“I was taught that the concept of the local artist is a noble one. That to live and work in a community and to be known for that work, is very dignified.” Kamau Daáood
Kamau Daáood, who just received the George Drury Smith Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry at Beyond Baroque in Venice, is a performance poet, educator and community arts activist who is widely acknowledged as a major driving force behind Los Angeles’ Black cultural renaissance. Born and raised in Los Angeles, the multi-talented poet and artist was instrumental in transforming Leimert Park into the cultural center it is today. In 1989 he and drummer Billy Higgins teamed up with a handful of artists to establish the World Stage. Under Kamau’s and Billy’s leadership this store-front performance gallery became Los Angeles’ Black creative epicenter. The author of Ascension, Liberator of the Spirit, and The Language of Saxophones: Selected Poems of Kamau Daáood, Kamau’s work has been translated into Spanish and was featured in Ten Contemporary American Poets. He developed his literary skills as a young member of the legendary Watts Writer’s Workshop. His tenure as a “word musician” with the Pan African People’s Arkestra under the direction of Horace Tapscott, helped to shape his bebop-flavored poetic approach. A veteran of hundreds of readings, Kamau developed an underground following in the west coast performance circles, where he has been known to bring an audience to its feet. His readings have brought him to podiums with Gil Scott Heron, The Last Poets, Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez, and have taken him as far away as Egypt and Somalia.