Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tribute to a Black Puerto Rican Activist, Poet, and Journalist

Felipe Luciano, Emmy-Award Winning Journalist
Afro-Puerto Rican Black Puerto Rican
The lone Afro-Latino member of the Last Poets, a renown group of black revolutionaries mentored by poet, author, and university professor Amiri Baraka, was Felipe Luciano. He was born in Spanish Harlem, New York City and raised by a single Puerto Rican mother. It was his black and proud grandmother who instilled in him a positive view of his Afro-Puerto Rican roots, which he grew to appreciate more as he approached maturity.

Felipe Luciano was a member of the original Last Poets
As a youth, Luciano did prison time for manslaughter while living in Brooklyn. After getting out early for good behavior, he enrolled in Queens College of the City University of New York and immediately became an social activist and a member of the Last Poets, which many say is the precursor to hip-hop. Because of his increasing popularity as an artist and activist, a group of young Puerto Ricans approached Felipe about coming together to fight poverty and oppression in the Puerto Rican community; the New York branch of the Chicago-based Young Lords Party, and ally of the Black Panther Party was established (see blog post: Puerto Rican Allies of the Black Panther Party. Felipe Luciano was elected chairman and distinguished himself in articulating barrio grievances and bonding with his Puerto Rican community.

Luciano as chairman of the Young Lords Party (YLP)
After leaving the YLP, Luciano got his break into the media producing popular New York radio shows on WRVR, and black-owned WBLS and WLIB becoming an ACE Award recipient. As his media career progressed, Felipe became WNBC-TV anchor winning two Emmy Awards.