Sunday, January 12, 2014

Amiri Baraka - Another Warrior Has Gone Home

Amiri Baraka (born Everett LeRoi Jones; 
October 7, 1934 – January 9, 2014)

When I heard that Amiri Baraka was in intensive care a couple of weeks ago, I got really sentimental and sad.  

Then when I heard he passed away a couple of days ago, I thought, "I want to post about his passing, but what if the younger people who read blogs don't even know who Amiri Baraka was?"  

And then I thought, "If they don't know who Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) was, should they even be reading my blog?  Probably not.  Would they be reading my blog?  Doubtful."

It also made me very sad to think how many of our young people who consider themselves "spoken word artists," and "rappers," have no clue who the people were who paved the way for their free speech.  

Amiri Baraka was a true literary revolutionary.  

One of the men who used the term "Can I rap to you?" when it didn't mean, "Can I curse you out?"

I think now is a good time to go back and re-read some of his greatest poems and speeches.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the memories and pleasant reflections on a day and time when "rapping" in African American jargon meant "can I use my sweet, convincing, masculine, hip, jazzy, romantic talk sprinkled with the slightest hint of swagger to persuade you, Miss Lady, to spend a few minutes of your valuable time listening to me tell you how I would love to get to know you better?" That was a time in African American culture when African American women could be confident walking in "the hood" and get nothing but respect. And, you are right too many young people "don't know nothing about that". That was pure poetry in motion.