NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 172

170 Across the country, Professor Jules Allen’s images connect with the bands’ flourish and precision as explicit forms which embrace his signature style of photographing on the backbeat. In post-Katrina Second Lines, funeral parades, and regional festivals, Allen documents community and personal reconstruction as a process with a resonant visual aspect. Penetrating old boundaries, black marching bands offer geographic and culturally specific opportunities to erase barriers and celebrate heroism. The bands mark change. They also drive and clarify it. The music is important, expressing the inexpressible. It surrounds, perturbs, knows no borders. It crosses the tracks, disturbing the old social order. Within whirlwinds of incomprehensible assault and changes in besieged communities, the way to go on living is to recognize the familiar architecture carried within us: the warmth, the cultural anchors, liberating ideals, and the resilience to release old ways. Contemporary parades have a new urgency, openly political themes, direct and powerful messages. They help us build coherence within the disrupted world. Out of the rupture marches renewal.