John Watusi Branch

2004 EP. NO. 3
JOHN WATUSI BRANCH is Executive Director of the THE AFRIKAN POETRY THEATRE (APT), a 28 year old cultural and educational center. Branch is also a poet and author, a cultural consultant and a resource person on the African American celebration of Kwanzaa.

Beginning as a performing ensemble of poets, musicians and singers, founded in 1976, APT offers programs and events that combine an understanding of contemporary urban lifestyles with African, African American and Afro-Caribbean cultural heritage and identity. This established cultural center located in the heart of Jamaica, Queens, an African-American community, which has supported and empowered many people and causes throughout the years.

Besides providing poetry, theatre and art gallery workshops, APT presents a roster of wide-ranging cultural activities for of interest to its largely African-American constituents, including lectures, writing workshops in addition to programs for children and their families. Over the years, APT has provided musical performances encompass jazz, blues, reggae, ska and other Caribbean, South American and African forms. They also have film screenings, the production of original plays and create and promote tours to Africa. In recent years, APT has expanded its activities for children, including summer youth employment initiative, which places student interns with local businesses.

The organization features its programs in its multi-service space that becomes a concert and lecture hall, a theater for open poetry readings, short plays, movies, and a workshop space for studies in African culture. The facility also houses a library and gallery on the second floor.

Watusi is also founder of Watusi Enterprise, Unlimited, an import/export, travel, publishing and investment company. He is the author of a 1977 illustrated poetry book, A Story of Kwanzaa.

Last updated 2009.

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