A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."
U.S. Army soldiers with Battery C, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force Strike, execute a fire mission in northern Iraq on Aug. 14 2016. White Phosphorus smoke rounds are pictured in the right-hand corner. (1st Lt. Daniel Johnson/U.S. Army)
U.S. forces are using white phosphorus munitions in their fight against the Islamic State based on pictures and videos posted online by the Pentagon, but it is unclear exactly how the controversial armament is being employed.
White phosphorus shells are intended to make smoke screens or signals for advancing troops. When launched against soldiers and civilians, however, the munition can cause severe burn wounds that can be dangerous for medical personnel treating the injured.
International humanitarian law stipulates that white phosphorus munitions should only be used in areas devoid of civilians. Even using it against enemy combatants has raised concerns, given that the munitions can cause horrific injuries.
Photos posted on a Pentagon-managed public affairs website show a U.S. Army artillery unit in Iraq using white phosphorous munitions, specifically M825A1 155mm rounds. The M825A1 shell can create a smokescreen that lasts about 10 minutes and contains 116 felt wedges impregnated with white phosphorus that jettison and automatically ignite when they come in contact with the air.
Col. Joseph Scrocca, the public affairs director for the U.S.-led coalition, said Wednesday that the rounds are used for “screening and signaling.”
“Coalition forces use these rounds with caution and always in accordance with the Law of Armed Conflict. When M825A1 rounds are employed, they are done so in areas free of civilians and never against enemy forces,” Scrocca said in an email.
On Thursday, Air Force Col. John Dorrian, the spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, revised Scrocca’s statement.
“In the foreground of the photo are 155mm white phosphorous rounds, which are used for screening, obscuring, and marking. When U.S. forces use these munitions, as required by the Law of Armed Conflict, they do so in a way that fully considers possible incidental effects on civilians and civilian structures,” Dorrian said in an email. “The U.S. military takes all reasonable precautions to minimize the risk of incidental injury to non-combatants and damage to civilian structures.”
When asked on the phone whether U.S. forces had used white phosphorus munitions for anything other than screening, obscuring or marking, Dorrian said the munitions had been “used generally for the circumstances which I described.”
He could not say how many times it had been used or whether it had been dropped on enemy combatants or their equipment.
Dorrian also said the image posted online was taken when U.S. forces were supporting a Kurdish peshmerga assault with artillery strikes. The 48-hour operation, called Evergreen II, involved 2,000 Kurdish fighters as they fought to secure the Gwer River bridge in the northern Iraqi town of Gwer. Dorrian said the white phosphorus smoke rounds were used to obscure Kurdish forces moving on enemy positions on the opposite bank of the Great Zab River.
The town of Gwer. In the top left is the Gwer River bridge in January 2016. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff/The Washington Post)
Dorrian was unable to say whether the rounds had been dropped away from the town, on Islamic State positions, and if they had been used in the town, whether civilians were present.
Military, defense and security at home and abroad.
The United States has used white phosphorus in Iraq before, notably in the 2004 battle for Fallujah, when Marine artillery batteries were scrutinized for firing the munitions on entrenched insurgents. In Afghanistan, white phosphorus was used by U.S. troops, primarily in the country’s restive east. In 2009, NATO forces there were accusedof burning an 8-year-old girl with the munitions.
Mark Hiznay, the associate arms director for Human Rights Watch, said he was wary of the U.S.-led coalitions use of white phosphorus munitions and was concerned about its possible use in the upcoming campaign to retake the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul.
