Nite Bjuti Demand Recognition For The Illustrious Negro Dead


Nite Bjuti’s  “Illustrious Negro Dead” is an urgent request to preserve storied Black legacies and is the second single from their debut album. The trio was inspired by Zora Neale Hurston’s 1945 letter written to preeminent Black intellectual W.E.B. DuBois suggesting he create a cemetery to honor all Negro celebrities. Candice Hoyes fervently recites bits of Hurston’s proposal as Val Jeanty and Mimi Jones’s percussion and bass create a spooky nighttime kind of vibe. Hoyes is concerned about Black artists not dying in “conspicuous forgetfulness.” She elaborates, “Although we improvised these words in the studio on Sept 21, they resound this week. Art is meant to break the cycles of oppression and offer new ways of being.” 

Nite Bjuti’s plea happening at the time of the year when Black music fans and critics share opinions on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominations recognizing prominent Black artists. This is also a period where the Hip Hop Alliance is working to raise its profile to further the mission of having all hip-hop and R&B artists fairly compensated with benefits. Hurston’s issue almost eight decades ago is still relevant when superstars like Beyoncé are used to bring ratings to Grammy Award Shows but can’t take home Album of the Year after four nominations. Or when Michael Jackson’s game-changing Thriller album 40th Anniversary Tribute gets canceled at the American Music Awards. “Illustrious Negro Dead” is an observation that all Black creatives of note are still not being fully acknowledged for their work. Nite Bjuti’s newest release is a prayer to remember, honor and sustain the legacies of those artists both living and dead. The group’s full-length album comes out on April 14th.