Amiri Baraka [Leroi Jones]

The great African-American poet, jazz critic & polemicist Amiri Baraka, formerly LeRoi Jones, was the subject of a half-hour film which I made for Channel 4 in the 1990s. Years later, I have revisited the project, & drawing on previously unseen footage, have produced a 90 minute film, entitled Sing! Fight! Sing! Fight! From LeRoi to Amiri.  The film recently won the Ja’Net DuBois Award for Best Documentary at the Pan-African Film Festival, and the trailer can be seen below.  

The first nine clips are taken from this film. Among those who appear in it are the poets Allen Ginsberg, Hettie Jones, Marvin X, Sekou Sundiata, Ashe Bandele & Quincy Troupe, plus Baraka’s father, Coyt Leroy Jones.

They Q Test, Black History Musik & We Travel the Spaceways have never previously been made public; they were filmed in 1996 in the basement of Amiri’s house in New Jersey & feature him performing with the jazz trombonist Craig Harris.

Somebody Blew Up America, Amiri’s controversial poem on the 9/11 attacks on New York, was filmed at the British Library in October 2012, at Black Beats, an event organized by Tilt.