Today is a day of rememberance, for many people we treasured for many reasons. Sunday evening started at the annual marcus garvey day celebration with a special celebration being held for Empress Njeri Alghanee. the family was in attendance selling the memorial teeshirt and giving away the obituary and cd of her life story. it’s beautifuly produced. we’ll be presenting it to you in a short bit after we have a chance to complete the memorial website for Empress Njeri.
as we reached the gala we were met with news of a death, of a great old friend and artist from the UK and Grenada; Spartacus R. the news was shocking, so much so that momentarialy when receiving it I denied it in my mind and told the person who told me that I’d have to write to the family to see what they had to say. wow..
This is a short bit about Spartacus R Bedeau – who was my friend, boss and sometimes human reminder that we all need to give back for people to remember that we were ever here.. we will always remember you Brother Spartacus because you shouted Jahmahariyah long before it was popular. You traveled to Fiji and made a new life; you reached out for your people where ever you may have found them globally. For that I am eternally grateful to have known you.
Spartacus R. came to prominence in the early 70s as the founder and driving force of the first internationally famous African Rock band, Osibisa, at the forefront of the genre now called World Music.
After Osibisa, Spartacus recorded the seminal acoustic masterpiece,
“Africa I See”
one of four successful, self-penned solo albums released on his own Zara Music Records label. With an acoustic guitar, ankle bells and some face paint, Spartacus R. travelled the world playing to audiences of 3 to 300,000 people in Africa, America, Australia, Europe, Japan.
An outspoken Musician, Poet, Author, Columnist, Talk Show Host, Seer and TruthSayer, Spartacus R. is one of the most highly respected of writers in the UK. Many of his contemporaries, including the late Bernie Grant, MP, have attested to his “honesty and integrity”. As a Human Rights Activist and Teacher, Spartacus has shared platforms with some of the world’s most celebrated speakers, including Jesse Jackson who dubbed him the “African”, and Paul Boateng, MP.
Needless to say the news of his death put a shadow over the entire fete.
I left with a heavy heart. As I was enroute home I spotted a friend who delivered more bad news.
last week we lost another great poet, director friend from Detroit – Ron Allen. He had passed away in Los Angeles. Wow.. no way.
Ron was a passionate crazy egotistical unselfish super expanded humanbeing. yes all of that, and he could cook too. Yes Ron was a character – which everyone had their own favorite from his huge genre of pieces from short vignettes to full plays; to mindblowing poetry. mine was a character named Money Greene. yes he was of course a part of the landscape of the Cass Corridor in Wayne State U’s shadow. Below This Recent Photo from Los Angeles is a piece I wrote earlier about Ron.
Once again we are sad as we were shocked today to learn of the death of our longtime friend, Poet and Playwriter Ron Allen.
Ron was a fixture around the Cass Corridor for years. producing poetry events and eventually full length stage plays for the locals. he departed his beloved D for LA in 2007; never looking back.
His work as “Money Greene” stole my heart. I so loved to see and talk with Ron. it was after a few illnesses and a stint as a local chef that he decided he needed to relocate to the hills of califor-n-i-a to find his fame and fortune; as his friend Ron Milner had done decades before.
when we heard the news it was startling, because like many others we thought of Ron as a kind of ageless character. always a 40ish comedic crumedgeon capable of entertaining everyone in earshot. Ron was a Genius in every sense of the word.
We are grateful to have known him so intimately for so long.
Money Greene, you done earned yo fleetwood now, so drive off with your backseat full of metaphoric lyricists and local legends. You Ron Will Outlive us all, as a legend my friend.
Ron Allen (born September 13, 1947) is an Afro-American poet and playwright who describes his work as a “concert of language.” The Detroit native employs intuitive configurations of language (i.e., image, trope, and metaphor) that invent new meaning and new structures for the exploration and expression of language arts, including poetry and theater.
