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.


  1. Thank you for sharing this -

    My mother took my twin sister and I to see the last poets in Harlem, NYC when were eight. I played the Last Poets on WMUA-Amherst during the 1970's and tribute Mr. Luciano on our Facebook page: BMCP-WMUA Old School Rocks! My Aunt Maria VonDickersohn played their music when she was a radio personality in NYC during the 1990's. The Last Poets were the original "RAP" group. I miss the Last Poets every album every poem there was a message that reflected the feelings of people of color. The Last Poets Rocked!
    Best Regards -
    Alyssia Alexandria
    My Darling Theo Foundation
    Oakland, CA

  2. Hi Alyssia,
    Amherst, huh? I wonder if you knew my brother Gregory Dean Smith (or Smitty from the City) who did a lot of acting, singing, and dancing in the UMASS area.


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