Celebrating the Legacy of Amiri Baraka

Amina & Amiri @ Sistah

“The Djali is not the “Town Crier,” he is the Town Laugher.” –Amiri Baraka


When Amiri Baraka recently transcended he left a body of work that will carry us who celebrate it for generations to come, but in the short term a hole in the whole of contemporary American culture.

As poet, essayist, playwright, artist, activist, and ultimately played and redefined the role of minister for the Black cultural community. A prolific writer, he was committed to his craft, Black music and culture—particularly Afro American classical music, and the—global—community and social justice.

I’m grateful to have known him as a mentor, comrade and informal student; and been treated by him like a friend and colleague. He understood the challenge of holding together the multi strands of my life as a creative, a woman, a Black corporate worker—in other words: my particular effort to be free. He listened. He gave a damn. He took you somewhere you never been every time.

Amiri & Amina Baraka performed with Rene McClean, Pheeroan Aklaff, Ken West, Carl Lundy as Blu Ark at the 2nd Annual Up South International Book Festival, an event I produced at Harlem Stage the Gatehouse in 2007. I considered Amiri and Amina Baraka’s attendance of the inaugural Up South Festival the year before at Aaron Davis Hall a gift, a blessing and anointing of the vision I had—with the help of friends and volunteers– to create a scene to celebrate the art & multifunction of storytelling in all its forms: the oral and written, the dance, music, film, theatre and all manner of performance. The circle of artists brought together by Baraka called Blue Ark; exemplify what we at Up South had as our goal, honoring the tradition of the djali.

Home Slice is offering an exclusive view of this video document of Blu Ark at Up South in loving memory of our ancestor Amiri Baraka and ingratitude to Amina Baraka, Steve Colson (piano), Rene McClean (saxophone), Pheeroan Aklaff (percussion), Dwight West (vocals), and Carl Lundy (bass).

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One Response to “Celebrating the Legacy of Amiri Baraka” Subscribe

  1. healthcare website September 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    You are very courageous to publish about such a topic but that’s what keeps me returning to see more. Keep up the boldness!

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