The Black Arts Movement (BAM) Poets Choir and Arkestra honored the life and legacy of Amiri Baraka with poetry, music, song and dance on Saturday, May 17 during the 14th Annual Malcolm X Jazz Festival at San Antonio Park. It closed out the festival with a BAM!
The Black Arts Movement and Arkestra led by Marvin X, BAM founding member and close friend of Baraka, included participants choreographer Linda Johnson who opened the show with a beautiful audience participatory dance with her former students.
Also performing were harpist and vocalist Destiny Muhammad; violinist Tarika Lewis and student musicians; vocalist Mechelle LaChaux, actress/poet Ayodele Nzinga; poets Genny Lim, ToReadah Mikell, Paradise Jah Love, Kalamu Chache’, Aries Jordan, actor Geoffery Grier, percussionist Tacuma King, drummer Val Serrant, Zena Allen on the Kora, vocalist/guitarist Rasheedah Sabreen Shakir and Special Guests saxophonist David Murray and poet Umar Bin Hasan~member of The Last Poets.
The late Amiri Baraka was the chief founder of the National Black Arts Movement (Black Arts/Black Aesthetics), the Artistic branch of the Black Power movement of the 60’s and 70’s. He was a noted dramatist, novelist, and poet and one of the most respected and widely published African-American writers who spent most of his life fighting and advocating for African-Americans and the oppressed.
BAM has been seen as one of the most important movement in American literature. It inspired Black people and other ethic groups to establish their own publishing houses, magazines, journals and art institutions.
This movement led to the creation of African-American Studies programs within universities. Marvin X and The Black Arts Movement Poet Choir and Arkestra are creating a nationwide 27- city tour to continue Baraka’s legacy and that of all the cultural workers nationwide who made BAM a reality.