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[News] Amiri Baraka: Poet, Playwright, Teacher, and Activist, Dies at 79

Poet, writer, teacher, and political activist Everett LeRoi Jones, was born in 1934 at Newark, New Jersey.  Following the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X, Jones moved from Manhattan’s Lower West Side to Harlem, and founded the Black Arts Movement and adopted the name Amiri Baraka. His essays, and plays like “Dutchman” showcased his growing disappointment with white America.  He was unapologetically outspoken, and prolific as a writer.  From his three years in the U.S. Air Force, his brief time in jail, to being crowned New Jersey’s poet laureate, without question, Amiri lived a full life.

Amiri sharing his love of music with Maya Angelou.

He collaborated with The Roots on the track “Something In The Way Of Things (In Town),” which appeared on the band’s 2002 album Phrenology.

Amiri came under fire for his post-9/11 poem, “Somebody Blew Up America?,” in 2002, Baraka’s was removed as the Poet Laureate of New Jersey, in the middle of his term. 

“I’d say I’m a revolutionary optimist,” he told Newsday in 1990. “I believe that the good guys — the people — are going to win.” - Amiri Baraka


“When We’ll Worship Jesus”

(written after 1970, published in Baraka’s poetry collection “Hard Facts”, 1975)

We’ll worship Jesus

When Jesus do


When jesus blow up

the white house

or blast nixon down

when jesus turn out congress

or bust general motors to

yard bird motors

jesus we’ll worship jesus

when jesus get down

when jesus get out his yellow lincoln

w/the built in cross stain glass

window & box w/black peoples

enemies we’ll worship jesus when

he get bad enough to at least scare

somebody – cops not afraid

of jesus

pushers not afraid

of jesus, capitalists racists

imperialists not afraid

of jesus shit they makin money

off jesus

we’ll worship jesus when mao

do, when toure does

when the cross replaces Nkrumah’s


Jesus need to hurt some a our

enemies, then we’ll check him

out, all that screaming and hollering

& wallering and moaning talkin bout

jesus, jesus, in a red

check velvet vine + 8 in.heels

jesus pinky finger

got a goose egg ruby

which actual bleeds

jesus at the Apollo

doin splits and helpin

nixon trick niggers

jesus  w/his one eyed self

tongue kissing johnny carson

up the behind

jesus need to be busted

jesus need to be thrown down and whipped

till something better happen

jesus aint did nothin for us

but kept us turned toward the

sky (him and his boy allah

too, need to be checkd out!)

we’ll worship jesus when he get a boat load of ak-47s

and some dynamite

and blow up abernathy robotin

for gulf

jesus need to be busted

we ain’t gonna worship nobody

but niggers getting up off

the ground

not gon worship jesus

unless he just a tricked up

nigger somebody named

outside his race

need to worship yo self fo

you worship jesus

need to bust jesus ( + check

out his spooky brother

allah while you heavy

on the case

cause we ain gon worship jesus

we aint gon worship


not till he do something

not till he help us

not till the world get changed

and he ain, jesus ain, he cant change the world

we can change the world

we can struggle against the forces of backwardness, we can

change the world

we can struggle against our selves, our slowness, our connection


the oppressor, the very cultural aggression which binds us to

our enemies

as their slaves.

we can change the world

we aint gonna worship jesus cause jesus dont exist

xcept in song and story except in ritual and dance, except in

slum stained

tears or trillion dollar opulence stretching back in history, the


of the oppression of the human mind

we worship the strength in us

we worship our selves

we worship the light in us

we worship the warmth in us

we worship the world

we worship the love in us

we worship our selves

we worship nature

We worship ourselves

we worship the life in us, and science, and knowledge, and


of the visible world

but we aint gonna worship no jesus

we aint gonna legitimize the witches and devils and spooks and


the sensuous lies of the rulers to keep us chained to fantasy and


sing about life, not jesus

sing about revolution, not no jesus

stop singing about jesus,

sing about creation, our creation, the life of the world and


nature how we struggle to transform it, but dont victimize our

selves by

distorting the world

stop moanin about jesus, stop sweatin and crying and stompin

and dyin for jesus

unless thats the name of the army we building to force the land

finally to

change hands.  And lets not call that jesus, get a quick

consensus, on that,

lets damn sure not call that black fire muscle

no invisible psychic dungeon

no gentle vision strait jacket, lets call that peoples army, or

wapenduzi or


wachanga, but we not gon call it jesus, and not gon worship

jesus, throw

jesus out yr mind.  Build the new world out of reality, and new


we come to find out what there is of the world

to understand what there is here in the world!

to visualize change, and force it.

we worship revolution


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    [News] Amiri Baraka: Poet, Playwright, Teacher, and Activist, Dies at 79 - Blog | Daily Bread - A lifestyle magazine dedicated to the arts - @ManifestoMag
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    [News] Amiri Baraka: Poet, Playwright, Teacher, and Activist, Dies at 79 - Blog | Daily Bread - A lifestyle magazine dedicated to the arts - @ManifestoMag

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