Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Pan-African Studies

Committee Chair

Martin, Denise M.

Author's Keywords

Optimal consciousness; Ntozake Shange; Kara Walker; Black art; India Arie; Black women artist


African American women artists; Poetry--Social aspects; Music--Social aspects; Art--Social aspects;Shange, Ntozake. For colored girls who have considered suicide when the Rainbow is enuf.; Walker, Kara Elizabeth. Gone.; India.Arie. Video.; Self-realization in art; Identity (Psychology) in art


The creative expressions of three black women artists--Ntozake Shange, Kara Walker, and India. Arie--are explored using optimal consciousness-an Afrocentric framework by Linda James Myers. This concept advocates that the role of the artist is to provide art that raises the consciousness of the people. An illustration of optimal consciousness will be demonstrated in their works by using the following criteria presented in the theory: authenticity, the fusion of sacred and secular, and positive interpersonal relationships. The creative works utilized for this analysis are Shange's choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf, Walker's silhouette narrative Gone, An Historical Romance of Civil War as it Occurred Between the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart, and Arie's song "Video."