Minister & Social Activist
Noted activist, theologian, author, documentary filmmaker, and musician, Reverend Osagyefo Sekou was born in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in the rural Arkansas Delta. In May 2017, Rev. Sekou will release “In Times Like These.” Recorded at the storied Zebra Ranch Studio—a barn in Coldwater, MS, the album features the six-time Grammy nominated North Mississippi Allstars. Rev. Sekou’s newest collaboration is a unique combination of North Mississippi Hill Country Music, Arkansas Delta Blues, Memphis Soul and Pentecostal steel guitar. Read More >
I Was Born Again in Ferguson
Osagyefo Sekou in Ferguson - Democracy Now
The Holy Ghost: The Revolution Has Come
Rev. Sekou has released two critically acclaimed albums “The Revolution Has Come” (Farfatched, January 2016) and “In Times Like These” (Zent Records, May 2017). Released with Rev. Sekou and the Holy Ghost, "The Revolution Has Come" is a 9-track project that celebrates the gutbucket blues, gospel, soul, and funk at once. AFROPUNK celebrates the album’s ”deep bone-marrow-level conviction.” The single, “We Comin'” was named the new anthem for the modern Civil Rights movement by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Harmonica, rock guitar, and a B3 Hammond organ carry the listener to protest ecstasy. Read More >
“In Times Like These,” is Rev. Sekou debut solo album. Produced by six-time Grammy nominated Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, Rev. Sekou’s debut solo album is a new vision for what Southern blues can mean today—all saturated with Pentecostal sacred steel and soul legacy. “In Times Like These” is drenched with the sweat and tears of the Mississippi River, the great tributary that ties so much of the South together. The sonic landscape of Rev. Sekou's music captures the toil of Southern field hands, the guttural cry of chain gangs, the vibrancy of contemporary street protest, backwoods juke joints, and shotgun churches.
Rev. Sekou tours with the Brooklyn-based—The Seal Breakers—a twelve piece ensemble that includes four horns, two backup singers and a Hammond B3 organ. Their concerts invoke the spirit of the southern Tent Revival where all are welcome regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Read Less ^
As we come upon the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, his legacy will continue debated. Liberals and conservatives alike are quick to appropriate Martin Luther King, Jr. to justify their political aims and buttress their opinions of social movements. Corporations such as Apple have used his words and image to sell their wares, while pundits of all persuasions have invoked his name to browbeat younger activists and their tactics. Such is the case with Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), commonly known as Black Lives Matter (BLM). Often denigrated in public discourse, Black Lives Matter is the largest movement for racial justice since the civil rights movement of King’s day. Read More >
However, polling data on Dr. King and BLM reveal that they had more in common that popularly believed. Both Dr. King and BLM have less than a 50% approval rating in their respective times. In fact they share an equal amount of public scorn. Rev. Sekou, a Martin Luther King scholar and frontline Black Lives Matters activist argues that young activists are rejecting the pop culture presentation and not the legacy of the Civil Rights movement. Read Less ^
From the fine arts museums to foot stomping juke joints, artist have long played a key role in the movement for social justice. Critically acclaimed musician and activist, Rev. Sekou believes that artist will play a critical role in healing the acrimony that beset much of our national dialogue. Rev. Sekou's own music builds upon movement music by the SNCC Freedom Singers, The Staple Singers, and the blues tradition. By accessing the life work of cultural genius such Albert Camus, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and Rosetta Tharpe, Rev. Sekou unearths the ways in which artists have provided the balm for wounded social justice warriors.
The recent election has revigorated the cultural wars. With over vast majority of white evangelicals supporting President Trump and the roll back civil rights victories, religion will continue to play key role in our public life. This talk, based on Rev. Sekou's book Gods, Gays, and Guns, explores the topics of gay marriage, economic justice, and social movements, taking audiences on a spiritual journey that highlights our current crisis of faith—in both religion and democracy. At the heart of this speech is the provocative claim that democracy and God have failed. With unflinching candor, Rev. Sekou will challenge audiences to rethink the meaning of the role of religion in our global democracy.
Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou was born in St. Louis, Mo and raised in the rural Arkansas Delta. He was a 2014 Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Martin Luther King Education and Research Institute at the time of Michael Brown Jr’s killing, and traveled to Ferguson in mid-August on behalf of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (the country’s oldest interfaith peace organization) to organize alongside local and national groups. He trained and co-leader hundreds in militant nonviolent actions in Ferguson. Reverend Sekou attended high school in St. Louis and was ordained at Friendly Temple Baptist Church, taught alternatives to gang violence at local middle school and directed a community Center at the Cochran Housing Project. In May 2015, Rev. Sekou moved back to St Louis to focus on organizing against police violence, predatory court systems and economic and social injustice. He was arrested four times and faced up to a year in prison. His first-hand accounts of the vibrancy of the protest that launched the Black Lives Matter movement are real and rare.
Trained at the Highland Center and tutored by Rev. Dr. James Lawson—who Martin Luther King called the greatest nonviolent theorist in the world—Rev. Sekou has trained thousands in the tradition of nonviolent resistance throughout the United States. He is considered one of the leading figures in nonviolent civil resistance. Actions he has led have been covered by the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today. These workshop style trainings give organizers understanding of the moral philosophy of militant nonviolent civil disobedience, the real time tactics, and the infrastructure necessary to support movement leaders who risk arrest.
"Rev. Sekou’s talk/performance last night was exceptional! His message was powerful and inspiring, and he even had people dancing and singing along by the end. It was incredibly well-received by the audience – and I think his message resonated with a lot of folks, students especially. Thank you for everything you did to help make this happen, we are so grateful!"