Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Creator Spotlight is James Baldwin:
A prophet does not predict the future. Predicting the future is the work of the oracle. A prophet speaks the truth. Not because he or she finds it easy to do so. It is not easy to speak the truth. Because they make angry those they love or those who have the power to destroy them. A prophet simply does not have any choice. Just ask Amos or Jeremiah of Old Testament fame. They have been driven to speak what they must speak no matter the consequences.
A prophet has to be fierce in their determination and show no doubt of the truth they are speaking. And they are fierce and show no doubt because that truth has lodged in them a very long time. Maybe as far back as the beginning of time.
James Baldwin was fierce and he was a prophet. And he was an outsider as prophets are. He was an outsider twice over. Not only was he an African American. He was also a gay man.
Being an outsider, he left the United States and went off to France. It was there he learned to live as a human being. It was there he learned write brilliantly. It was there he learned to speak the truth.
From abroad he saw with a clear view the destructiveness of racism for both blacks and whites. He saw how that hatred was tearing the country apart and would ultimately destroy. And continues to do so. He came home to the United States and began to speak Truth. And he spoke it with love. Perhaps it’s time we should listen.