Poet, playwright and activist Amiri Baraka died on Thursday at the age of 79. There are a number of in-depth obituaries chronicling Baraka’s long career, but the Gallerist’s Andrew Russeth points out his recent popularity in the art world and posts an amazing video clip (reposted below) that was included in the exhibition New Jersey as Non-Site at Princeton University Art Museum. The show, which just closed, was organized by Kelly Baum (formerly of the Blanton Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) and focused on work by artists in New Jersey from 1950 to 1975.
Among his many accomplishments, Baraka (who went by LeRoi Jones in his early writing career) initiated a cultural organization called the Spirit House Movers and Players in Newark’s Central Ward. The LeRoi Jones Young Spirit House Movers and Players appeared on a 1968 TV show called “Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant” to perform an incredible spoken word piece on race relations: