File #: 220018    Version: 0 Name:
Type: Resolution Status: ADOPTED
File created: 1/20/2022 In control: CITY COUNCIL
On agenda: Final action: 1/27/2022
Title: Honoring the life and legacy of music legend, activist, and Philadelphia native James Mtume, on the occasion of his passing.
Sponsors: Councilmember Johnson, Councilmember Green, Councilmember Bass, Councilmember Parker, Councilmember Gilmore Richardson, Councilmember Gauthier, Councilmember Gym, Councilmember Squilla, Councilmember Brooks, Councilmember Jones, Councilmember Quiñones Sánchez, Councilmember Domb
Attachments: 1. Resolution No. 22001800, 2. Signature22001800
Honoring the life and legacy of music legend, activist, and Philadelphia native James Mtume, on the occasion of his passing.

WHEREAS, James Forman, who went by "James Mtume" for his entire adult life, was a musical innovator who left an indelible mark on a broad range of musical traditions, from jazz to R&B to hip hop to film and television; and

WHEREAS, Mtume was born on January 3, 1946, and grew up on the 1500 block of Wharton Street in South Philadelphia. He was the biological son of legendary jazz saxophonist Jimmy Heath, but was raised by his mother and James "Hen Gates" Forman, who was a professional jazz pianist himself; and

WHEREAS, Mtume grew up in a musical environment, with jazz musicians frequenting his childhood home, including Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Dinah Washington, and John Coltrane. His biological uncle, the jazz drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath, gave him his first conga drum and he taught himself to play piano and percussion; and

WHEREAS, Mtume was a star swimmer at Overbrook High School, where he became the first Black backstroke champion in the Amateur Athletic Union's Middle Atlantic District. In 1966, he entered Pasadena City College on a swimming scholarship; and

WHEREAS, In California, he joined the US Organization, a Black nationalist cultural group that introduced the holiday Kwanzaa, and he took an African last name: Mtume, Swahili for "messenger"; and

WHEREAS, Around this time, he also turned seriously to music and made two jazz albums thematically focused on Black cultural identity. The first, Kawaida, was made under his uncle's name, and also featured his father along with jazz legends Herbie Hancock and Don Cherry. However, Mtume was a major contributor to the album, not only lending percussion and vocals but also writing all of the songs; and

WHEREAS, During this time, Mtume developed a close relationship with renowned poet and activist Amiri Baraka, with whom he recorded a spoken word album. At Baraka'...

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