“When white phosphorus is used in attacks in areas containing concentrations of civilians and civilian objects, it will indiscriminately start fires over a wide area,” Hiznay said. “U.S. and Iraqi forces should refrain from using white phosphorus in urban areas like Mosul because whatever tactical military advantage is gained at the time of use, it will be far outweighed by the stigma created by horrific burns to civilian victims.”
sunrise over damascus saul fell on damascus road became paul persecutor to liberator paul's christology mythologized slavery servants be obedient to your masters official sermon of black slave preachers mlk's mentor howard thurman mama told him boy read me the bible stop when you get to paul don 't wanna hear bout obedient servants yes mama howard thurman said mlk plagiarized his mentor in I have a dream sunrise over damascus primordial city rich history down road to Jerusalem house of peace with no peace land of Canaan brother of Egyptians then came Abraham Sarah Hajar Jews Arabs Isaac Ishmael ancient times no peace no peace now land of prophets Jeremiah Isaiah told us wickedness where are the prophets of now so needed at the gates of Jerusalem Damascus Lebanon Egypt Iraq Persia armies near Jerusalem to destroy what what is not destroyed already the people are dead souls in the dead sea cedars of lebanon burn sweet incense of death frankincense myrrh burn in the holy temple for naught biblical prophesy end is near who is there to see sunrise over damascus isis israel saudi arabia russia lebanon turkey usa usa iran gulf states egypt turkey kurds where is saladin the kurd who is richard lionhearted who is not neo-crusade persia rises again from Tigris Euphrates to Mediterranean can we stop history fulfill whose mythology jewish christian islam myth is myth my story his/her story sunrise over damascus a million dead how many poison gas dead dead is dead no matter how blood bones is blood bones a million dead bullets bombs poison gas no matter what mind game is this dead are dead no matter how no matter why we cry for syria we cry sunrise over damascus. --Marvin X 4/13/18
Nefertiti Jackmon and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu at the Chicago Equity Summit. Nefertiti was part of the City of Austin, Texas delegation that included Austin Mayor Steve Adler who introduced her to Mayor Landrieu who may run for president of US. Nefertiti heads Six Square, the Austin Black Cultural District.
Call for auditions. If you would like to audition for the role of Marvin X and/or Miss Libby in this short film, please call 510-575-7148. Audition by appointment only. Videographer Adam Turner, music score by David Boykin of Chicago. Script by Marvin X. Directed by Dr. Ayodele Nzinga.
"If President Donald Trump pardons Jack Johnson, the first North American African Heavyweight boxing champion, who, upon winning caused one of the worse race riots in American history; for whom the US government created a law specifically for him, the result of his utter arrogance and transcendence of America's white supremacy social norms, known as the Mann Act, which we call the Black Man Act; if Donald Trump honors Jack Johnson which President Obama declined to do during his neo-colonial/globalist regime, we will give President Trump Brownie Points for transcending his pervasive and problematic White Nationalism as America proceeds toward its last hurrah of white supremacy and the international snake called globalism that is vile and cunning and transcends white supremacy for the highest stage of multi-cultural domination that is beyond racism in all its vicissitudes and interlocking directorates."
Marvin X Parable of July 4, 1910
As Oakland braces for a possible riot in response to the verdict in the Oscar Grant murder trial, let us recall another date in American history that shall live in infamy, July 4, 1910. On this day a century ago, Jack Johnson whupped a white man's ass to become the first black heavyweight champion of the world. What followed his victory was one of the bloodiest days in American history as whites attacked blacks in mob fashion and killed them in vengeance, jealousy, and envy.
Jack Johnson was a big, black, bold, arrogant, uppity North American African who terrified racist whites with his bravado. Unashamedly, he paraded through the streets in his expensive cars full of white women. The USA created a law just for him, the Mann Act or White Slavery, to prevent persons from crossing state lines allegedly for prostitution. Jack left the country but eventually returned to face prison time for his "crimes." There is presently a petition before President Obama to exonerate Jack Johnson posthumously.
More than his athletic prowess, Jack Johnson symbolized the liberation of black manhood, for he let it be known he was indeed free to do what he pleased by any means necessary. In short, he was fearless. We would not see such fearlessness until Black Panther Huey Newton drew his pump shotgun on a pig in San Francisco. In that moment, the black man retrieved his nuts from the sand. But today in Oakland we seem to have retreated and the enemy has advanced. We have a black mayor and police chief, yet blacks are being crucified by the police. It is as though the Black Panthers were never here. Is this due to a collective amnesia, a political anorexia? There is most definitely a paralysis in collective action.
