|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.