Derrick Gilbert, American poet, Died at 45

  Music, Writers

Derrick Gilbert, died on November 1, 2015 from liver disease, he was an American poet.

Derrick wrote for the NAACP Image Awards from 1993 to 2001 while earning his Doctorate in Sociology.

He graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and teaching at UCLA and UC Berkeley.

Derrick planed, and help to launch the Image Awards’ Literature categories, which are still an important part of the annual awards competition.

The well know “D-Knowledge” as his nickname, appeared in such films as John Singleton’s “Higher Learning” and Mario Van Peebles’ “Panther,” as well as on television shows like the “Arsenio Hall Show” and the “Apollo Comedy Hour.”

Derrick also performed his poetry in concert with such artists as Meshell Ndegeocello, Howard Hewett, Arrested Development, Midnight Oil, and Bill Cosby.

He performed as part of Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD festival and joined an Earth, Wind & Fire tour as their opening act.

The poet was honoured to write copy for President Bill Clinton and perform an original poem, “The We of Ali” at the Gala Opening of the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, KY.

The poet also authored two acclaimed books of poetry, Henna Man and Catch The Fire!!: A Cross-Generational Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry” which was published in 1998 by The Berkley Publishing Group/Penguin Putnam, Inc. and included selections written by several noted poets and writers, including the late Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Bill Duke, Quincy Troupe, June Jordan, Ntozake Shange, Adidoun Oyewole and many others.

Derrick music and poetry CD, “All That and a Bag of Words” were released by Quincy Jones’ Qwest Records/Warner Bros Records in 1995.

The poetry albums released by a major label during the poetry renaissance of the 1990s, with tracks receiving airplay on Black and alternative radio.

It also included a guest appearance by iconic poet Sonia Sanchez and the late Andrae Crouch and his choir.

During the promotion of the album, Derrick appeared on MTV’s spoken-word series, “Poetry Unplugged”, “Showtime At The Apollo” and performed at the legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe in New York’s East Village.

The album’s most popular poem was the classic “Remember,” recorded live at the Apollo.

He also taught his unique brands of sociology and poetry at Yale University, the University of Michigan, San Quentin Penitentiary, UC Santa Barbara and Soka University.

His works have appeared in the National Black Law Journal, Educational Policy, Encyclopedia of African American Education, Tough Love and a variety of other publications.

Derrick left behind his father, jazz bassist Stanley Gilbert, his mother and strongest supporter Mary Gilbert, his sister Robin Perez, and many friends.

Derrick Gilbert passed away at 45 years old from liver disease.