Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Flashback: Amiri Baraka: Why Is We Americans

This is an edited version of Amiri Baraka's appearance on the Def Poetry Jam from Season 1, Episode 4, in 2002. One year ago, Amiri made his transition to the ancestral realm and we are continuing to honor his legacy. The music playing throughout the video is Pharaoh Sanders' "Equinox", which Baraka is scatting during his poem. Baraka was a huge fan of Jazz and Blues, and wrote several books on the subjects.

As Poet Laureate of New Jersey (2002–03), involved controversy over a public reading of his poem "Somebody Blew Up America?" and accusations of anti-semitism, and some negative attention from critics, and politicians. After the reading of that poem, then governor tried to remove Baraka from the position, which he couldn't do legally. Not long after, the state passed legislation to abolish the position altogether following the controversy.

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