It’s the mid to late-1960s and the hippie movement is in full swing. Men and women where coming in droves from all over the American suburbia to the center of it all Haight-Ashbury, San Fransisco. They were young, sexually free, drug addicted, white kids with a message of peace, love and anti-establishment. They protested the Vietnam War and cared about and fed the homeless all while making powerful rock anthems and psychedelic masterpieces.
I personally love the 1960s hippie movement and what it represented to the world. The fact that a whole group of people could come together in a big movement for peace, love and anti-government and more about the people was a beautiful thing. There was just one thing missing for me that is color. What do I mean by color? I mean people of color, black people and indigenous folks. Where their people of color in the hippie movement of the 1960s?
Of course we all know of the biggest black hippie of all time Jimi Hendrix. He was the archetype for other black hippies of the time and for generations to come. With his psychedelic mix of soul, funk and rock he was the blue print for black rockers who came after him. Plus his guitar playing was out of this world and is referred to this day as the greatest rock guitar playing of all time! Then of course you had his incredible bohemian style that he gave off with his clothes and hair. Now of course Jimi didn’t see himself as a hippie as the word itself like other counterculture words like hipster or grunge was a catch-all phrase that mainstream folks could call the movement happening.
Other prominent hippies of color were Yoko Ono who married John Lennon and some say broke up the Beatles but there where very few other people of color who were hippies and I always wondered why?
One reason was the very big cultural & racial divide between black and white people at the time and due to most black people being too entangled in the Civil Rights Movement to really be involved in any other counterculture of the time.
The Mexican-Americans were going through their own civil rights movement in the Chicano Movement and the indigenous tribes of America had started the American Indian Movement.
None of these groups had any time to just sit around, take drugs and listen to great music when they were fighting for their rights as humans in this country.
Due to all of this racial & cultural clashing at the hight of the hippie movement and after the death of Jimi Hendrix the movement was left dormant for a while until around the mid to late-’80s.
In-between the hippie movement of the ’60s and the neo-hippie movement of the ’80s came Bob Marley. Bob Marley although not a hippie and would never have claimed that moniker he did spread a lot of the hippie ideals that many of the hippies had spread into the world. He talked about One Love and Every Little Thing was Going to Be Alright but also had a deeper message for his black people about fighting back against the man and remembering our roots.
Two young kids would come out and bring that hippie spirit back to mainstream in the late-’80s. Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet became the face of this new neo-hippie movement with their peace and love attitude towards the world. Lenny Kravitz with his locks and extremely good looks and Lisa Bonet with her star-studded Cosby Show fame were the perfect hippie couple of the time and really have been ever since even after their break up. Lenny’s album Let.Love.Rule had his passionate song Let.Love.Rule to which the video was the directed by Lisa Bonet and was a recounting of their love for each other and the love they wanted to put out into the world.
Another neo-hippie who would make a splash on TV with her red curly hair and perky attitude was Cree Summer. She played the hippie Freddie Brooks on A Different World and every black girl cartoon character of our childhood. She grew up in a house mad of mud on the Red Pheasant Reserve in Canada with her parents and little brother. She always had a deep connection to indigenous tribes of North America & this showed in the way she dressed and the things she said. So when she became the hippie, fight the power Freddie Brooks it felt like she was just living her own life. She would later after A Different World ended make an album with Lenny Kravitz called Street Faerie Cree’s first solo record which was a folkie feminist album.
Although there weren’t many hippies of color out there back then, today more people of color are taking on this peace, love and fight the power attitude and dressing the part as well. Even the children of hippies and neo-hippies are now giving off this boho hippie lifestyle.
The daughter of black neo-hippies Lisa and Lenny Zoe Kravitz has become a staple of hippie alternative culture today with her band LOLA-Wolf and her bold fashion choices.
Willow Smith brings about a very hippie earthy vibe to her through her music, dress and just the way she thinks about life who along with her friend Amandla Stendberg are bringing back that carefree attitude.
Black and people of color are always in every movement on Earth wither in small groups or large. With the hippies they were in the minority but that didn’t mean their ideals were not the same. Just today I found a picture online of black hippies in Harlem in 1969 which makes me believe that we did exist but that just wasn’t our main focus in the world at the time. And today when things are just as bad for us if not worse we are taking up that hippie vibe wither protesting, spreading peace and love, in the way we are dressing or the music we are listening to.
Till Next Time…Peace ♥♥♥
2 thoughts on “Hippies of Color: Do They Exist?”
“due to most black people being too entangled in the Civil Rights Movement to really be involved in any other counterculture of the time.” Yeah, no. You kind of missed the point here: hippie WERE a civil rights movement. All equal. Pre-judging is looked down on very seriously. Also, and I’m being kind, MOST black people were NOT in the “Civil Rights Movement” or it would have been much more profound, believe me. Most sat on their hands/asses and let somebody else do the struggling, just like most black people don’t vote – even today. Fact.
“None of these groups had any time to just sit around, take drugs and listen to great music when they were fighting for their rights as humans in this country.” OK, you’re 0-and 2 here. “Sitting around taking drugs and listening to great music” doesn’t make you a hippie. There’s a lot more to it: a commitment to change; an openness to new ideas; a goal to remake America into a better country; finding ways to bring our people – all of them – into a more modern and accepting way of life; living better with organic food, less pollution, better workers rights and conditions and much more participation in how things run in America, but as a consensus.
But I offer you this: if you ever want to actually talk to a black hippie, let me know. Not”:Lennie Kravitz”. A real black hippie, since 1965, please note before “Jimi Hendrix” who I met in that period…
Thanks for telling people this!