The late Imamu Amiri Baraka was an African-American writer extraordinaire of poetry, drama, fiction, essays and music criticism.

Tribute Poem for Imamu Amiri Baraka

(for his 75th Birthday Celebration)

Magnificent warrior

Master of excellence

Gladiator for justice

The frontline’s guardian and gatekeeper

Know that your work, your struggles

your sacrifices

have not been in vain

For the world hears you

As you spit blazing razor edge truths

From tongue and pen

That enemies cannot dispute

You deliver prophetic messages

from the ancestors and spirit

Reminding souls from whence

We came and where we must go

Your legacy and works are blueprints

Offering guidance and

Providing the pathway

That leads us

To be great again

You move hearts and heal wounds

Fill inner spaces once empty of hope

with insightful answers to unspoken questions

That trouble souls

You uplift us, raising our vibrations

with your victorious words and inner visions

of the inevitable new and better day

that’s now on its way

We have gazed the brilliant light

Of your knowledge and wisdom that you bestow

Wherever you go

as the Creator knew you would

You, Amiri, are the Master Conductor

Of the new Freedom Train

Emerging from underground once again

To continue the journey

of work started long ago

By the ancestors

Who are ever with you

It is you, Amiri, and your comrades

who have kept their torch burning

Like those before you

Following not only in

the Ancestors’ footsteps

But beyond

Creating your own unique trail

that leads homeward

Go on, Ancient Pharaoh you

with your resurrected self

Continue to teach and share

Enlightenment received from the Most High

And sealed in your heart by divine spirit

You are fulfilling God’s master plan

To restore our people to our rightful place

on this world stage

Generations will know your name

For you demonstrate what real love

for one’s people taste like

Oh, the warriors you have trained…

Because of you Imamu Amiri Baraka

We rise again!


–by Angela Kinamore