Where were you, July 4, 1776 in the celebration on the plantation where were you, July 4, 1776.... —mx
What is the Declaration of Independence to a slave, or for that matter, to a descendant of slaves in 2010? Indeed, we have made great strides, we have a black President, but he seems to get cut down at every turn, much like Jack Johnson. And in the end, he may be crucified, much like Jack Johnson, or for that matter, Oscar Grant. His generals mock him and Tea Party trailer house trash whites want to lynch him.
Here in Oakland, the consensus was that the judge in the Oscar Grant murder trial would not release the verdict until after the 4th of July weekend for fear of racial disturbances since anger, money, alcohol, and guns might be a potent mix in the hood during the holiday weekend. In fact, the jury did not go into deliberation until late Friday.
Perhaps we need to ponder the meaning of July 4th this weekend, for the coming week may portend ominous events here in Oakland, the very meaning of justice may be ridiculed from the courthouse itself. The judge and jury may very well slam dunk justice in the face of the righteous. Just know for every action there is a corresponding and equal reaction. It may not be immediate, but it is sure to come.
During Black History Month, we typically honor the accomplishments of black Americans from all walks of life. This year, President Trump could use this as an opportunity to right a historical wrong as well.
He should pardon Jack Johnson, the world’s first black heavyweight champion.
Born on March 31, 1878, in Galveston, Texas, the once-frail child would become a boxing legend. He earned the Texas State Middleweight title in his first pro fight, and held the World Colored Heavyweight Championship from 1903-1908.
That latter title was vacated when Johnson won the biggest prize of them all — the World Heavyweight Championship — over Tommy Burns on Dec. 26, 1908. He brutalized the champion for 14 rounds until police stopped the fight.
Boxing promoters searched for a “Great White Hope” to beat Johnson. The list included former world heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries and former world middleweight champion Stanley Ketchel. (He also had a 10-round draw against Jim Johnson in the first world heavyweight title fight between two black boxers.)
Jess Willard finally ended Johnson’s reign on April 5, 1915, in Havana, Cuba, with a knockout in the 26th round. Johnson initially claimed he threw this fight, aided by an infamous photo of him seemingly shading his eyes on the mat after being knocked down.
Yet there was another reason Johnson’s original story seemed plausible. And it had nothing to do with boxing.
Most of Johnson’s relationships were with white women. While this fact seems rather trivial today, it was a huge taboo at the time. Moreover, these relationships were often in the public eye, and many white Americans thought he was flaunting his white conquests the way he flaunted his wealth.
Novelist Jack London, according to NPR, wrote to a retired white boxing champ, urging him to come back and “remove that golden smile from Jack Johnson’s face . . . it’s up to you. The White Man must be rescued.”
In October 1912, Johnson was arrested for his relationship with Lucie Cameron, an alleged prostitute who later became his wife. He was arrested on the same charge involving another alleged prostitute, Belle Schreiber, about a month later.
These two unions had supposedly broken the Mann Act, a federal law that made it a felony to “knowingly transport or cause to be transported, or aid or assist in obtaining transportation for, or in transporting, in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or in the District of Columbia, any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery.”
Though both relationships had occurred before the Mann Act was enacted in 1910, an all-white jury still found him guilty in June 1913. Johnson was sentenced to a year and a day in prison. He skipped bail with Cameron, went to Montreal, and traveled to Europe, South America and Mexico for several years.
So when he lost to Willard in 1915, some people felt it was a discreet way of dropping the title in the hopes of avoiding jail time. As film coverage became widely available, however, he was forced to acknowledge that he didn’t throw the fight after all, saying, “Willard was too much for me, I just didn’t have it.”
Johnson finally returned to the US in July 1920 and surrendered to authorities. After serving out his sentence, he boxed for a few more years and died in a car crash on June 10, 1946. His criminal record still hasn’t been cleared.
