Kamau Brathwaite in this interview speaks with Rod Semple about his struggle at Cow Pastor, Born to Slow Horses, and his ceremonial re-naming in Kenya.
The program was aired on May 15, 2007, on harambeeradio.com
About Kamau Brathwaite:
Kamau Brathwaite, born in Barbados in 1930, is an internationally celebrated poet, performer, and cultural theorist. Co-founder of the Caribbean Artists Movement, he was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge and has a PhD from the University of Sussex in the UK. He has served on the board of directors of UNESCO’s History of Mankind project since 1979, and as cultural advisor to the government of Barbados from 1975-1979 and again since 1990.
Brathwaite has received numerous awards, among them the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Bussa Award, the Casa de las Américas Prize, and the Charity Randall Prize for Performance and Written Poetry. He has received Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships, among many others. His book, The Zea Mexican Diary (1992) was The Village Voice Book of the Year. Brathwaite has authored many works, including Middle Passages (1994), Ancestors (2001) and The Development of Creole Society, 1770-1820 (2005).
Over the years, he has worked in the Ministry of Education in Ghana and taught at the University of the West Indies, Southern Illinois University, the University of Nairobi, Boston University, Holy Cross College, Yale University and was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. Brathwaite is currently a professor of comparative literature at New York University. He divides his time between CowPastor, Barbados and New York City.
About Ron Bobb-Semple:
Ron Bobb-Semple, in 1999, under the auspices of Black Diaspora Magazine of New York, journeyed to Dakar, Senegal, where he presented "The Spirit of Marcus Garvey" on Goree Island, and in November of 2000 returned to the Motherland with the project, this time at the Elmina Castle in Ghana. In addition, Ron is the recipient of the Marcus Garvey Awards from the Government of Jamerican United Nationals Association in 1988, and the Marcus Garvey Celebration Committee in 1991. For Black History Month 2001, Bobb-Semple was the voice of Garvey in the PBS Special Film, Marcus Garvey: Look For Me In The Whirlwind. At the inaugural African Heritage Trail Conference 2002 in Bermuda, he was the featured artiste with his cultural and educational presentation on Garvey. In September 2002, Mr. Bobb-Semple appeared at the Philip Sherlock Center at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, as a guest of The Friends of Liberty Hall.
Council Member of New York, Una Clarke, on February 13th, 1999 presented Bobb-Semple with a City Council Citation for his exemplary service to the community through unique personal achievement in his professional or other endeavors through a lifetime of good citizenry.
On May 23rd, 2004, in commemoration of the 38th Anniversary of Guyana's Independence, Ron Bobb, as he is familiarly known, was awarded the Service and Humanitarian Award from the Guyana Consulate and Mission in New York and the Tri-state Alliance.
On July 31st, 2004 he received the Appreciation Award for his dedication to promoting and preserving the legacy of Caribbean Theatre from the Caribbean Theatre Association, and a proclamation honoring him for his exceptional service to Caribbean Theatre and the Arts, from New York State Senator John L. Sampson.
August 19th, 2006 marked the 119th Earthday Celebration of the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and Ron had the pleasure of celebrating it in Barbados, with his presentation, at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. The event was sponsored by the Commission for Pan-African Affairs on the island.
In addition, Bobb-Semple is a mentor and board member of the R. Stanley Pettiford, Jr. Rites of Passage program in Queens, New York for the past twelve years which has given him added strength working with our Black male youth.
This award winning Guyanese born actor was a cast member of the World Premiere of OyamO's Famous Orpheus, a production in collaboration with Garth Fagan, winner of the Tony Award for his choreography of The Lion King on Broadway. A few of Bobb-Semple's other stage credits include: Award winning playwright August Wilson's Seven Guitars, The Piano Lesson and Fences, the latter co-starring with Avery Brooks; South African playwright Athol Fugard's My Children, My Africa!; Bingo!!, a musical directed by Ossie Davis; Pulitzer Prizewinner Derek Walcott's musical, Steel; and Pepe Carille's, Shango de Ima, for which he received the 1994 AUDELCO (Audience Development Committee) Award for 'Best Supporting Actor,' in New York. In 2005, Ron won the AUDELCO's 'Lead Actor' award for his portrayal of Durbin Freeman in Joyce Sylvester's A Freeman Hope at the Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn, New York.
Ron was the host of Caribbean Forum, a weekly television program he produced on WNYE-TV in New York, which won him the 1995 Caribbean Media Association's Award for 'Best Television Production/Presentation." He was also the Caribbean news correspondent for the Tony Brown Empowerment Show on WWRL 1600 AM in New York.
His film credits include Nursing Tuskegee, Mental Vengeance, Playing Both Sides, Deep Trouble, Pressure, and Lost Money and several television commercials.
Contacts for Ron Bobb-Semples web sites: www.spiritofgarvey.com & www.vmdirect.com/ronnbobb.