Baba Olutunde Olufemi
Baba Olutunde's Photo

What’s in a name? Power. Ancestry. Historical Connectedness. Familial Ties. Sometimes Hurt. But Never Shame. Ask Olutunde Chisom Olufemi aka Baba Olutunde what’s in his name and he’ll proudly recite all of the above and together they will summate another title---“The Griot”.

“A griot is a chronicler of history – keeping track of the history and developments of his people over time. The griot is guardian of the knowledge of his people’s ancestry, or genealogy, a history that may never be written down so the griot is crucial to keeping the records of the past. Griots are also orators, lyricists and musicians and they train to excel in all three art forms.”

Olutunde Chisom Olufemi was born in 1968 into a family setting of West African and American ethnicity. He was the fifth in a family of seven children. “My father believed in culture and my mother believed in religion,” he remembers, “divided, yes, but spiritual in profound ways. As a child I struggled terribly with mixing Christianity with Ifa so I was forced to abandon the most important part of my roots to make the church my guiding haven.”

Needless to say, Olutunde’s greater self could not adorn what appeared to him to be a myriad of fallacies. He left the church at the age of 13 and began to explore his buried talents. Doing so not only enabled him to discover his inner and outer strengths and weaknesses, but also his powers to think/design/create the drive behind his talent to write. In this is where Olutunde found his hidden voice.

His lost or rather stolen heritage did not impair his zeal and passion to follow in the footsteps of his great grandfather, whom he later discovered was a revered storyteller, oral poet, percussionist and writer. From the days of his youth, Olutunde has had a strong command of lyrical skills that prompted powerful delivery of basic and abstract literary styles earning him the title “The Griot”. His fortitude for the arts carried him through adolescence and into adulthood. With each passing year, he became sharper and more artistically refined.

In 1993, Baba Olutunde was accepted into the radio\film\theater communications program at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. There, peers and professors alike regarded him as “the restless poet with a deliberate intelligence that lined his artistic nature”. And rightly so for a man who preferred reading, writing, teaching and exploring to anything that could be remotely perceived at idle. It was at Temple that he first developed the interest in combing poetry with traditional West African, Cuban, Jazz and New Age drum rhythms. Thus leading to the creation of “A Poet’s True Love” a five- character one-man staged play written, performed and directed by himself. The success of his first play inspired several sequel pieces that too did not go unrecognized. He is an author of five fully completed books of oral poetry, spoken word, folktales and fables. Baba Olutunde’s first collection of poetry The Compositions of A Griot (2007) was published by Roaring Lion Publications, a self-publishing company he founded. Additional titles include but are not limited to The Son Of A Warrior Griot: A collection of Oral Poetry, Folktales and Fables (2008), Love Psalms: A collection of love poems (unreleased), The Streets Speak Of Blood (unreleased) and Redemption Songs (unreleased).

This Author, Artist and Activist has traveled the country performing for hundreds of audiences, including but not limited to various poetry venues, schools, universities, subway stations, street corners, rehab centers, libraries, cultural events, parks, bookstores and fundraisers. In 1997, he helped design and hosted a spoken word radio show on WRFG 89.3 FM titled “Reflections”. His other notable community activity and performances include the spoken word program “Word Essence” on PBS television. He has opened for popular spoken word artists like KOFFEE (Miss Georgia), Def Jam Poet “Abyss”, Nukola, Def Jam Poet “Wordsmith”, and “Phillipe” The Philosopher, The Prophet and The Poet”.

Indeed Baba Olutunde is an invaluable asset to the African-American literary and Performing Arts communities. He was a guest performer at the West End Performing Arts Center’s 2006 & 2007 annual Kwanzza celebration program. He opened for Atlanta’s 2007 “A tribute to African-American Fathers” conference and dinner and has been a featured storyteller and motivational speaker at “The Shrine of The Black Madonna” during Atlanta’s 2007 Global Storyteller’s Conference. He was a featured poet in Atlanta’s 2008 Annual World Natural Hair & Beauty Show and currently is a member of the Black Storytellers of Georgia.

Baba Olutunde is dedicated to literature that reflects a commitment to social change with an emphasis on traditional oral word sound power from West Africa that build bridges between his writings and the public. “I offer a power of speech to the powerless in a language that celebrates, honors and teaches,” he said.

“The Griot”, as he is known and revered, is a loving father of three: son, Shango and daughters Ashawna and Ume-Oma. He currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia and is a Awo in training to become an Ifa priest.

You can contact Baba Olutunde Olufemi via e-mail at or by sending an e-mail to TimBookTu and it will be forwarded.

Works on TimBookTu by Baba Olutunde Olufemi


Grasshopper & The Toad<
The Lion’s Whisker


A Caribbean Love Lullaby
A Cherub Followed Me
A Coffin For The President
A Voice I Am Going To Send
Ghetto Boy (He Knew)
In Blood
In The Heat of the Night
In This World Of Spirituality
My Neighbor's Son
Obi Divination
Once Upon A Time I Loved Her
Rebecca’s Blues
Remember The Keepers Of History
Spiritual Liberation
The Auction Block
The Griot Of An Urban Ghetto
The Negro Of A New Day
The Psalm Of A Griot
Until I Am Ready To Die

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