Supporters mounted campaigns during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations to get Johnson a presidential pardon. But even with the support of Sen. John McCain, filmmaker Ken Burns, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and others, they failed.
Now, Johnson’s great-great-niece, Linda E. Haywood, is trying to clear his name — and she’s hoping Trump will be the one to do it.
Indeed, he should. It’s the right thing to do — and it would take an important step toward healing America’s racial divide.
Trump should grant Johnson a presidential pardon. There’s no better time to do it than during Black History Month.
Michael Taube, a columnist and political commentator, was a speechwriter for former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Support the reelection of Black Arts Movement baby, Mayor Ras Baraka, Newark NJ North American Africans should be proud of this young man I have known since he was a child. I watched him organize in the basement of his parent's house. I know the good inside his soul and his undying love for his people. Let the people know we support their desire for Ras Baraka to continue as Mayor!--Marvin X
Police: from Problem to Solution--The Newark, New Jersey Model
by Marvin X
Newark, NJ Mayor Ras Baraka and Marvin X
When I was in Newark, New Jersey for the last rites of my friend and comrade, poet/activist Amiri Baraka, his son Ras then a city councilman but was running for mayor. He told me then, "Marvin
we got Black brothers on the police force with legal guns who back us, i.e., the community." And I observed positive police/community relations. It is a different feeling when you know the police are
on your side. As a matter of fact, during the time of the funeral the police were in and out of the Baraka's house socializing with and protecting Newark's "first family". Police blocked off the block where the Baraka family lives in the hood.
I was informed some of the officers had grown up with
the Baraka children or their parents had been part of the Newark black consciousness, cultural and political movement that was critical in
the election of Newark's first Black mayor, Kenneth Gibson. In short, the police were an integral
part of the community, as opposed to an occupying army.
Now let's be clear, Ras informed me there were police who supported the opposition, but he felt confident with the percentage of officers on his (the peoples) side. Ironically, I was at the Baraka
house once on AB's birthday (October 7) when the opposition sent officers with warrants to arrest
his sons for failure to pay child support. This was done by his political enemies to rattle his cage
on his birthday. They do play hard ball in Newark and the opposition is serious. There are former Newark mayors who went down in disgrace for their negrocities (AB term, not mine, he wanted
me to let you know) but have sons they want to be mayor.
Amiri Baraka and Marvin X, friends 47 years
Of course Ras won the election as mayor, guided by his brother Amiri, Jr.'s (Middy) strategic
planning. Their mother, Mrs. Amina Baraka, has kept me informed of her son's progress as
mayor. Even the New York Times gave him brownie points for his first 100 days in office.
Baraka informed me there have been no police killings since Ras became Mayor, although
brothers killing brothers has not stopped. Mayor Baraka has police walking through the hood,
Black and White officers, smiling and greeting the people. Mrs. Baraka said she doesn't know, and many people don't know, what to think of the white officers smiling so much.
lelt to right Dr, Molefe Asante, Mrs. Amina Baraka, Marvin X, Amiri Baraka, Jr., Kenny Gamble
But clearly, community policing is working, thus Newark can be and should be a model for cities
trying to upgrade their police departments from acting like brute beasts in blue uniforms. Why
should police take the life of the mostly poor, mentally ill and drug addicted? Why would you kill
a man hustling single cigarettes, DVDs and CDs? Why would you kill a man for a broken tail light
or failure to signal a lane change.? Why should a man suffer a broken spine from a ride in the
Surely after all the hell the Black Panther Party suffered trying to combat police terror and brutality
fifty years ago( and we celebrate their 50th anniversary for the sacrifice they made), we must try something new, unless we want to continue bumping our heads against a stone wall.
have the power to defeat them because they have too much back up, e.g., the army,
navy, air force, national guard, FBI, Homeland Security, etc. At some point we will need a
reconciliation or things will go from bad to worse as happened in Dallas, Texas. The nature of the panther is to strike when it is backed up against the wall or corner.
