Incorporating Social Justice Into The Blues

Mar 2, 2016

Rev. Osagyefo Sekou (left) with Jay-Marie Hill
Credit April Martin

When St. Louis based author, documentary filmmaker, theologian and activist Rev. Osagyefo Sekou met Bay area educator, musician and arts administrator Jay-Marie Hill, they found they shared a common interest in social justice and blues, soul & gospel music. Seven months later they released an album titled "The Revolution Has Come" under the name "Reverend Sekou and the Holy Ghost."

Hill and Sekou tell WGLT's Jon Norton via Skype that they met in Cleveland at a Black Lives conference last summer.  Hill says when she and fellow conference attendees surrounded a police car after a 14 year old boy was arrested for what she characterizes as "sitting while black," it was Sekou who cleaned the police administered pepper spray from her face.

"And then he showed up in Oakland a couple weeks later, and a friend of ours happened to pick both of us up to head to an action.  Then a couple days later I saw him again, then he texted me and we said 'what can our friend ship look like.'"

After that day, they found a common musical interest and wrote six songs in eleven  days.  Sekou says he grew up in Arkansas listening to blues, soul, and gospel. He said his Grandfather played with Louis Jordan, Albert King and B.B. King.  Sekou said he listened a lot to Lou Rawls, and says the Rawls version of "Tobacco Road" is the one blues song you can hear pushing through "The Revolution Has Come."