Reverend Sekou brings Arkansas Delta Blues to Schaller Chapel at BVU


Kyle Wiebers, Contributing Writer

On February 20 at 7 PM, the sounds of North Mississippi Hill Country Music, Arkansas Delta Blues, Memphis Soul and Pentecostal steel guitar will ring together inside Schaller Chapel at Buena Vista University (BVU) to create the musical sounds of Reverend Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou.

The renowned Rev. Sekou, along with his band, will perform songs from his albums, “Times Like These,” and “The Revolution Has Come.” Sekou, promises, “a foot stomping, hand clapping show,” for all in attendance tonight.

Sekou says his music is influenced in large part by social and political commentary, and he believes music is a universal language with the means to set people free. This was one of the reasons that Dr. Swasti Bhattacharyya, Professor of Philosophy and Religion at BVU, brought the Reverend to campus for an ACES event.

“Part of being educated is learning from other people and other world views,” said Bhattacharyya.

Sekou brings an element that BVU students have yet to experience. “He was in the front lines in Charlottesville and Ferguson,” Bhattacharyya said, “that first-hand experience is better than anything I can have (students) read from a book.”

Sekou was born in Saint Louis, MO, and raised in the Arkansas Delta, which he says is a huge influence on his music. The likes of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Louis Jordan, and Albert King have influenced his unique style of music.

The Reverend is not only a musician, but spent time as a professor at several universities, teaching philosophy, religion, race.  He also spent a decade at a seminary school in Chicago. While he joked that many of his topics are considered boring, he enjoys when he gets to teach about existentialists like Albert Camus, and Simone de Beauvoir.

When racial tensions in Charlottesville, NC were high, he was there. After Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, MO in 2014, Sekou returned to his birth state, on behalf of the Fellowship of Reconciliation to work alongside local and national groups.

When asked what inspires him, Sekou referenced the popular new movie, Black Panther, and how his inspiration for music and life were the people that raised him.

“I was raised by people that did not wear capes,” Sekou said, “but [they] sold quilts, and they picked cotton, and they loved me deeply.”

Miss Roberta, his grandmother, and his grandfather who was a preacher, influenced him and inspired him to do what he does each and every day.

“They were not important to the rest of the world but prepared me to do battle with this beast,” said Sekou.

While Sekou isn’t a fan of the cold and the ice that has welcomed him to Storm Lake, he is looking forward to performing for the BVU campus.