Melissa Marie Johnson
On Saturday our dear brother and to many of us our father was laid to rest. The services started with rain, sleek and snow, and later brighten with light, shine and the warmth of the sun. It was as if a tear from the earth of this great lost, and to follow the glow of reaching the place where we all must eventually journey. Mr. Baraka was indeed special to Newark, he was Newark. He was one the individual’s that made it from these mean street, and with any and all options he had remained, in Newark. He was firm in his convictions, deliberate in his intentions, and enlightening in his teachings. He was like his favorite music jazz, un matching in its flow, organic in it sound, imperfect but perfect, and most importantly original. He is loved by many and will be internally missed. The below is in memorial of his beautiful going home ceremony. If you would like to share your comments, please send them and we will include to this piece.
The speakers Master Ceremony were Danny Glover and Woodie King. There were many poets in attendance at the funeral, expressing their love and admiration for the poet laureate. In poems and verse, poems were given by Tony Medina; Jessica Cane Moore; and another memorable poem was read by Saul Williams (poem asking Amiri to rise like Lazarus. He asked Amiri to “Get up an walk).” – crowd went crazy…I cried too. Other notable poems were given by Miguel Algarin, Askia M. Toure, and Eugene B. Redmond. Then several social activist spoke including Larry Hamm from People Organization for Progress (POP). Vanessa Rubin, sang a warm hearted version the Billie Holiday’s, Mama May Have, by – she cried during song.
The Eulogy was given by Amiri’s son Ras Baraka, he used his father’s poems and talked about how his father was not anti- Semetic. He then shared with the attendees his remembrances of various artist coming to the house performing and creating, when he was a kid – he also cried. Other noted speakers to memorialize Mr. Baraka was Kevin Maynor (opera singer, he sang ‘Ol’ Man River’). Tony Medina, Danny Glover, Donald Payne, Imam Abdul Akbar (Nation of ISLAM), Savior Glover tap danced, Obrey Hendrix, Cornell West (talked about Amiri not” selling out”), Avery Brookes sang’ (Round Midnight,’), Rome Neil, and lastly the daughter of the mayor Chokwe Lumumba (Jackson Mississippi’),
Rukia Lumumba spoke.