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Peace Be Still-Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Nikki Giovanni's The Truth Is On Its Way with Jamal Ahmad

Nikki Giovanni Speaking at Emory University on 020708 photo by Brett Weinstein Flickr CC.jpg
Brett Weinstein
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Flickr/Creative Commons
Nikki Giovanni speaks at Emory University 2/7/08

This week on The Local Take, I’m speaking with WCLK’s own Jamal Ahmad, founder of the WCLK's S.O.U.L of Jazz heard all over the world. As a member of the Dangerfeel Newbies, Ahmad has co-produced a series of documentaries. The first will broadcast during The Saturday Night SOUL of Jazz on Saturday, February 26th at 7PM. The topic is poet extraordinaire Nikki Giovanni, and is called Peace Be Still: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Nikki Giovanni’s “Truth Is On Its Way,” an album celebrating poetry and spirituals. The album is a true precursor to the hip-hop generation.

I asked Ahmad how he came to produce this documentary and how he learned about this album. He speaks to his over thirty years in the industry and his needing to learn about music’s history.

Ego-Tripping,” a seminal work by Giovanni without music, is similar to a rap song. The words have a rhythm. The documentary reminds us that poets often performed live on stage with musical accompaniment. Most people associate Gil Scott-Heron with the birth of rap, but this documentary proves he was not the only one.

The documentary references Giovanni’s time at Fisk University, and the importance of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. It contends that the foundation for all music genres, from pop to rock to jazz and gospel, uses this group.

The documentary on Nikki Gionnvani’s album Peace Be Still shouldn’t be missed.