Poet and actor Craig “muMs the Schemer” Grant reportedly died yesterday, March 24. He was 52 years old. Grant played Arnold “Poet” Jackson on HBO’s popular drama series, Oz for all six seasons. He is also featured in the Netflix film, Marvel’s Luke Cage, Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It series and the 1998 documentary, SlamNation.
Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, Grant was a beloved figure in the New York City creative and spoken word scene for decades. Friends and fans have been posting tributes to him on social media since the news of his passing surfaced this morning (March 25).
Actress, activist and poet Liza Jessie Peterson BET.com was friends with Grant and spoke to BET.com about his legacy in the creative arts community.
“I knew muMs (I never called him Craig) from the Nuyorican Poets cafe, he was part of a poetry group called Vibe Chameleons and his mc-poet name was muMs da Schemer. We spared on the mic together, argued, pontificated about art culture and politics, drank whiskey smoked blunts, fussed and cussed and then laughed loud,” noted Peterson.
“He was the FIRST one out of the crew to break into "Hollywood" and hit it out the park with OZ. He was a master poet-MC and his infamous poem "Confident cockroach" is legendary. He brought theatrical delivery and dramatic performance to the mic. He embodied the roach. He bridged hip-hop, poetry and theater. He was our Slick Rick. He was Bruce Lee with it.”
Other friends and fans have taken to social media to leave their notes of shock and condolence.
A representative for Grant told Variety that he died of natural causes. Although Peterson is not able to verify, she says that through their circle of friends, she has heard Grant died on the set of his latest film.
“How poetic for muMs to take his final curtain call on set, doing what he loved. What a dramatic thespian exit!”