After seeing with my own eyes
that there can be at least a symbiotic relationship between the people and the police, I've
concluded that we need to get brothers and sisters on the police force, especially in cities where
we are in the majority, and the white officers must be socialized to understand they work for the
people, the people don't work for them. The people pay their salaries but not to be brutalized and
killed under the color of law. We agree with Chief Brown in Dallas who called for people to be the solution rather than the problem, to become police officers. All they need is community consciousness, similar to the police who arrested me in Belize, Central America, when I was being deported for entering the country illegally. While I was at the police station awaiting deportation, they
surrounded me and when they had me in the center of a circle, they begged me to teach them
about Black Power, the real reason I was being deported. Wouldn't it be nice if the American police would ask the Black Lives Matter people to teach them about Black Power rather than try to
ridicule the BLM out of existence because just as the police ain't going nowhere, Black
There are those who say we must restore peace to GAZA
Peace in the concentration camp
Peace of genocide
Peace no protest allowed
Submit to starvation
stunted life hell on earth
No protest peace before anything
Before life even
Let the people of GAZA sing silent night
All is peaceful
All is right
Under the shadow of death
Let there be peace
With boots on our necks
Mass murder but peace
At all costs
Hamas Rockets to no avail Iron Dome is our gift from USA Iron Domes is saving our asses
From land, air, sea you attack
Mighty Mouse you are
Iron Dome Mouse
Look at you
Wild wild West beast
No thought of justice
Peace be still.
I am not an Arab, I am not a Jew Abraham is not my father, Palestine is not my home But I would fight any man Who kicked me out of my house To dwell in a tent I would fight To the ends of the earth Someone who said to me I want your house Because my father lived here Two thousand years ago I want your land Because my father lived here Two thousand years ago. Jets would not stop me From returning to my home Uncle Toms would not stop me Cluster bombs would not stop me Bullets I would defy. No man can take the house of another And expect to live in peace There is no peace for thieves There is no peace for those who murder For myths and ancient rituals Wail at the wall Settle in "Judea" and Samaria" But fate awaits you You will never sleep with peace You will never walk without listening. I shall cross the River Jordan With Justice in my hand I shall return to Jerusalem And establish my house of peace, Thus said the Lord. --Marvin X (Imam Maalik El Muhajir) Cerca 1970, Black Scholar Magazine
Marvin X and Mohja Kahf: Two Poems for the People of Syria
Oh, Mohja how much water can run from rivers to sea how much blood can soak the earth the guns of tyrants know no end a people awakened are bigger than bullets there is no sleep in their eyes no more stunted backs and fear of broken limbs even men, women and children are humble with sacrifice the old the young play their roles with smiles they endure torture chambers with laughs they submit to rape and mutilations there is no victory for oppressors whose days are numbered as the clock ticks as the sun rises let the people continue til victory surely they smell it on their hands taste it on lips believe it in their hearts know it in their minds no more backwardness no fear let there be resistance til victory. --Marvin X/El Muhajir
Syrian poet/professor Dr. Mohja Kahf
Oh Marvin, how much blood can soak the earth?
The angels asked, “will you create a species who will shed blood
and overrun the earth with evil?”
And it turns out “rivers of blood” is no metaphor:
see the stones of narrow alleys in Duma
shiny with blood hissing from humans? Dark
and dazzling, it keeps pouring and pumping
from the inexhaustible soft flesh of Syrians,
and neither regime cluster bombs from the air,
nor rebel car bombs on the ground,
ask them their names before they die.
They are mowed down like wheat harvested by machine,
and every stalk has seven ears, and every ear a hundred grains.
They bleed like irrigation canals into the earth.
Even one little girl in Idlib with a carotid artery cut
becomes a river of blood. Who knew she could be a river
running all the way over the ocean, to you,
draining me of my heart? And God said to the angels,
On Tuesday, May 1, 2018, 11:17:33 PM PDT, Marvin X Jackmon firstname.lastname@example.org [blackantiwar] wrote:
Rev. James Cone represented the highest level of Black revolutionary Christian consciousness in his interpretation of the Christian myth-ritual, but most importantly he put Black Christianity in a Black African context, i.e., Jesus is Black, end of discussion.
