Saturday, June 04, 2005

Oscar Brown, Jr. 1927-2005

A blood infection has taken the life of legendery poet/musician/social activist Oscar Brown Jr. The Chicago resident burst upon the musical scene in 1960 with his highly successful Columbia Records debut album "Sin & Soul" and remained in the spotlight in 2005 as a mainstay of Russell Simmon's Def Poetry Jam. Mr. Brown inherited a strong sense of social responsibility from his father Oscar Brown Sr. who was a lawyer and also a social activist. Oscar Brown Jr. is associated with songs that have become classics like Afro Blue, Signifyin' Monkey, Dat Dere,The Snake and Work Song just to name a few. His music has been recorded by Nina Simone, Al Wilson, Abby Lincoln, Herb Alpert and other headlining acts. Mr. Brown was also a devoted student of black history. We saw that in his abundant repertoire of plays which included "Crecie" a story about two young slaves at around the time of the black holocaust, the mid-Atlantic crossing. Oscar Brown Jr. will be missed, but he left us with a tremendous body of art that will be enjoyed by generations to come.
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