Tarika Lewis was the first Sister to join the BPP for Self Defense back in 1967. Known at that time as Matilaba, joining as a student @ Oakland Tech. She helped bring many students from Tech into the party and helped Tech to establish the first BSU in the city. Tarika has always been a mufti talented person her roots run deep in Oakland. Her father a former Black Businessmen and Gym owner was a middleweight champ back in the day.
Tarika was the role model for many Sisters who would join the BPP in the early days, one her many skills was drawing, she worked side by side with Brother Emory Douglas, many of hers images can be found in early issues of the BPP newspaper under Matilaba. She also helped reestablished the Black Panther newspaper in the early 1990's
Fast Forward to 1995 and Present:
Tarika a Beautiful Sister, sweet person and I'm glad to call her my friend. Always pushing forward the legacy of the BPP. When I moved back to Sacramento in 1995 a small group of Panthers in Sacramento started meeting to form a group later called It's About Time. Tarika was a part of that group she would travel from Oakland to attend the meetings. Later on that same year we both worked on the movie"Panther" by Marlo Van Pepples,Tarika as herself in a few scenes and was the overall artist for the movie.
Tarika is also a talented violin player and has traveled the world playing in the Legendary John Handy's Band. Tarika was a close friend to Bobby Hutton, she was one of the person's whom suggested to me to start the Lil Bobby Hutton Day back in 1998. Over the years she has helped with many projects by It's About Time and other Panther formations. She is an asset to Legacy to the BPP.
Last week Tarika and I found ourselves @ the memorial services for Comrade Richard Aoki, she played a very beautiful song for Richard by McCoy Tyner.
I just wanted to take time to salute a friend and Revolutionary