There It Is by Jayne Cortez (1982)
And if we don’t fight
if we don’t resist
if we don’t organize and unify and
get the power to control our own lives
then we will wear
the exaggerated look of captivity
the stylized look of submission
the bizarre look of suicide
the dehumanized look of fear
and the decomposed look of repression
forever and ever and ever
And there it is…
Jayne Cortez was a jazz poet whose work was performed all over the world. She has graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, the Museum of Modern Art and the Schomburg Research Center in New York. Cortez began composing her poetry to music in the 1960’s. One of her most memorable pieces is “If the Drum Is a Woman,” written in response to Duke Ellington’s “A Drum is a Woman” in 1956.
Hear Cortez’ poem below.
Born Sallie Jayne Richardson, Jayne Cortez was born on the Army base at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. She was raised in a military environment, as her father was a veteran of both world wars. As she began to perform her jazz poetry, she took her maternal grandmother’s maiden name of Cortez as her own surnamer. Upon receiving her education, Cortez became a respected professor at Rutgers and other major universities. She wrote 12 books of poetry and released 11 recordings.
During the 1960’s, Cortez formed her own band called The Firespitters. One of the members was her son, Denardo, from her first marriage to musician Ornette Coleman.
In 1963 and 1964, Cortez used her vocal and writing talent to help register voters in Mississippi. She started the Watts Repertory Theater Company in Los Angeles and gave her first public poetry reading. She traveled throughout Europe and Africa, taking a home in Dakar, Senegal. She settled in New York in 1967. Cortez worked with sculptor Melvin Edwards to illustrate many of her works. The two married in 1975.
In 1991, Cortez co-founded the Organization of Women Writers of Africa with writer Ama Ata Aidoo.
Among her many works of poetry were “Festivals and Funerals” (1971), “Coagulations” (1984) and “Jazz Fan Looks Back” (2002).
Cortez received many awards for her work in jazz poetry. Among them were the Langston Hughes Award and the New York Foundation for the Arts award.
Jayne Cortez passed away of heart failure on December 28, 2012 at her Manhattan, N.Y. home. She was remembered at a tribute at the Cooper Union Foundation Building. At her request, her ashes were taken to Benin, Nigeria by her family, where she was given a traditional ceremony.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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