Modern Griots Tribute: RIP Amiri Baraka

If you have seen the top of my blog, you would see that the tag line is a quotation from Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), “the future is always here in the past,” which was one of the last lines in his essay, “Jazzmen: Diz & Sun Ra.” So, as you can see Baraka was an important figure to my blog and as someone who writes poetry, his messages in his work, his use of words, his phrasing of words (“the changing same”), and his constant challenging of the conventional has been influential to me. He was a complicated man who was always evolving and changing himself. Additionally, a number consider him as one of the predecessors to afrofuturism, and  link him to science fiction, like in his works “In Memory of Radio,” “Green Lantern’s Solo,” “Ka’Ba,” his exploration of technology outside of Western construct in “Technology and Ethos,” and his music as a weapon/time machine short story, “Rhythm Travel.” Today he has made his transition from this life on Earth, and although I never met him in person, I only saw him live a couple of times, I am thankful for his time here.

Below are a couple of my favorites poems and some memorable words from him:

Baraka speaks about the legacy of the African diaspora and other people of color all over the world.

“We go into the future carrying a world of blackness…Fight! Sing! Fight! Sing! …”

“What is called the imagination (from image, magi, magic, magician, etc.) is a practical vector from the soul. It stores all data, and can be called on to solve all our “problems.” The imagination is the projection of ourselves past our sense of ourselves as “things.” Imagination (Image) is all possibility, because from the image, the initial circumscribed energy, any use (idea) is possible. And so begins the image’s use in the world. Possibility is what moves us.” – from Home:Social Essays
Rest in Possibility. “Next stop, Jupiter!”

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