BABA ZAYID MUHAMMAD SPEAKS
ON THE PASSING OF PAN-AFRIKANIST NATIONBUILDER
JOHN WATUSI BRANCH!
We lost an enormous pioneering leader today!
Baba John Watusi Branch went to the ‘Land of the Ancestors’ after suffering a major heart attack on December 23rd.
Baba John was at the helm of the legendary Afrikan Poetry Theatre for 37 years since its inception! It is one of the few institutional survivors of the Black Arts and Consciousness Movement that once captured the attention of the entire world.
Under Baba John’s leadership, everybody who was somebody, both in the arts and in struggle, has been to the Theatre to help keep Black New York grounded in the principles that set off that incredible movement.
Just as important, through the Theatre, Baba John developed arts training, performing and other programs to train legions of young people, to develop new faces and new voices both in the arts and in struggle.
Baba John, a serious Pan Afrikanist, also made the Theatre an important link for our people wanting to go to Afrika as students, as investors, as serious Afrikans in diaspora simply wanting to return home!
Several years ago, when the Theatre endured a terrible fire, Baba John not only marshalled support to keep the doors open. He rallied the collective to take the next step-to buy the building outright!
Tomorrow, December 29th is Ujaamaa, Cooperative Economics, the most underutilized and underappreciated of the Nguzo Saba. Let the record reflect that Baba John Watusi Branch was an exemplary embodiment of that principle in ways that we can and should emulate.
“Baba John, sir, I love you and appreciate you and I am still struggling with all my mistakes trying to grow up and be just like you.”
My flag is at half mast.
I come to attention.
*Baba Zayid Muhammad is the National Minister of Culture of the New Black Panther Party…