Watts Prophets: Amde Hamilton Spends 80th Birthday At Hot & Cool Cafe in Leimert Park

Leimert Park, CA–Amde Hamilton of the Watts Prophets spent is 80th birthday in Leimert Park this past weekend, celebrated by family, longtime friends and community members at Hot and Cool Cafe.

Hamilton is co-founder of the Watts Prophets, a group he founded in 1967 with Otis O’Solomon and Richard Dedeaux after the August 1965 Watts Riots. They spoke truth to power wherever they could, which would lead to inspiring the early wave of young rap artists who would recite his poetry.

I first met Amde through his grandchildren during my time in college. Amde and his wife lived in Northern California after moving from Los Angeles, but Amde would travel back to L.A. often.

At 80 years old Amde is still as sharp as a whistle, able to talk to you about current and past events as if they happened yesterday. His witty mind makes conversations with him intriguing. He is like a walking encyclopedia of information, especially regarding the history of black Los Angeles.

The most recent conversation with Amde, he talked to me about the dangers associated with communicating via 5G networks and what he saw as the most pressing issues for Black Angelenos in 2020. It was good to see his family praise him for being such a strong and influential person in their lives.

I really enjoy this collection of poems published by Amde entitled, Journey of a Street Poet, Me today, You tomorrow.


Papa used to say

something wise to me

each day, take life

seriously always son

Respect everyone

Make your word your

Bond, it’s the sum of you

and what you do

If you say it, mean it

screen it, if it’s dirty

clean it

See clearly that you mean it

A lie my boy is like a fly

Now it’s here, there

looking for a place to die

Truth has proof

Like it be a hole when you pull a tooth

Fat meat is greasy

living right aint easy

those are facts clearly

seen unless man is

living a dream

First was the word

So a no-good word

is absurd

It’s a key to the unreal

a bad deal

that locks up truth

IN a cage of lies

attacks facts with

open eyes

so be solid, son

stick love and truth

to everyone

Papa used to say

something wise to me each day.

Photo: Alex Alonso Street Gangs T.V

About slausongirl

Slauson Girl is a South Central native who has a love for journalism, history and all things Hip-Hop. She holds a B.A in Critical Race & Gender Theory & a Minor in Journalism. Follow Me on IG @Slausongirl

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