Ras Baraka’s "Black Girls Learn Love Hard" (Moore
Black Press 2005)
is more than a brother mourning the loss of hissister;
more than a father arming his daughters with weapons of truth;
more than a son lamenting the struggle of his foremothers. "Black
Girls Learn Love Hard" is also more than Baraka’s first published
collection of poetry.|
It is a critical look at a world that preys on
women instead of praising them, a thought provoking investigation
into the social and political issues that plague the African American
community, and a passionate tribute to the strength and resilience
of Black Girl Love.
Moore Black Press is honored to be publishing this
touching, powerful collection of work that pays homage to the life
and courageous spirit of Baraka’s younger sister Shani, and all women
who learn love hard.
Released in August 2005, Black Girls Learn Love
Hard features cover art by renowned artist Renaldo Davidson.
Growing up in Newark, NJ, Baraka says, "What I write about I have
witnessed. I always knew Black Girls loved hard because they are
triply oppressed because of their gender, their nationality, and
their class." As the son of revered poet-activists Amina
and Imamu Amiri Baraka, activism and art have always been
synonymous. "Poetry and art is culture," says Baraka. "Art is activism. There
is no division for me with art and politics."
It is no surprise this vice principal of Weequahic High School in
Newark has been such an ative participant in the politics and culture
of his native New Jersey. At age 24, Baraka ran for Newark’s Mayor,
garnering 9% of the vote. He also ran in 1998 an d2002 for Newark’s
Councilman-at-Large, and on September 27, 2002 Baraka was sworn in as
Deputy Mayor under the tenure of The Honorable Sharpe James.
A graduate of Howard University, Baraka received
his degree in political science and history in 1991. While a
student he formed Black Nia F.O.R.C.E. (Freedom Organization for Racial
and Cultural Enlightenment) - a student group at the forefront
of campus political and social activism. Baraka served as Assitant
Youth Coordinator for the Commission for Racial Justice, and traveled
with G.E.T.B.U.S.Y. – a tour of rappers and political activists who
lectured at jails and schools around the country. In his junior year,
Baraka successfully led the 1989 historic student protest to remove
Lee Atwater, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, from the
university’s Board of Trustees. The following year, Baraka was elected
as Vice President of the Howard University Student Government.
As an artist, Baraka independently released his
debut spoke word CD, Shorty for Mayor, with the acclaimed single "Hot
Beverage in the Winter" featuring Grammy award winning artist
Lauryn Hill. Baraka also edited In the Tradition with Kevin Powell, and
anthology of young Black poets and writers (1991). He recently appeared
on Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry on HBO, and is currently working
on his second book of essays and poem.
In Black Girls Learn Love Hard, Baraka questions
the flaws in our thinking, but gives hope to a future of love for
Black Girls and a community healed by respect and empowerment.
Baraka says, "Love is a revolutionary ideal and Black Girl Love epitomizes
the reason that we have made it thus far. And all of the Black women
in my life that I have loved, love, or that love me have been an
intricate part of who I am."