Jayne Cortez / May 10, 1934 - Dec 28, 2012

Happy birthday to the award-winning poet & spoken word performer Jayne Cortez. Her rhythmic and (anti)militant ways with words are captivating and inspiring. I see her as part of the take-no-shit, fire-as-spit population of radical and rhythmic poets of deep articulation like Amiri Baraka, Gil Scott-Heron, Nikki Giovanni, Last Poets, Suheir Hammad, Chuck D, Welfare Poets and others aligned with social justice, black power and fearless expression.

She has written several books and made a bunch of records with funk & free-jazz musical backing, often times with Denardo Coleman (her son with Ornette Coleman) and associates called the Firespitters. She founded her own publishing company & record label Bola Press in the '70s and shone light on the positives (music, culture and empowerment) and criticized the negatives (US aggression, homophobia and sexism). She has performed and presented all over the world, was a founder of the Organization of Woman Writers of Africa (OWWA) and lived many years in Dakar, Senegal.

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