JuJu Jazz Poetics
Juju Jazz Poetics is a collection of soulful and evocative poems written by acclaimed musician, songwriter, and producer J. Plunky Branch. Most notably associated with his group Plunky & Oneness (of Juju) and his record labels, Black Fire and N.A.M.E Brand Records, Plunky has personally curated the 30 works in this book from the over 500 songs and poems he has written during his career.
About his book, Plunky writes, “Poetic license is what I have taken with these verses, and maybe I have stretched the boundaries by assuming to call myself a “poet”. But if these words grant you a smile or an agreeing nod or one good feeling, no matter how fleeting, perhaps I will have earned the title.”
Here’s what others are saying:
“Your poetry book is like having a personal “inspiration guide” that one can pull out when a quick fix of grace in needed!” – Mary Mudiku Greer, poetess and Black Fire artist
“…as lyrical as his music” – An DMV fan
“It was a vicarious adventure, and I'm sure it will appeal to a wide audience. Yes, you are a 'poet.' Well done!” - Lisa
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Black Fire Documentary
The Black Fire Documentary uncovers Washington, DC’s music and cultural heritage by highlighting the music, message, and art of the people behind Black Fire Records — a Black-owned independent jazz record label started in Chocolate City, aka the nation’s capital in the 1970s.
Established by DJ and record producer Jimmy Gray, and Saxophonist James “Plunky” Branch, who led the band Oneness Of Juju, Black Fire Records followed in the footsteps of other influential Black-owned independent labels like Strata-East and Tribe.
The Black Fire Documentary is a story about the early days of DC radio. It’s also a story about Black entrepreneurship and Black independent record labels of the time, especially boutique Jazz labels. Black Fire Records released the Experience Unlimited – EU’s first album in 1978. Black Fire is a story about the Spiritual Jazz Movement through highlighting Plunky’s contemporaries such as Sunra. Black Fire is a story about the Black Cultural Movements of the time, specifically in DC, but also in California and New York. Black Fire is a story about an independent jazz label and its connections to modern music through Hip Hop & Neo-Soul; via artists
that sampled or were influenced by Plunky/Black Fire (J Dilla, J Cole, Madlib, The Roots, Questlove, KRS ONE etc.). Finally, Black Fire is a story about family and legacy — how Jamiah Branch and Jamal Gray carry on the lineage of Black Fire Records, passing the torch for generations to come.
In a time of gentrification and cultural erasure in DC and beyond, Black Fire is a powerful piece of the once predominantly Black city’s history. Through the use of primary and secondary research methods, in-person interviews, album cover art, archival and media footage, photography and animation the Black Fire story is being told in the burning spirit of preserving the music, the people and the culture.
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