By JEANETTE LENOIR
The Last Poets Block Party in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, DC on May 19, 2019 was a stark reminder of the journey African Americans have walked for human rights, dignity and the freedom the Constitution highlights as a birth right for every American, despite its unequal distribution among her citizens. Hip-Hop, in many ways, is the avenue taken by those who needed a different way to protest discrimination, racism while emphasizing the value and beauty of black culture and infusing it with the power that has been systematically stripped from black people. The birth of the hip-hop movement is credited to The Last Poets: Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan who were merely reacting to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.
The birth of hip-hop was born from the pain and suffering experienced by generations of black people in America. These artist took to the streets with a different kind of weapon to fight back; their rhymes and beats that gave the unjust status and mistreatment of blacks in America life. May 19, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the forming of The Last Poets. It’s also the birthday of the black revolutionary leader, Malcolm X. An in-depth report on the group’s inception can be found HERE.
Below are some of the highlights of this year’s celebration, organized by Busboys and Poets, of the forefathers of hip-hop and the movement to bring about a more just world for black and brown people.