Russell Simmons

Jersey Poet Laureate Unrepentant

09/27/2002
Staff Writer

Newark, N.J. — Controversial New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka, whose recent poem “Somebody Blew Up America” suggested that Israel knew in advance about the Sept. 11 terror attacks, blasted his Jewish critics Wednesday, calling the Anti-Defamation League “the voice of imperialism.”

Baraka is refusing to resign his post despite calls from New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey that he step down, adding Wednesday, “I will not apologize.”

‘Jews And Muslims Are Kissing Cousins’

12/21/2007
Special to The Jewish Week

After three days in the media glare, the so-called "Subway Good Samaritan" retreated to upstate New York in the middle of last week. But the trip with a friend lasted just 24 hours, and when Hassan Askari returned to his life as a Berkeley College accounting student and a deliveryman for two East Village Indian restaurants, a fuller picture began to emerge of a thoughtful 20-year-old Bangladeshi with a multicultural cast to his life and strong views about the common ground he believes exists between Jews and Muslims.

Jersey Poet Laureate Unrepentant

09/27/2002
Staff Writer
Newark, N.J. — Controversial New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka, whose recent poem “Somebody Blew Up America” suggested that Israel knew in advance about the Sept. 11 terror attacks, blasted his Jewish critics Wednesday, calling the Anti-Defamation League “the voice of imperialism.” Baraka is refusing to resign his post despite calls from New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey that he step down, adding Wednesday, “I will not apologize.”

A Lesson In Eclectic Judaism

10/22/2004
Staff Writer
Vanessa Hidary, a performance artist best known for her work with Russell Simmons’ hip-hop Def Poetry Jam, tells the story of the man she met at a bar who remarked that she “doesn’t look Jewish.” Hidary, aka the “Hebrew Mamita,” a fixture on New York’s on-the-edge cultural scene, shared her thoughts on the man’s shallow remarks during her performances before avant guard audiences.
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