On January 9, 2014, political activist Amiri Baraka died in New Jersey’s Beth Israel Medical Center after a short illness. As two artists who were truly inspired by the man, MPLS mainstays Toki Wright and Big Cats! put together “For Amiri Baraka” to show their gratitude and hopefully encourage people to fight for their beliefs.
Greetings to All,
When someone has an impact on you its important to express gratitude. On January 9th, 2014 writer/poet/activist Amiri Baraka passed away at the age of 79. We were in different places but heard about his passing at the same time and decided to put this together. Baraka gave a lifetime of dedication to telling the stories of struggle and directly put himself in the fight for justice. He’s had a personal impact on Big Cats (sharing poetry in a classroom years ago as a student) and Toki (the book Blues People is required reading in some of his lessons).
Though it wasn’t our plan to make this our first offering we decided to sit down and create this from scratch yesterday before practice and release it today. We felt the need to give thanks and encourage people to continue to stand for what you believe despite the fear of rejection or retaliation. No matter how uncomfortable it makes people. As they say nothing changes when you are comfortable.
We believe that without real human interaction we will lose our true connection. That’s the mission behind the work on our collaborative project “Pangaea.” So much of what we are force fed today lacks passion. Baraka was one of those people that stood in the face of fear and spoke his truth knowing that he would face retaliation. He left libraries of information that we encourage you all to check out.
Keep The Fire Burning,
Toki Wright X Big Cats!