Rev. Cone advanced the theology of liberation of the oppressed, not a celebration of the oppressor who could not in his role as master transcend Paul’s dictum that servants be obedient to your masters. Another of our Master Theologians, Howard Thurman, noted his grandmother made him read to her when he returned from school, "Read the Bible, boy, but stop when you get to Paul. I don't wanna hear nothing bout servants be obedient to your masters."
We were included in the US Constitution as three-fifths of a man, not a full human being and in 2018 we are yet to achieve parity and equity with this socalled master. His woman has superseded us as a minority, yet even in her minority status her labor is not equal to his in dollar amounts.
Dr. Nathan Hare says the white woman is the white man in drag since she is a stopgap measure to keep the North American African man from usurping the master’s power. Dr Frantz Fanon said the only reason for the season of the oppressed revolutionary man is to replace the master in every way, political, military, sexual, cultural, etc.
But this cunning and vile devil returned to the US Constitution,13th Amendment,that allows involuntary servitude or slavery! Oh, Happy Day, Jesus! Let's work our Constitution and lock these niggas down as commodity on the Stock Exchange, pigs, corn, wheat, oil. Two point three million locked down, once again chattel or personal property of the State and Nation, victims crack, victims heroin, prison for mental health/drug addicts, dual diagnosed, 80/90% incarcerated, black, brown, poor white.
The happiest day in white America when the South enacted the US Constitution to re-enslave the North American African, alas, the South has never quenched their desire to re-enslave the African. Why in the hell do you think we fought the Civil War. We would've won the Civil War if Lincoln hadn't armed 200,000 niggas. When we disarmed them 200,000 niggas, we put them back in slavery in every way we could. Terrorized they asses with KKK, cept we left them niggas alone had they own land, didn't go on they land, but them sharecroppers we terrorized them, raped and lynched they asses. Them niggas on they own land we didn't fuck with, them niggas would shoot back!
Revolution is the act of replacing the ruling class with the oppressed class, no matter the wretched condition of the oppressed Fanon called The Wretched of the Earth. As per the plethora of physical and mental traumas of the oppressed, once they engage in the activity and forward motion of revolution, at this moment they begin to heal from the addiction to white supremacy, type II, Dr. Nathan Hare, and they go about regaining family mental equilibrium.
When the oppressed man truly awakens from the sleepy time tea slumber of his comatose mental condition, i.e., menticide, he is energized for the fight of his life that is not with his natural enemy the White Man but initially he must overcome, survive and transcend the hatred, jealousy and envy of his brothers and sisters, siblings, partners, wives, brothers, friends, especially those closest to him.
Guard against being deceived. Your own mind can deceive you; in your psychosis you are convinced there are people outside your door plotting to kill you, you can hear them. In your psychosis you hear your woman coming to snatch you back to reality, but that is not she you hear knocking. No one is knocking except the devil inside your head.
So called friends who claimed they would be friends to the end, in the end betrayed you. Was not the Savior god betrayed by his brother Seth? Cain and Able? As per family love, check out Godfather Part 2, your family will whack you on a boat ride.
The slave master gave us a false narrative of the Resurrection Drama. In the Kemetic or African Egyptian version based on Nile Valley religion and global versions of The Sixteen Crucified Saviors Before Christ, Kersey, we learn the Savior and his people were in harmony with the Nile Valley culture and civilization. The Nile or Hapi River is four thousand miles long, the longest river in the world. It's true name is Hapi not De Nile. One of my students said, "If we come out of De Nile and get to Hapi we shall then truly be Hapi."
The Resurrection Drama does not end with the Cross and Lynching Tree. We must fulfill the myth-ritual Kemetic version. Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension. John Coltrane said A Love Supreme. Love Supreme. Love Supreme.
