Abiodun Oyewole, member of the legendary hip-hop group, Last Poets is facing the very real possibility of losing his home. In an interview with New York Daily News, Oyewole explained that despite what notions other may have of his living circumstances, he has been struggling:
“I’ve been making most of my money working for arts education agencies, but that money is all dried up in the city. Consequently, I do not have the funds I normally have. So things got slack. I had to borrow money. Now I’m close to losing my home.”
With New York City government has been cutting back their programs in the arts and education, the reductions in funds to city schools have eliminated a large part of Oyewole’s income.
It’s a long journey for the hip-hop legend who was part of the genre’s founding but has contributed also to its modern past. The Last Poets were born in Harlem’s Mount Morris Park (now renamed Marcus Garvey Park) in the spring of 1968. In the last few years, the Last Poets have appeared on albums for artist like Common, very much still in the game. Most recently, their work has been heard on Kanye West’s “Lost In The World.” Though the years, the group produced hits such as “White Man’s Got A God Complex,” “Ho Chi Minh,” “When The Revolution Comes,” and anthology of others.
Now, at 63 and in dire financial straits the hip-hop legend worries he will lose the Morningside Drive apartment he has lived in for 35 years. Oyewole has shared his home with open arms over the years, hosting his “Open House Sundays” series for poets and entertainers every week since 1979.
The Sunday benefit will be held at the National Black Theatre, 2131 Fifth Ave. in Harlem. Tickets are $25 in advance and will be $30 at the door.