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Amina Baraka


Poet, singer, actor, and activist Amina Baraka was born Sylvia Robinson in Charlotte, North Carolina, and raised in Newark, New Jersey. As a community activist, she has managed the Women’s Division of the Community for a Unified NewArk and organized women’s conferences for the Congress of Afrikan People and for the Revolutionary Communist League.   In her poems, Baraka engages themes of social justice, family, and feminism. Her debut poetry collection is Blues in All Hues (2014), and her work has been featured in the anthologies Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry (1994) and Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (2001). With her late husband, the writer and activist Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), she coedited Confirmation: An Anthology of African American Women (1983), The Music: Reflections on Jazz and Blues (1987), and 5 Boptrees (1992).   Baraka performed onscreen in the films Strange Fruit (2002, directed by Joel Katz), The Pact (2006, directed by Andrea Kalin), and Keep It Clean (2007, directed by Jeanette Mühlmann) and onstage in Amiri Baraka’s plays Black Mass, Slave Ship, Mad Heart, and Home on the Range. She can be heard on the CD recording Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective (2008).   With Amiri Baraka, she directed the word-music ensemble Blue Ark: The Word Ship. In 1992, the couple founded Kimako’s Blues People, a community art space in Newark.

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