June 19, 2020

Creative Quotes by Black Creators

Editorial Staff

The Black Community has a fascinating and well documented history of creativity, which has contributed to all aspects of American life. 

Creative masterpieces have sprung forth from Black struggle and celebration. From Negro spirituals during slavery to the creative explosion of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s to the creation of hip-hop in the 1970s, Black creators have given voice to the Black struggle. 

The Black Community has always been a rich source of creativity, known worldwide for its inspirational creations. Black artists have often shared their insights with the world. This article will take a look at the words of Black creators. We will explore the wisdom they have offered us throughout the years. 

There’s power in language. You will experience that power as you read these creativity quotes from some of the greatest Black creators in history. Some are more well-known than others; however, all of their words tell an important story. This list of creativity quotes by Black creators will surely inform and inspire. 

1. James Baldwin

“The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.”

“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.”

“Life is more important than art; that's what makes art important.”

“The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone.”

“Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent.”

2. Edwidge Danticat

“Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. ... Writing, knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them.”

“When you write, it's like braiding your hair. Taking a handful of coarse unruly strands and attempting to bring them unity.”

“I am even more certain that to create dangerously is also to create fearlessly, boldly embracing the public and private terrors that would silence us, then bravely moving forward even when it feels as though we are chasing or being chased by ghosts”

3. Langston Hughes

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.”

4. Ella Fitzgerald

“You never know how a room feels, what a crowd is going to react to. You have to find out when you’re standing out there singing the first time.”

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”

5. James Earl Jones

“You weren't going to the theater to change the world, but you had a chance to affect the world, the thinking and the feelings of the world.”

6. Toni Morrison

“Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation.”

“A writer’s life and work are not a gift to mankind; they are its necessity.”

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

7. Ann Petry

“All truly great art is propaganda.”

8. Richard Wright

“The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination.”

“All literature is protest.”

9. Ralph Waldo Ellison

“The antidote to hubris, to overweening pride, is irony, that capacity to discover and systematize ideas.”

10. Sonia Sanchez 

“I shall become, I shall become a collector of me. And put meat on my soul.”

11. Gordon Parks 

“The guy who takes a chance, who walks the line between the known and unknown, who is unafraid of failure, will succeed.”

13. Duke Ellington

“Gray skies are just clouds passing over.”

“It doesn't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing.”

“Art is dangerous. It is one of the attractions: when it ceases to be dangerous you don't want it.”

14. Maya Angelou

“A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”

“You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

15. Jacob Lawrence

“When the subject is strong, simplicity is the only way to treat it.”

“All artists are constantly looking for something and they don't always know what.”

16. Romare Bearden

“There are roads out of the secret place within us which we must all move as we go to touch others.”

“The artist has to be something like a whale swimming with his mouth wide open, absorbing everything until he has what he really needs.”

17. Zora Neale Hurston 

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

“Some people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships.”

Final Thoughts

Quotes don’t tell an artist’s entire story, but the stories they do tell are powerful. A quote is a snapshot in time that still has meaning in the present day. These creativity quotes from Black artists offer us a glimpse into their reality. They also inspire and inform us in our creative pursuits. 

These artists help guide our work. Their words act as a coach, pushing us past the creative limits we often impose on ourselves. Everyone can harness the power of words, the power of creativity quotes to motivate themselves regardless of profession. 

The legacy and words of the Black creators cited in this article have had an impact on the Black Community and beyond. That’s one of the biggest reasons their words continue to be passed on from one generation to the next. 

Editorial Staff

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