By: Jacqueline McKay
Louis Reyes Rivera (May 19, 1945 – March 2, 2012)
Oh, I Love Louis Reyes Rivera! Just to listen to him, even just to look at him – his African attire, his long beard and jaunty hat… He had so much spirit!
Born in Brooklyn, Louis Rivera was Professor of Pan-African and Puerto Rican Literature before his passing. His works in Poetry, Jazz and Literature puts him in the Must-Know category for those interested in Black and Hispanic Arts. He was a beloved Artist, Activist, and Mentor and earned the title “The People’s Poet” for all his literary awards. His work to help students of color gain footing in education and the arts preserves him in our hearts forever.
My all-time favorite piece is his spoken-word poem called “Bullet cry”. I am in awe, and it gives me chills when he speaks about the day that Malcolm X was assassinated, when he speaks for the bullet that ended El Shabazz’s life.
Check out Mr. Rivera’s Def Poetry performance of Bullet Cry on Youtube and get introduced to this legend.