Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mpozi Remembered

Tuesday night, ?uestlove, Chuck Treece, King Britt, Schooly D, Rich Medina and other Philly all-stars came together at Silk City to celebrate the life of Mpozi Tolbert, a photographer who began his career in Philly. He was 34 when he passed of sudden heart failure at his desk at the Indianapolis Star on July 3, 2006. His early work on The Roots was featured regularly in City Paper during the mid 1990s, and he was a fixture on the local scene.

When ?uestlove took over the 1s and 2s at Silk City, he grabbed the mic:

"Not many people know this, but Mpozi was also an excellent DJ. He'd say to me, 'Amhir, why don't you ever play any dub in your sets?'"

Well, ?uesto's set last night was all dub. And the dance floor was moving.

Chuck Treece was on set and Scooly D chimed in with "P.S.K. What Does It Mean?" Rich Medina kicked it off with James Brown, and the large poster board with Mpozi's silhouette overflowed with tags and messages.

I'll never forget the first time I met Mpozi. I had just gotten my staff job at City Paper and he was shooting for the Indianapolis Star. He came into the office when he was back in town and we jammed on music/art/photography/life. He shared stories of his early City Paper shoots and wished me luck with the gig. That's just the kind of guy he was.

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