Two Sundays ago at the Berkeley Flea Market, I asked Bay Area Black Arts Movement legendary master photographer, Kamau Amen Ra, to take photo of myself and Quitta X.
I did not know it would be the last time he would photograph me or the many cultural and political events over the last five decades. He arrived in the Bay Area from Chicago during the 1960s, part of a group of Chicago artists that included musician Donald Rafael Garrett, Black Arts West Theatre worker Ethna X. Wyatt (Hurriyah Asar), percussionist Tacuma King, et al.
After arriving at the Berkeley Flea Market last Sunday to conduct my Academy of da Corner (yes, on my birthday, May 29), a kind sister came by to inform me Kamau had joined the ancestors. I went into silent shock, absorbing the news of his death along with trying to enjoy the day of my birth. For sure, I know life is joy and pain, so I always expect the duality of life.
Even now, Tuesday, May 31, I am paralyzed with the loss of BAM photographer Kamau Amen Ra. After all, it was only a few days ago that we lost another Black Arts Movement worker, Gerald LaBrie, aka Abdul Sabry, former editor of the BAM classic Black Dialogue Magazine. At 6:30PM, I will be interviewed by Harrison Chastang, News Director on KPOO Radio, 89.5FM, www.kpoo.com.
The beauty of Kamau Amen Ra's personality is expressed in his photos: