Baraka Celebrates 75th Birthday

Tom Porter | 10/16/2009, 9:31 a.m.

Amiri Baraka, aka Leroi Jones, turned 75 last month, and was joined in celebration with family and friends in Newark, N.J. Amina and Amiri Baraka were surrounded by their children and grandchildren. Obedijah honored his father with a drum solo that was well received by the crowd. Two of his grandchildren joined a Latin band and performed a dance routine.

Actor Danny Glover gave a tribute that spoke of Baraka€s influence in his thinking as a college student in California. Present to honor the founder of the Black Arts Movement and America€s greatest living poet and writer were poets Sonya Sanchez, Marvin X, and Haki R.Madhubuti. James and Miriam Early made the journey from Washington, DC.

Several well know musicians attended the celebration, including saxophonist David Murray, trombonists Dick Griffin, Grachan Moncur, and bassist Henry Grimes, who also played the violin. Joining them were Iqua and Adiyoke Colson and many other local musicians.

The evening ended with three generations of Barakas on stage and a solo dance tribute by a young man who imitated the moves of the King of Pop to a new level. Baraka gave thanks to everyone who attended to celebrate with him and his family.

Poet Amiri Baraka€s grandchildren dance with Cuban dancer in celebration of Baraka€s 75th birthday Jazz Jam at Wisomm African American Cultural Center on Wed., Oct. 7 in Newark, N.J. Photo by Roy Lewis

Baraka`s family on stage to pay tribute to Amiri Baraka Father, Grandfather,Poet,Playwright,Author,and Community Activist at the Wisommm African American Cultural Center in Newark N.J. Wed. Oct. 7th. Photo by Roy Lewis