Amiri Baraka was born Leroi Jones, but for the poet/playwright/activist, he soon outgrew the shell of a name that did not reflect the strength and lineage its bearer discovered.
He recently passed away and deserves to be remembered as a bright, uncompromising spirit that saw and reinforced a necessary link between our politics and our art. His book Blues People remains one of my most treasured literary experiences and has helped shape the way I think.
I cannot and will not try to accurately reflect his life and its impact. For that I encourage you to read Greg Tate's powerful and detailed piece in Ebony. What I will do is share some music with you. Ras_G, a living embodiment of many of the tenets Baraka wrote and spoke on, recently posted a track entitled "Imamu's Time." The track gives the boom-bap thump an extra layer of meaning, placing the knock in the context of Black spirituality that Baraka often referenced. It's nation time!