Tonight, noted activist, theologian, author, documentary filmmaker and musician, Reverend Osagyefo (oh-sah-GG-fo) Uhuru (ooh-WHO-roo) Sekou (SAY-koo) wraps up the 2019 Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series with his Nashville blues band The Freedom Fighters—and next week, they’ll take their fiery fusion down to Chattanooga, Tenn. (9/12) and Berea, Ky. (9/13). Born in St. Louis, and raised in the rural Arkansas Delta, Rev. Sekou’s fervent anthems weave together Arkansas Delta Blues, Memphis soul, 1970s funk and gospel. Drawing upon his background in music, ministry and advocacy, Rev. Sekou preaches high-energy messages of hope and empowerment, steeped in Southern soul.
Having joined the ministry at the age of 15, Rev. Sekou’s life quickly became a synthesis of ministry, organizing and activism—with music becoming an important “biproduct” or “extension of his ministry.” Today, he’s an internationally-renowned leader of nonviolent civil resistance who’s celebrated for his uplifting music and commitment to bettering the lives of others across the globe—from leading an interfaith delegation to Haiti one month after the tragic 2010 earthquake, to training future advocates in Ivy League classrooms, to organizing interfaith leaders in the wake of the tragedies in Charlottesville, Va., and Ferguson, Mo., (on behalf of the Fellowship of Reconciliation), and serving on several international delegations.
Rev. Sekou is no stranger to the Levitt stage. Earlier this year, he released a live album entitled “When We Fight, We Win – Live in Memphis,” recorded at his 2018 Levitt Shell Memphis performance—just 45 minutes from the community where he was raised. Moved by the outpouring of intergenerational support on the lawn that evening, he was inspired to move back to the area soon after the show. The group described the memorable evening as “one-part protest rally, one-part Pentecostal tent revival, and one-part late night juke joint.”
In light of Rev. Sekou’s three upcoming Levitt AMP performances, check out his 2018 NPR Tiny Desk performance with The Seal Breakers—described as “one of the most rousing Tiny Desk Concerts” Tiny Desk host Bob Boilen had ever experienced.