Today would be, should be, Greg Tate’s 65th solar return.
For much of the original VIBE tribe, the physical transition of this unstoppable cultural force, whose work continues to inspire generations of artists and activists, still feels unreal. One minute he was plucking his mbira amidst the overflowing bookshelves in his Harlem headquarters; the next his name was splashed across the marquee of the World-Famous Apollo Theater, taking his rightful place amidst a pantheon of Black geniuses memorialized there—Aretha Franklin, Prince, and James Brown, the subject of Tate’s next book.
You remember Greg Tate. Founder of the Black Rock Coalition, along with assorted arkestras and Afrocentric artistic alliances. Author of the seminal Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America, acquired by the pioneering Black book editor Malaika Adero and published exactly thirty years ago in 1992.
That same year Tate wrote the very first page of the very first issue of VIBE magazine, published in September, three months before The Chronic. Conceived while the wreckage of the L.A. Uprising was still smoldering, Tate’s incendiary 500-word essay “The Sound and The Fury” singed the synapses, challenging anyone who dared read it.
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