Back in the 1930’s when things were really hard, folks found a way to get by. After the great migration of African Americans to the North, the struggle for every day life continue in great ways. Racism was still alive, but collective communities worked together against the struggles. From the sharecropping fields of the South to the bustling street of Harlem the creative unified effort to survive e 1930’s and 40’s. One of the way that many folks helped each other by throwing rent parties. The “Rent Party” was a community effort to help each other make have get the rent paid when they were short funds.
The parties in Harlem birthed new venue for acts, blues artists, jazz, singers, and gospel artists. It was the down home simplicity of having a open mic showcase in your home. Many great act became legends from the Rent Parties. Fat Waller was one of those great performer that got his start in Rent Parties. The highlight of the rent parties was trying to out-do each other in performance. The rent was collected, but the vibrant showcase of jazz artist, dancer mad singer that were propelled can not be denied! The Rent Party sometimes called a house party carried over for decade in the black communities.
Many films have been made from the concept of the Rent Party. During the great depression it was one of the innovating ways the black helped each other during one of America’s hardest times. It would be great to see a massive event that helped those who are struggling called a Rent Party where people could sign up and get assistance in paying there rent while enjoying some of the greatest talent we have today amateur and professional!
I hope as America regain economical strength that along the way…. there is a revival of the Rent Party to help folks that are having a hard time. The work of art below I created is recent illustration of there Rent Party back in the day. I have also posted….a few videos for your enjoyment. God desires for us to be our brother keepers. The Rent Party with all of its vibrancy is a kind innovating way that we can still give a helping hand to those in need and raise up new talent for the future!