Chokwe Lumumba, the recently-elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi and former lawyer of incarcerated Reggae/Dancehall superstar, Buju Banton has died at the age of 66.
Lumumba reportedly died of heart failure at St. Dominic’s Hospital after complaining of chest pains on Tuesday. However, no official cause of death has been released.
Known as a civil rights activist and a black radical, Lumumba was regarded as one of the most prominent leaders of a major city to come from the black revolutionary movement.
He also served as an accomplished lawyer for several decades, representing late, great rapper, Tupac Shakur, as well as his step-aunt, Assata Shakur, once a member of the Black Panther Party.
In August 2012, 14 months after receiving his 10-year sentence on drug charges, Buju Banton hired Lumumba as his new lawyer in an effort to continue his fight for freedom.
Lumumba was instrumental in bringing forward a case of alleged juror misconduct in the deejay’s February 2011 trial, in which juror Terri Wright was found to have researched aspect of his case during the trial. However, she was not charged with contempt as a result of the misconduct.
Lumumba also helped Buju avoid an additional five-year sentence on a gun charge originally thrown out during the trial. However, Lumumba left his role as Buju’s lawyer last July after being elected the mayor of Jackson.
Lamumba’s chief of staff choked up as she announced the news.
“It is with heavy heart that we inform you that our beloved brother, human rights activist and mayor of the great city passed away this afternoon,” Safiya Omari said at a news conference Tuesday evening.
“We ask that you pray for his children and family, his friends and for this great city of ours.”
The cause of death of former lawyer for incarcerated deejay Buju Banton is still unknown. Chokwe Lumumba, who helped Buju Banton appeal his drug-trafficking sentence back in 2012, advised the deejay to seek the advice of other legal counsel just before being appointed mayor of Jackson.
According to the New York Times, the official cause of death is still unknown, but says Lumumba had a cold a day before his death.
Olimatta Taal, one of his mentees, told media reporters that Lumumba’s life and work was one of her greatest influences and he will be missed by numerous persons across the globe.
“I have known him since I was 13 years old, he was Buju’s lawyer, he was Tupac’s lawyer and he was always fighting for the rights of black people at any cost, as long as it was within his professional jurisdiction,” she said.