J usticeAid believes in justice and the power of art to bring us together in the fight for a more equitable nation and world. This year, in parallel with our fundraising for Black Voters Matter, each month we will highlight Black artists in order to uplift those whose voices have been muted, and whose visions can help us all see ourselves as we really are, and as we could be.


A Tribute to Harry Belafonte

J’Accuse #6 (1966) by Charles White (Apr. 2, 1918 – Oct. 3, 1979)

Harry Belafonte’s life and work were marked by his unwavering commitment to justice and equality as an entertainer and activist. He used his platform to raise awareness and advocate for the rights of marginalized communities, leaving behind a legacy that has inspired new generations of musician-activists.

A confidant of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Harry Belafonte spent years as a liaison between the civil rights movement and the entertainment capitals of Hollywood and New York City.

“Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” one of Belafonte’s biggest hits, is a traditional Jamaican song that was sung by dock workers who worked throughout the night loading bananas onto ships. In a 2011 interview with Gwen Ifill on PBS NewsHour, Belafonte described it as “a song about struggle, about black people in a colonized life doing the most grueling work.”

Learn more about Belafonte at this New Yorker Radio Hour segment with Jelani Cobb, at his 2013 NAACP Image Awards acceptance speech, and through this conversation with Belafonte about his friend and social realist artist, Charles White, and their commitment to advancing black culture.

Pictured here: J’Accuse #6 (1966) by Charles White (Apr. 2, 1918 – Oct. 3, 1979) was on display at a 2018-19 retrospective of the artist at MOMA NYC.


One of the most lauded figurative painters working today, Kerry James Marshall challenges the absence of Black representation in Western art and yet refuses to pander to certain tropes of blackness: “I don’t do pictures in which the figures are abject in any way. I’m trying to create a certain kind of normalcy; a kind of everyday-ness.”

Read Apollo magazines’s interview with Marshall here.

Pictured here: School of Beauty, School of Culture, 2012, Kerry James Marshall, acrylic and glitter on unstretched canvas, 108 x 158 in., Birmingham Museum of Art.

Kerry Marshall received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1997 and has exhibited at Documenta and the Venice Biennale, as well as in major exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art. He ranks #2 on Art Review’s 2022 ‘Power 100’ list of art-world influencers.


What would happen if Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay), Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke all spent one historic night together? One Night in Miami is a fictional account that takes place on the historic eve of Clay’s 1964 defeat of Sonny Liston when the four icons came together at a Miami hotel to discuss their roles in the Civil Rights Movement and cultural upheaval of the 60s. 

Directed by Regina King, written and adapted from the stage play by Kemp Powers, and starring Eli Goree, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Aldis Hodge, and Leslie Odom Jr. The Oscar-nominated film garnered Grammy, Golden Globe Screen Actors Guild, NAACP Image, BET awards, and others. Read Empire review.

Suppressed Speech

PHOTO OF BELL HOOKS: Anthony Barboza/Getty Images


Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom
By bell hooks

Writer, teacher, and insurgent intellectual bell hooks writes about a new kind of education: Teaching students to “transgress” against racial, sexual, and class boundaries in order to achieve the gift of freedom is, for hooks, the teacher’s most important goal. More…

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