I saw Mr. Baraka on two occasions this past summer. First, while I was vending my cookies at the Lincoln Park Music Festival, he was serving as host of the jazz performances, also reading poetry. I remember the music-filled air punctuated with soul shouts of "Trayvon!" from Mr. Baraka, as he delivered spoken-word poetry while the musicians played. He looked frail that evening, but his voice was strong. The second occasion was a few weeks later at 27 Mix on Halsey Street, where he had come in to grab a bite--we said hello, and he, too, graciously said hello. May he rest in peace.
Of art and controversy/
Amiri Baraka (born Everett LeRoi Jones), 1934-2014.
Photo by Carl Van Vechten, 1962.