Wednesday, December 26, 2007

felipe luciano

Over at Khalil Al-Puerto Rikani's blog I found this recording of Felipe Luciano (former Last Poet and Young Lords memmber) introducing Eddie Palmieri with a a powerful spoken word piece called "Puerto Rican Rhythms":


You can also check out an older Felipe Luciano performing "Jibaro / My Pretty Nigger" on Def Poetry Jam:



Luciano prefaces his poem with some topical comments (especially considering that today is the first day of Kwanzaa, which represents umoja or unity). Afterwards there is also a performance by muMs da Schemer.

the last poets
young lords
niggers are scared of revolution
"...being the last one around"

7 comments:

bfp said...

thanks for the best present yet.

that was awesome.

Abdul-Halim V. said...

I'm glad you like

Khalil Al-Puerto Rikani said...

Assalamu `alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

Just a few more points I'd like to add about Felipe Luciano. He was not only a member of the Young Lords, but he was also the first Chairman of the Party, when the Lords was at its peak. As a member of the Central Committee, he was perhaps one of the leaders of the Lords who was most in touch with the street folk (as most of the rank-and-file members were from this segment of society), and he most represented them, despite the fact that he was college educated. Luciano is as much at home with his "blackness" as he is with his "latinidad" ("Latinoness"); and he does that without adopting "African-Americanness" but drawing upon "blackness" within Puerto Rican culture. Also, Luciano at one part of his life (while in prison) was part of the Nation of Islam. Currently, he is a reporter as is former Lords committee member Pablo "Yoruba" Guzman and former Lords lawyer Geraldo Rivera. Out of all of these just mentioned, he is the most involved in the community till today. I remember first hearing his poem "Jibaro, my pretty nigger," as a teenager as when my mother would play Eddie Palmieri's LP recorded at Sing Sing. Once I became concious, I committed that poem to memory and performed it at the African-American Association's talent show during my senior year in high school. I, of course, had to censor it and take out the word "nigger" for the facility advisor. It loses its affect, as Luciano states in the original that "...bloods as we often say in the South if you love someone, 'that's my nigga,' so it's called "Jibaro, My Pretty Nigger." Just another point about his use of the term "jibaro," as he explained, "You see the thing about jibaro is that we often consider him a hick, but in fact he is the ancestor..." This newer version of the poem from Def Poetry is slightly different from the original. Furthermore, Luciano attached the jibaro to it's true roots as the Black maroon of Puerto Rico, by that he opposed the lie (and broke down the hegemony) propagated in Puerto Rico in the 20th Century that the "jibaro" is descended from the large White Spanish population that migrated to the island in the 1800s.

Khalil Al-Puerto Rikani

Khalil Al-Puerto Rikani said...

By the way, as being one of the original Last Poets, he was one of the original rappers.

Abdul-Halim V. said...

Wa alaikum salaam,

wow, thanks for the extra information. Some of that I knew but a lot of it I didn't. Do you know anything more about his time in the Nation? Does he say anything anywhere about why he joined and why he left?

I don't think I knew that Geraldo Rivera was with them though. That's kind of a shock given his involvement with Fox News.

Khalil Al-Puerto Rikani said...

Assalamu `alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

Jerry Riviera's (later known as Geraldo Rivera) current affiliations with neo-cons may be more influenced by his affliations to his Jewish root on his mother's side than his father's. I don't think he was an actual member of the Lords or simply their lawyer. I don't know exactly how long he was with the Nation, but I assume it was very brief. You can read what he wrote about himself in Abramson's book on the Lords published in 1971. Another well-known Nuyorican, Piri Thomas, was also in the Nation for a brief period. I would like to expand my research, in the near future, on the effects and influence of Islam on Latinos in the 60s. InshAllah, I will be able to interview these figures and get more infomation. By the way, many of the Lords had become Muslim. So much so that their breakfast program had to stop serving pork.

Khalil Al-Puerto Rikani

jose said...

I always look at Felipe as a personal hero of mine, someone who even in his later years never forgot about the struggle. Thanks for the video and I'll be sure to come around these parts every so often. peace.