Thursday, July 19, 2007

Master poet SEKOU SUNDIATA has passed to th' otha side...

I just got the news a few minutes ago from Lorna Dee Cervantes, via her posted bulletin on myspace.

I LOVED/still love Mr. Sekou Sundiata. He was a mesmerizing soul with a soothing voice. His poetry was infused with jazz aesthetics and he was impeccably rhythmic, eloquent, and humble.

I last saw him in Taos, New Mexico, at one of the last Taos Poetry Circus summer festivals. He was very chill, though always
ready to engage. A very beautiful brother...

He liked my voice--he said it was "smooooooth."

We met in Amherst, MA, at a hiphop aesthetics symposium on-campus at UM. He and I were randomly assigned to the same dinner table at the opening banquet. Turns out, he spent little time at the table because he was the keynote speaker/performer. This took place midway btwn. 911 and the invasion of Iraq, so times & temperaments were pretty turbulent.

I gained permission to record Sekou's presentation on minidisc, so you know i'll be listening to it tomorrow. What he spoke of was comforting, empowering, yet unabashedly charged with a righteous indignation about the mistakes of our nation's leaders. A standing ovation, yes, we gave Sekou one of those.

You can access an mp3 of Sekou reading "the sound of the memory" at this site.

Read more about him here.

from "Droppin' Revolution":

"People be droppin 'revolution,'
just like it was a pick-up line,
you wouldn't use that word
if you knew what it meant:
it ain't pretty, it's bloody, it overturns things..."

Thank you for the inspiration, Sekou. The rest of us poets will carry on with your legacy in our hearts.


Dear Fam,

We regret to inform that our dear Sekou has passed. Today, there are no words. It is a devastating loss for us and the poetry community but even more so for his family. Please keep them in your prayers.

An official statement from the family:

At 5:47 AM on Wednesday, July 18, 2007, my beloved Sekou Sundiata passed away.

On behalf of Sekou and his family, thank you all for your expressions of love and support and for your prayers. Cards can be sent to 296 Stuyvesant Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11221

Details regarding funeral arrangements and donations will be forthcoming.

Maurine (Kazi) Knighton

Message from the members of New York City-based spoken word troupe UNIVERSES:

Be thankful that we knew him. He blessed us with his voice, his words told our stories, and his energy lit a room the moment he stepped into it. Be grateful. Celebrate his life and expect that we will see him again, one day.

Mildred, Steven, Gamal, Ninja

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