Like fellow Detroit playwright Ron Milner, Allen’s ear for the use of Afro-American language, particularly in Detroit, is exceptionally keen. Known for his experiments with poetic verse, character, theme and structure, Allen creates centers of language experiences and rhythm through his writing.
In 2007, Allen relocated to Los Angeles where he is presently in production of his recently completed screenplay “The Hieroglyph of the Cockatoo” which is scheduled for release in 2010. He released a new book of poetry in 2008 titled The Inkblot Theory, and performs with his L.A.-based jazz and poetry band Code Zero.
In a 2009 interview, Ron Allen described his artistic philosophy:
“My work is an exploration and expression of the abstract and physical nature of reality. Language or written text is the force that poetically drives the plot, character, and direction of my work. I use metaphor and trope to create landscapes of defamilarized environments and conditions that affect human consciousness.
“I attempt to walk the radical edge of meaning and theatricality in an assault on conditioned response in behavior and thinking in our culture. I am a critic of the norms that restrict innovation and restrict the search for freedom of ideas as a human imperative.
“My characters are social paradigms and objectified patterns of historical class and power. The point is the search for truth as undefined as that may be, but truth as realization on the scale of impersonal triumph and the struggle of more questions.
“The issue of race which I define as the ongoing muck of American culture is the center of much of my work. I strive to explore what it means to be black in an upside-down world – a world that makes the struggle for identity and power a radical act.”
He began his theatrical career in Detroit in 1997 when he formed his acting company “Thick Knot Rhythm Ensemble” which became the medium for the production of 13 plays he wrote and produced, including Last Church of the Twentieth Century, Aborigional Treatment Center, Twenty Plays in Twenty Minutes, Dreaming the Reality Room Yellow, WHAM!, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Relative Energy Sack Theory Museum, and The Heidelberg Project: Squatting in the Circle of the Elder Mind, a play loosely based on the life of Tyree Guyton and the struggle to create his Heidelberg Project.
After his move to Los Angeles in 2007, Allen has written three more plays: Swallow the Sun, My Eyes Are the Cage in My Head which was produced in 2008 by the Los Angeles Poverty Department Theater Company, and The Heiroglyph of the Cockatoo. His play Eye Mouth Graffiti Body Shop was produced in 2007 by the Theater of NOTE.
Ron Allen has published four books of critically acclaimed poetry, including I Want My Body Back and Neon Jawbone Riot. He is founder and director of Weightless Language Press. Ron Allen has taught poetry and theater for 13 years in the drug recovery community in Detroit and recently taught poetry and meditation in an assisted-living facility in Inglewood, California.
Ron Allen passed August 10, 2010 in Los Angeles.
Finally at the stroke of 1:30 am this morning my phone rang, which it usually only does if there is a real emergency – it was my son. his father was dead..
OMG.. yes my babydaddy is dead..
That is unfortunantly the reaction deep within my mind, but I was able to muster up the strength to ask my son about the death and to get his explanation that his father had stepped out onto the back porch, and fallen over the railing. when they looked down and saw him, they tried to see if he was okay only to discover that he was dead. how horrible that must have been. my grand daughter is witnessing this entire ordeal after all that she’s already gone through loosing her mother at the tender age of four.
the medical examiner is deciding if or not to autopsy the body or release it to a mortuary. I am for once relieved that I don’t have to do anything in regards to that.
I’ve had more than enough of death for one day. especially since it started out with the death of one of my most favorite roll models and actresses “Abby Lincoln”. All I can do is go lay down and ask for a little peace from my ancestors to process all this transitioning so close together and hope that they will offer me some solace.
More on the death cards later. we can certainly appreciate your patience with us during this peroid of emotional sorting and discernment.
All positive change in the universe is in order and the order is divine, Always
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- Spartacus R., Founding Member of Osibisa/GAPRadio, Has Passed On (nowpublic.com)
- RIP Empress Njeri Alghanee – 06/24/50 – 06/24/10 Our Spear has found peace (badgals-radio.com)
- Empress Njeri Alghanee’s Homegoing Schedule (badgals-radio.com)
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