What is Black Power?


"Slack Power" Advertisement by h.i.s, 1969

Most hear the phrase "Black Power" and immediately associate it with the militancy of the Black Panther Party.  Black Power was more than firearm power, however.  Black Power, like the philosophy of non-violence before it, was a way of life for many.  Black Power meant buying necessities in African-American owned businesses to support African-American jobs.  It meant recognizing that black is beautiful.  It did also mean that if the police or any one else made the first move, it was alright to use self-defense.  The following cartoons, advertisements, and Bunnies show how Black Power was shown in Playboy.

For example, in this advertisement it can be seen just how far-reaching the concept of Black Power was.  To make a pun off it it by saying "Slack" Power, the creators of this advertisement had to know that their audience would make the connection and find it amusing.  This advertisement is important for another reason as well.  Here is an African-American man, clearly in good shape, in a national ad campaign.  The clothing company would not have made him a face of their product unless they knew that their customers would not see the race of the man and turn against their company.  An African-American man can now be seen as someone to envy; black is beautiful.

Black Power in American Culture
What is Black Power?