My Random Thoughts

Blues People

Amiri Baraka

I just found out about the death of Amiri Baraka's daughter, Shani, on Tuesday. This is such a tragic story. I am an admirer of poet and cultural thinker Amiri Baraka (real name: LeRoi Jones). I have several of his books in my personal library – my favorites are Black Music and Blues People: Negro Music in White America. These two books, in my humble opinion, are required reading for music journalists. Read these books so you can better understand the importance of strong music criticism.

But back to the original topic . . .

Black men . . . we must stop abusing our Black women. I send my condolences and prayers to the Baraka family.

Thousands Gather To Mourn Shani Baraka, Daughter Of Poet Amiri Baraka, and Friend, Rayshon Holmes

Ras Baraka shook his head as if to clear it as he stood next to the casket of his sister, Shani, on Saturday at a church in Newark, N.J. Thousands had come to mourn her death and that of her friend, Rayshon Holmes, both shot to death last Tuesday, allegedly by Wanda Pasha's estranged husband, James Coleman. Ras, the son of poet Amiri Baraka and a Newark deputy mayor, pulled himself together to denounce domestic abuse.

He later broke down as he neared the end of his speech, his cheeks wet with tears. "Does anyone know why this happened?" he asked. "Can anybody explain why this happened? Has anyone seen my baby sister? He killed my baby sister. My god, he killed my baby sister."

Suspect in Baraka Murders Turns Himself In

A suspect in the fatal shooting last week of Amiri Baraka's daugher, Shani, and her friend surrendered to police in Piscataway, N.J., authorities said. Though James Coleman has not been charged in the deaths of Shani and Rayshon Holmes, police named him as a suspect for the first time since the bodies of the women were found in the Piscataway home of Coleman's estranged wife, Wanda Pasha, Amiri's other daughter. Rayshon was a friend of Shani.

Shani Baraka, a Newark schoolteacher and high school basketball coach, had been staying with her sister in Piscataway earlier this year and returned last week with Holmes to collect some belongings when they were both shot multiple times in the head and body, according to police and family.

Coleman and Pasha had been married for three years when Pasha kicked him out of the Piscataway house in January, alleging repeated abuse. Police had been called to the home at least five times since September 2001 for domestic violence complaints, authorities said. In April, Pasha got a domestic violence restraining order against Coleman because he continued to harass her, police said.