must do. Many of them know each other and have been influenced by each other. This catalogue and exhibition reveal an undeniable cohesiveness. These artists may work in isolated pockets, they may say things differently, and they may see things differently, but there is irrefutable unanimity. They are our passage to the twenty-first century. They have acknowledged that they are vigilant, enduring black women who will continue to contribute positively to life in the Americas and abroad on myriad levels, forever free, as they usher in a new century.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Bearing Witness:Contemporary Works by African American Women Artists. Contributors: Jontyle Theresa Robinson - Author. Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 36.