Ascension: we transcend this wretched physical plane in the manner of Jesus, "I am in this world but not of this world." This world is an illusion for the deaf, dumb and blind that are to be exploited by the blood suckers of the poor.
As Sheikh Anta Diop taught us, African drama is tragi-comic, never tragedy as in the Northern Cradle tradition. The annual ebb and flow of the Hapi River that replenished crops was the foundation of the Osiris Resurrection Drama, repeated in the life of Jesus or Isa Ibn Mar'yam.
His Holiness Guruedy Bawa Muhaiyadin said, "Do not be fooled by the one billion one millions of the monkey mind. Man god/god man. Man is in god, god is in man We are indivisable, inseparable from the Divinity, we are One, there is no Me apart from Thee, Supreme, Divine Spirit in all things, see the sun, moon, stars, see mountains, streams, rivers, oceans. All is God/Allah, God/Allah is all, every step you take He is with you, inside you, your breath the air in lungs, the energy to think, love, contemplate the wonders of life. God/Allah, God in you/you in God.
We are the poor righteous teachers. Abdullah, servant of Allah. We all serve Allah/God. Did not Job serve God while he persecuted Job, yes, Job, the Negro/African/American who wants only a job. Was he not brought over here 400 years ago to do a job, i.e., build America!
This is not the slave master's interpretation of the Kemetic Savior God and his primordial, prototypical, archetypal Resurrection Drama, known in the West as the drama of Sarapis, (orchestrated 332 A.D, Nicea Conference) that blue-eyed, blond haired hippy nailed to the cross in the pervasive Western white supremacy mythology. What white man was ever nailed to the cross and suffered the lynching tree, none but the Black African, especially the North American Africans and the entirety of African victims of the Euro-American slave system throughout the Americas, i.e., North, Central, South American Africans and our Caribbean brothers and sisters.
What must be acknowledged is that the Europeans enjoyed annual myth-ritual ceremonies in which it was a festive and communal occasion to burn people for joy and happiness. This was their tradition that preceded racism in any form. The burning and lynching was one of their critical rituals and had nothing to do with racism, alas, their own kind were the victims!
It just so happened that the burning and lynching of Africans in the Americas took on racial aspects in which the intersection of racism and European myth-ritual synchronized, morphing into the picnic, i.e., pick a nigga and roast him, lynch him that became a family and communal affair in which the entire community participated, promoted and enjoyed.
The Southern media has acknowledged their role in promoting the lynching of North American Africans.. As per media, it was largely on the shoulders of journalist Ida B. Wells to make plain the horrors of the Cross and Lynching Tree. Yes, the white supremacy media was as guilty as any KKK organizations in the proliferation of North American African victims of the Cross and Lynching Tree.
We give thanks to Rev. James Cone for making it plain, especially for Christians, too often duped by White Serapis Christianity, Born Again Christianity, that allows white people to be saved by grace and thus enabled to continue in their addiction to white supremacy, including a pervasive and problematic hatred, jealousy and envy of North American African Christians. For example, no black preacher is acceptable in the white Christian Born Again circuit if he has not graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary or a reasonable facsimile.
Rev. Cone originates from the Black Abolitionist tradition, shall we begin with David Walker's Appeal, 1829, the Christian slave revolts of Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser, Denmark Vesey; the Underground Railroad of Harriet Tubman, the freedom travails Sojourner Truth, et al.? Shall we conclude with such spiritual and political leaders as Noble Drew Ali, Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., et al.?
Rev. Cone must be seen as an integral part of liberation theology from throughout the Americas, a critical member of the priesthood, whether Vudun, Santeria, Candomble, Catholic Church, Rasta, et al. All were about the abolition of oppression and North American African Christianity was critical, despite the reactionary priests/preachers who denounced him as they denounced Martin Luther King, Jr. as a hoodlum and thug at the National Black Baptist Convention.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail is sufficient answer to white and black ministers but most especially phony white liberals. Alas, on this May Day, 2018, when I informed a student at my Academy of Da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland, across the street from the May Day Rally at Oscar Grant Plaza, when I told him the history of May Day as an international day to celebrate workers that the USA morphed into Labor Day, he said the Communists, Socialists are KKK too, in his ghetto Negro thinking mind. After all, the common Negro doesn't know the difference between Communism and Rheumatism!
