October 13, 2009
Amiri Baraka, one of the most fiery political poets and cultural critics in Black Amerikkka, recently celebrated his 75th birthday. He is the father of the Black Arts Movement of the ‘60s and after 2001, New Jersey abolished the poet laureate position because they couldn’t fire him, the incumbent, after he wrote his controversial piece, “Somebody Blew Up America.” On Sunday, Nov. 8, 1 p.m., Amiri will be speaking in the Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Library, 100 Larkin St., as well as at the Black Dot Cafe, 1195 Pine St. at 6:30 in West Oakland on the same day. Here’s a quick Q & A that I did with Amiri Baraka …
September 7, 2009
Ishmael Reed is one of the most read writers of his generation, along with Toni Morrison and Amiri Baraka, living in America. In 1962, Reed co-founded “East Village Other,” a well known underground publication at the time, and was a member of the Umbra Writers Workshop, which helped to give rise to the Black Arts Movement. He has published nine novels, four collections of poetry, six plays, four collections of essays and a libretto. He currently lives in Oakland, and I approached him one day while he was visiting KPFA’s studios to ask him what he thought about the state of affairs between the police and Oakland’s Black community, with the backdrop of the police murder of Oscar Grant and, in a separate incident, the police murder of Lovelle Mixon, after Mixon allegedly killed four Oakland police officers.