POET / PLAYWRIGHT / AUTHOR / ACTIVIST
Baraka was born Everett LeRoi Jones in 1934 in Newark, NJ. After leaving Howard University and the Air Force, he moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1957 and co-edited the avant-garde literary magazine Yugen and founded Totem Press, which first published works by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and others. His reputation as a playwright was established with the production of Dutchman at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York on March 24, 1964. The controversial play subsequently won an Obie Award (for “Best off-Broadway play”) and was made into a film. (The play was revived by the Cherry Lane Theatre in January 2007 and has been reproduced around the world).
In 1965, Jones moved to Harlem, where he founded the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School. The BARTS lasted only one year but had a lasting influence on the direction of Afro American Arts. He and his wife, Amina Baraka, edited The Music (Meditations of Jazz & Blues (Morrow) Confirmation: An Anthology of African-American Women, which won an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka was published in 1984. Other noted publications are Y’s/Why’s/Wise (3rd World 1992) Funk Lore (Littoral 1993), Eulogies (Marsilio, 94), Transbluesency, (Marsilio 1996), Somebody Blew Up America & Other Poems (Nehesi 2002).
Amiri Baraka’s numerous literary honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Rockefeller Foundation Award for Drama, the Langston Hughes Award from The City College of New York, and a lifetime achievement award from the Before Columbus Foundation. In 1994, he retired as Professor of Africana Studies at the State University of New York in Stony Brook. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1995. In 2002, Baraka was named Poet Laureate of New Jersey and Newark Public Schools. His book of short stories, Tales of the Out & The Gone (Akashic Books) was published in late 2007. Home, his book of social essays, was re-released by Akashic Books in early 2009. Digging: The Afro American Soul of Music (Univ. of California) was also released in 2009. Read More now. Visit http://www.celestebateman.com.
Layla Khepri goes in on the Childish Gambino Track “Bonfire”. Visit Layla Khepri at https://www.facebook.com/layla.khepri.1
JIG SHOW, A new film by TRIBES, helps preserve an American entertainment legacy
TRIBES Entertainment News- Oct. 10, 2014 – DURHAM, N.C. — The last remaining of the great entertainers from one of America’s most successful traveling shows are finally telling their stories in a new documentary by TRIBES Entertainment Films titled, JIG SHOW | Leon Claxton’s Harlem in Havana.
A compelling historical document produced and directed by Leslie Cunningham, the film delves into the legend and truth behind top road show producer Leon Claxton’s epic black and Cuban stage revue, Harlem in Havana- a so-called ‘colored jig show’ that helped launch the careers of entertainment heavyweights Chuck Berry, Rufus Thomas, Redd Foxx, Fontella Bass and Merceditas Valdes. One of the leading attractions on the world’s largest carnival midway in the 1930‘s, 40s, 50s and 60s, Harlem in Havana had profound impact on American entertainment and popular culture in ways that still exist today.
Part of a larger work known as the Harlem in Havana Project, Leslie Cunningham (creator of TRIBES Magazine and Leon Claxton’s granddaughter) has been working to archive this explosive chapter in American entertainment through a diversity of mediums including the film, a photography book and traveling photography exhibit and harleminhavana.com, the project’s official website.
“The carnival stage is often overlooked when recalling the history of black and latin entertainers and their impact on American popular culture,” says Leslie Cunningham. “This is a never-before-told story of a little-known legacy that will enrich the whole of our cultural knowledge…We are engaged in the necessary work of cultural preservation. If we don’t talk to these entertainers now and mediate the telling of this story, the history will die with their memories and their generation.”
Slated for release in late 2015, JIG SHOW is currently in the early stages of production as Cunningham works to collect stories from the last of the living performers to grace her grandfather’s stage. Interviews are being conducted with subjects across the American South and West focusing on Tampa, Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis followed shortly by Western Canada as the search for production funding sources is underway. You can help TRIBES preserve American entertainment history- Donate to the documentary film project at jigshow.com or harleminhavana.com.
A3C & Okayplayer’s 2nd Annual
Best Block Party Ever!
A The Best Block Party Ever is a FREE, all ages, block party on Sunday, Oct 12th that will close out the 10th Annual A3C Festival.
The annual block party invites A3C attendees and the city of Atlanta to the Old Fourth Ward district to enjoy art, food, drinks, games and some of Hip-Hop’s most iconic artists and DJs.
Featuring Performances by…
Black Thought & J.Period
Talbi Kweli & Friends
Skyzoo and Torae
Erk Tha Jerk
Riders Against The Storm
The Bodega Brovas
with special guests and surprise artists
Sunday, October 12th
2:00pm – 9:00pm
@ A3C Main Stage in Old 4th Ward
447 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312
FREE with RSVP or A3C Badge
Hosea Feed the Hungry & Homeless will be collecting lightly worn clothing, sneakers or canned goods. PLEASE Donate generously #A3Caction.
A3C is proud to present a screening of the documentary Nas: Time is Illmatic followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers. The film covers the making of Nas’ 1994 album Illmatic, often hailed as the greatest hip-hop album of all times, and the timeless themes that have kept both the album and Nas relevant for so many years.
After the film screening, we’ll be joined by director One9, writer Erik Parker, and producer Martha Diaz for a discussion about the making of the film, the inspirations behind it, and on the scope and influence of Nas’ Illmatic.
Friday, Oct 10th at 3:00pm #A3Cfilm. LEARN MORE NOW.