Friday’s Fitztory with The Last Poets
Greetings on this early June Flashback Friday’s Fitztory. Back in December 2016 I for-filled a long time reunion of being in the same space again with spoken word griots The Last Poets, whom I had the fortune to DJ for at The Jazz Cafe in 1995. I hung with them practically a whole weekend and managed to secure a joint interview with Lloyd Bradley featured in issue 68 Feb 2017. I asked one short question and this is the answer I got from both Abiodun and Umar, both relevant to what’s happening in the current climate.. read and enjoy Fitzroy Anthoney Facey
Fitzroy: How did you feel about Public Enemy?
Abiodun: “I loved them and Chuck D. (Umar: Chuck D still owes me some money.) (We all burst out laughing.) Abiodun: Chuck D and I have a running joke because my original name is Charles Davis and my nickname was Chuck, and Chuck D says ‘He’s The Original Chuck D”. (Umar: My boy from PE was Professor Griff.) Abiodun: I went down to Hicksville and laid down some stuff with Professor Griff. Umar spent some time with Flava Flav who was considered a clown, but he was more of a distraction maybe to make people feel comfortable. Chuck D would drop in some stuff and when they did that collaboration ‘Self Destruction’, that was important because we were talking about the same thing earlier. Donald Trump is nothing for us, this is child’s play. Umar made a statement at Ronnie Scotts last night, that for 400 years we have had presidents who are not on our side, this is nothing. Even black people said when Barack came that the post racial period is over (Abiodun laughs….) Well Trump is making it clear that that post racial period is over. No we are back to the racist times goddam it, with his “I’m making America ‘white’ again.” even though he says ‘great’. We know what he means. There are some people who have maintained the tradition on some level of what we did but now there is no movement. In the absence of a movement the circus comes to town. There is no better evidence of that than what just happened with the elections.”
Umar: “Just to show how deep things were back then. When we first started, we used to meet at Mount Morris Park. On Saturdays you’d have The Last Poets on one side, The Nation Of Islam on another side, the Black Panthers in another and The House Of Elijah somewhere else. One day something happened and the police came into the park to get a brother. There were about 10 police cars trying to force their way in, but the brothers came forward and told the sisters to get back. Man, us brothers just stood in a line with brother Hakim and others from the House of Elijah and said to the police “You ‘all ain’t coming in here, this is our day.” One of the police officers looked at another and said “Charlie what you think we should do?” Charlie said “I think we better find something else to worry about.” and they left. That’s how we rolled back then.”
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