Poet Playwright Activist

Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka has a writing career that spans over almost half a century. Praised for possessing a unique style, his writings portray different aspects of Afrocentrism. This, along with reflecting pride in his race has also played a role in bridging the gap between African–American language forms and literature.

Baraka through his writings strived to create a cultural identity independent from mainstream white America. His inspiration to craft a black aesthetic through his poetry, drama and fiction came through jazz music which he believed to be an art that purely belonged to the African race. This belief was further confirmed with his quest to explore the African history in America which unveiled the roots of jazz and blues in connection with the beginning of American Negroes.

Amiri Baraka has a countless number of famous essays, poems and writing pieces to his name and each one is a complete depiction of his thoughts at any moment. A few of his writings that depict a turning point in his career include ‘Hymn for Lanie Poo’, ‘Cuba Libre, Afrikan Revolution’ and ‘Somebody Blew Up America.’ Although penned down at different times, they have one thing in common, i.e. his opinions about Afrocentrism. Apart from this, he has also considered the subjects of political and social development of African-American music for his writings.

Many of well known poets have appreciated Amiri Baraka for his writings. Joel Oppenheimer is of the opinion, ‘He is one of the few American poets who have consistently put their head, heart and body on the line in the struggle for liberation. Also, he has played a role in transforming the raw angers of youth into magical positive forces that have helped change the world.’
For today’s youth, a number of Amiri Baraka’s writing pieces are available online. The list of his essays include ‘A Knowers Survey’, ‘The Revolutionary Theatre’, ‘I Will Not Apologize’, ‘I Will Not Resign’ and poems such as ‘Crow Ane’, ‘In the Funk World’ and ‘Ancient Music.’