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Eleanor D. Branch

singer, songwriter, actor, activist, playwright, was born Oscar Cicero Brown Jr., the son of Oscar Brown Sr., a lawyer and real estate broker, and Helen Lawrence, a schoolteacher, in Chicago.

Growing up, Brown demonstrated an early attraction to and flair for language. He won elocution contests in school and was drawn to the poetry of Langston Hughes and Countée Cullen as well as to the music of Cole Porter and Oscar Hammerstein. He wrote songs as a teenager and by age fifteen had made his show business debut in the children's radio drama Secret City A year later having skipped two grades he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin only to find that academia was not for him he was drawn to creative writing but fell short in other subjects and as a consequence drifted from school to school never graduating Throughout this period his ...


Emad Abdul-Latif

Egyptianvernacular poet, songwriter, and political activist, popularly known as el-Fāgūmī, was born in May 1929 in Kafr abu Negm village in Sharqiyya governorate. His father, Mohammed Ezzat Negm, was a police officer and his mother, Hanim Mursi Negm, was a farmer. His father's sudden death was a tragic event in his life. His family abandoned him when he was ten years old and he had to move to an orphans’ shelter where he stayed for seven years. From that moment, Negm lived an unstable, though rich, life. At the age of seventeen, he returned briefly to his village and worked at farming, only to move back to Cairo shortly after. Negm worked many odd jobs but failed to keep any one job for a prolonged period of time until he worked for the Egyptian railways in 1951. In 1959 he was accused of ...


Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

guitarist, songwriter, producer, and photographer, was born in London, England, the oldest of three children, to James Reid, a postal worker, and Mary Elizabeth, a hospital worker. His parents had emigrated from the Caribbean island of Montserrat, but anti-immigrant sentiments prompted them to leave London for New York when Reid was two years old. Living in Brooklyn, Reid attended St. Gregory's Catholic School, where he demonstrated an interest in art and drawing. He also seemed fascinated with music, and his parents exposed him to a broad spectrum of their favorites—from calypso, to James Brown, to the Beatles, and the Dave Clark Five By the time he reached Brooklyn Technical High School focusing on industrial design Reid enjoyed an eclectic musical mix of rock blues jazz and R B An after school jazz workshop intensified his interest in music and he began ...