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Abiodun Oyewole (born Charles Davis, 1948), was a founding member of the legendary African American musical spieling group, The Last Poets, that developed into what is considered the first ever hip hop group.Read More...
Abiodun was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and he moved with his maternal aunt and her new husband at age three to Queens, New York. At the age of 15, he attended a Yoruba Temple in Harlem. It was there that he was given the name by which he is best known.
Early in his life, Abiodun was influenced by jazz and gospel music played by his parents and the poems of Langston Hughes.
The group was born on May 19, 1968, Malcolm X's birthday, when Abiodun and two others, David Nelson, Gylan Kain, read poetry in tribute to Malcolm X. The group was based in black nationalism and quickly became known throughout the African-American community. They are generally credited, along with Gil Scott-Heron, as being major influences on the development of hip hop.
At one juncture, Oyewole was forced to leave the group as he spent four years in a North Carolina prison, convicted of larceny. After serving two and a half years of a three year sentence, because of good behavior he was eligible for study release during the day. Oyewole continued his education at a nearby college and earned his undergraduate degree. He subsequently went on to earn a doctorate from Columbia University in New York City, where has served as a member of the faculty.