Kabir - Playlist & Stories
This playlist tribute to Kabir Kapur is a compilation of songs submitted by Kabir’s fellow RPA music lovers. Listen on Spotify, or as individual YouTube links.
Below are anecdotes and stories submitted by RPA members and allies.
Peace Train by artists from around the world featuring Yusuf / Cat Stevens. Submitted by Emily Ross. “Kabir and I shared a love for Cat Stevens, and he would sometimes send me renditions I may not have heard, such as this one.” Note: Spotify playlist includes alternate version (original).
Mississippi Goddamn by Nina Simone. Submitted by Jamin Pursell. “Kabir and I really enjoyed listening to classic protest music and Nina Simone was able to really articulate the frustration of Americans who are tired of the racism. Also, it’s the frustration with the constant regressivism that we have in America.”
Fuk Da Police by NWA. Submitted by Jamin Pursell. “Kabir had too often seen the brutality brought upon people voicing their opposition to exploitation and violence with brutality by police. He understood the great frustration within communities that have to prove their humanity to those in power in order to be treated fairly.”
Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine. Submitted by Jamin Pursell.
Reagan by Killer Mike. Submitted by Emily Ross. “I’ve long loved this song, but Kabir introduced me to the music video and we watched it together.”
The Show Goes On by Lupe Fiasco. Submitted by Jovanka Beckles.
Because I Got High (the Positive Remix) by Afroman. Submitted by Jovanka Beckles.
Chain of Fools sung by Aretha Franklin, written by Don Covay. Submitted by BK Williams. “In August 2018 after Aretha Franklin had passed, I walked into the RPA office. Music was loud and ‘Chain of Fools’ was playing. I thought it was an online tribute to Ms. Franklin. It was Kabir, playing her tunes.”
I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles. Submitted by Emily Ross.
Old Man by Neil Young. Submitted by Tarnel Abbott. “Kabir played an album over and over again when he was here, ‘Harvest Moon’ by Neil Young, I imagined the song "Old Man Take a Look at Yourself" was his favorite, but that's a guess. I sang it to him in the hospital.” Note: Spotify playlist includes alternate version (cover, since Neil Young isn’t on Spotify)
Let it Be by The Beatles. Submitted by Jamin Pursell.
Bring Me Home by Sade. Submitted by BK Williams. “Kabir and I were excited to hear the rumor that Sade was reportedly going to record new music. "The ground is full of broken stones. The last leaf has fallen. I have nowhere to turn now…"
From BK Williams:
A couple of memories to share.
I was on my way to New York while chatting with Kabir. He advised me that Sade was reportedly recording new music. We had previously talked about music we both liked and about artists to see in person. This was exciting news! When we were done with our conversation he sent me this message. Loved this!!
I told Kabir I wanted him to get back on the Steering Committee (SC). I was literally discussing most issues with him so I thought why not? He responded it's not in the bylaws to just put him on the SC. That was the end of that conversation. He always had receipts!
Kabir would text me and say, I have juicy news. Not gossip, news. Then I'd wait patiently and often four or five days later, he'd text back with the news. By the time Kabir got around to the news, I never would have heard it from other sources. As a resource, Kabir was reliable, funny, suspenseful, and alway wanted to know first what I knew about a particular occurrence.
From Sophie Van Ronselé:
Kabir was one of the smartest and most honest, and curious comrade and friend I met. His knowledge and thirst for more always amazed me. He fearlessly devoted most of his life to justice and politics. I relied on him for each election to figure out who I should vote for. He was always on the right side of history and will always be! Carry on with the fight, my friend. I love you.
Sophie Van Ronselé, Chair of the Organizational Development Action Team for the RPA.
From Alyssa Kang:
June 17, 2017 RPA membership meeting. This was the first meeting Kabir led as the chair of the Membership Committee. I remember he did such a great job. Here’s what Kabir wrote on Facebook:
“I'd really like to thank everyone who showed up at the Richmond Progressive Alliance General Membership Meeting on a beautiful Bay Area afternoon, when there a lot of other amazing events going on. Today's meeting was my first leading it as the RPA Membership Chair, and honestly I was nervous expecting a low turnout, so I'm extremely grateful for those of you who took the time to be engaged in your local community, and for those who helped organize it and presented today. And if you'd like to become a member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance please get in contact with me!”
March 31, 2018 membership meeting. Kabir in his usual spot at the old RPA office.
Also from the March, 2018 RPA membership meeting. This is Kabir’s profile picture on Facebook. Just realized he did a wardrobe change before presenting to the group.
July 13, 2018 Sandra Bland vigil and criminal justice reform rally in Oakland. Not the most clear photo but you can see Kabir on the right.
May 27, 2017 Kabir at a house party for Jovanka Beckles for AD 15.
May 21, 2022 Willie Mays Day Celebration at Nicholl Park in Richmond.
May 21, 2022 Willie Mays Day Celebration at Nicholl Park in Richmond.
From Elvira Figueroa:
I went to high school with Kabir and was lucky enough to call him a friend. He was a unique soul who stood by his beliefs and morals. We could all learn something from him.
He supported the USW Local 5 along with Claudia, Eduardo and other political leaders when we were on strike. Kabir left an unforgettable impression on every person he talked to.
Thank you for such a beautiful artistic tribute to Kabir.
Elvira Figueroa, USW Health & Safety Rep
From Emily Ross:
Kabir and I moved together five times over the course of about a year.
When I had to move suddenly and didn’t know who to ask for help, Kabir stepped up without hesitation. In addition to the heavy lifting and moral support, he had an excellent sense of space for packing the truck. When we finished I took Kabir to his family home in El Sobrante because his little brother had a game.
I also helped him move a few times. The last time was chaotic: he was only taking enough items for basic living, and the rest was going to various storage locations. One of his clearest priorities to keep close was a nice button-up shirt for him to wear to an upcoming celebration of Mike Parker’s life.
This photo was taken the afternoon of June 17, 2021 when Kabir, Shiva, and I helped Mike and Johanna Parker rearrange some furniture. It is one of only a couple I ever took of Kabir. He made me take this one, to prove some point to Shiva (which I now forget, note him pointing to the evidence though). It not only captures his generosity in helping people move, but also his relentlessly persuasive spirit.
I have heard Kabir getting a lot of recognition for his friends in high places (elected officials). However, I think it is equally compelling that he also valued connections with those of us less classically alluring. He was both willing to lend a helping hand and to ask for help.
To Kabir’s family, I knew a little bit about you through our conversations. His love for you was palpable.
From Shiva Mishek:
Kabir and I had a complicated relationship, as he did with many people. We were very close, and yet we ended up hurting each other in fundamental ways. My hope was always that we would get a chance to repair our relationship. I'm not a spiritual person, but I find myself often thinking that Kabir's soul now knows all the things I wished I got a chance to say to him.
Kabir and I texted each other good morning almost every day for months. One morning, during the 2021 Israel-Palestine crisis, during which 256 Palestinians (including 66 children) were killed by Israelis forces, I texted him hello. He let me know he had spent the morning crying because of the violence happening in Gaza. I had been crying too.
Kabir had a true eye toward international solidarity with our world's most oppressed peoples. Being Middle Eastern in the United States can be an incredibly lonely experience, and our friendship was a comfort to me in this way.
I'll end by saying that Kabir and I argued about politics in a way we both described as markedly "un-American": loud yelling, too much passion and, most importantly, no hard feelings. I'm grateful for those experiences.