It wasn’t until I reach undergrad when I was formally introduced to Assata’s work through music. It wasn’t her words, but her voice on Common’s album ‘Like Water For Chocolate’ to which I was first drawn. When she said, “Freedom? You asking me about freedom? I’ll be honest with you, I know a whole lot more about what freedom isn’t than what it is.” her words stayed with me. They never left.
About ten years ago, when I living in Houston pursing a music career I demo’ed a song by Dick Gregory’s daughter, Ayanna Gregory, called “I Believe.” I didn’t realize until later that the song was adapted from Assata’s poem ‘Affirmation‘. All along Assata has been in my life like a strangely familiar shadow. The sort of encounter that’s the sweetest.
Happy birthday Assata Shakur.
On July 16th, 2013, also Assata Shakur’s birthday, I put together a tribute piece for Trayvon Martin. The images are from a recent Travyon Martin peace rally I attended in New York City. I recorded the song, “I Believe” over ten years ago and up until now never released it publicly. I figured now was a better time than any to share the song with others. The lyrics are adapted from Assata Shakur’s poem Affirmation. Enjoy.
Photos and video by Tara L. Conley (copyright 2013)