Saturday, 8 August 2015


London poet and film maker, Nadeem Din- Gabisi speaking, briefly, to our blog this week.

When I was a teenager in the 1970s,  Leroi Jones belonged to the generation of the Black Panthers ,  Malcolm X ,  Martin Luther King, Amilcar Cabral, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Mangaliso Sobukwe, Abdulrahman Babu, Kwame Nkrumah,  Mwalimu Nyerere , i.e. the liberation movement against colonialism and national dignity.

Actually, Leroi Jones who would consciously change his name to Amiri Baraka was the first major African American poet of stature. He said the name was inspired by Tanzania and the Kiswahili language.  In East Africa we adored and trembled listening to him. His writings  were considered a must read. Politically aware, articulate, burning.
This is  before we even heard of H Rap Brown, the Last Poets and Gill Scott Heron. He was the first major star of conscious poetry that fired  lovers of "literature of consciousnesses" across the world. Today's hip hop poets and rappers are just carrying on that vibe.

Amiri Baraka's Power of the Word
The fact that Baraka died recently and not many mentioned him is so pathetic. Sad because he was a real advocate for change. I did not know he was actually dead in for one and half years, until  London based poet Nadeem Din-Gabisi. brought it to my attention. The Sierra Leone writer dedicated a poem to this great writer and performer. We shared an evening of African Sounds with other writers and musicians at the Poetry Cafe organised by Exiled Writers Ink!

 A lengthy TV announcement and celebration of his life and death in 2014.  
Courtesy of Democracy Now

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