Lead architect of the participatory media popup DuSable City, steward of the creative sousou someplace like Home, originator of the experi(m)ent(i)al podcapsule trance-mission DrumLanguage , & disciple of Kamau Brathwaite, Ayinde Jean-Baptiste [Sanba Tonnè] is a poet/griot/keeper of memory, & systems thinker who occasionally commits acts of journalism.
Born on Umoja of a hard, demanding love, he was raised in Chicago and Evanston, IL in an extended family of blood and political relations. He has shared truth & troth in hundreds of settings, including churches, schools, community centers, group homes, youth prisons, universities, museums, stadiums, kitchen tables, the halls of government and the streets.
A veteran of electoral and issue campaigns since 2001 with his father’s first bid for elective office in Evanston, IL, Ayinde has organized locally and nationally against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, against the occupation of Haiti, on the issue of immigration, and in the fight for reparations for slavery.
In Chicago he worked with the Industrial Areas Foundation to launch PACT, their first broad-based organization by and for young adults and co-founded the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti. Through this work, Ayinde helped extend the age limit for dependent Health Care coverage in Illinois for veterans, and Haiti’s legislature amended the nation’s Constitution to grant dual citizenship to Haitians who have naturalized abroad and their children.
A decade ago, he transitioned into multimedia storytelling, first as a Contributing Editor and later Senior Editor at The Haitian Times in Brooklyn NY. In recent years this work has featured on WNYC, WBAI, WVON & WBEZ, with support from City Lore, Chicago Community Trust, the City of Evanston, THREAD at Yale, Black Metropolis Research Consortium, City Bureau, CCCADI & Voqal.
He continues to explore the transformative potential of Black sound and orality by engaging with communities of listening, movement, memory-making and archiving, serving as a multiformat arts presenter with the Brooklyn Museum, Haiti Cultural Exchange, City Lore, DuSable Museum & Education Center, Old Town School of Folk Music, Bowery Poetry Club, Franke Center for the Arts & more, as well as in solidarity & advisory roles with #LetUsBreathe Collective & Honey Pot Performance.
As an independent producer & strategist, his recent collaborators include Renegade Performance Group, The Gates Preserve, The Westside Justice Center, UMedics, Allied Media Projects, The DuSable Heritage Association, Raymond Whittaker Design & Joy Strategies.
Oral History|Dramaturgy|Multimedia Storytelling|Developmental Editing & Consulting|Community Arts Convening & Curation|Political Strategy|Advocacy