On the other hand, during the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, many North American Africans chose Communism as an alternative to oppressive American capitalism. We note W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Richard Wright, and later Amiri Baraka, Angela Davis, and Democratic Socialists such as Dr. Cornel West and a host of revolutionary black nationalists who subscribe to Marxism, including Muslims who have the unique ability to syncretize Marxism and Islam associated with Marxism. We have no problem with the Marxism analysis of society, although we may employ an Islamic analysis. FYI, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has revealed how the West encouraged fundamental Islam to be a counterweight to Communism. But, alas, we Africans have the unique ability of syncretism in all our endeavors. This is why a Haitian can attend a Catholic mass followed by participation in a Vudun ceremony without feelings of contradiction. And a Muslim, such as myself, associated with Communists from Eldridge Cleaver to Amiri Baraka, yet maintained my mental equilibrium.
The Haitian revolution used Vudun to become the first Africans in the Euro-American slave system to achieve national independence, although Palmeras in Brazil enjoyed freedom for a century!
Rev. James Cone advanced Christian liberation for North American Africans, Many have never heard of him, just as they have never heard of our beloved theologian and mentor of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Most Honorable Howard Thurman. We pray North American Africans in the Christian tradition with seek out the radical, abolitionist Rev. James Cone advanced that will take us beyond the cross and lynching tree, but firstly will help us understand the myth-ritual we cannot escape no matter how sincere we are in our return to traditional African. The Christian myth-ritual, combined with our traditional faiths in ancestor gods and the ancient dance drama expressions, often expressed in Holy Ghost Church rituals of dance and talking in tongues, call and response and other aspects of ancient myth-ritual celebrations but most beautifully expressed in Yoruba celebrations, when combined with North American African Christian myth-ritual and Islamic myth-ritual as well, will empower us in the same manner Vudun enabled the Democratic Society of devotees to rise above individuality and come together in the highest level of spiritual unity that leads to the Promised Land MLK, Jr. spoke about in his final message on the Mountain Top.
Rev. James Cone, thank you for advancing Black Liberation Theology. Let us ponder your message and consider the truth therein that we may act upon your truth and sacrifice grounded in our ancestors.
Further Information contact Bryant Bolling (510) 393-4010
The Musical Tribute and Benefit for the Hares is Sunday, May 6, 2018
from 2pm to 5pm. Please help get the word out. Email your network. Lets work towards having a full house for this musical event. Admission free but donations accepted at the door. No one turned away for lack of funds. Spread the word!
Oh, Ancestors Speak to Me Digame Digame Digame por favor speak to me my legs cannot move if you do not speak your voice is the spirit in my walk in my soul I cannot move without your direction digame digame por favor you guided me then departed I am here alone in this wilderness shall I be ashamed alone can I walk without trembling you stood so long I thought forever you would hold my hand strengthen my knees you taught me don't get weak stand tall stay solid don't bend solid you told me in prison Allah loves a soldier hates cowards Allah loves warriors hates cowards stay solid don't bend
Oh Batin speak digame Ali Sharif Bey speak Islam Sunni Shia Ahmaddia Sufi Nation of Islam speak polytheism Islam Tell me black stone rejected corner stone we black stone rejected despised socalled Negro tool fool of the world black stone corner stone yes Paradise Jahlove teach they love everything about you but you Lou Rawls say what did you do to be so black and blue crucified on the cross and lynching tree of America, world Ancestor Rev. James Cone we love you liberation theology supreme a love supreme a love supreme Rev. James Cone Jesus socalled Negro crucified daily can't drink coffee Starbucks can't breathe we here for you can't breathe can't talk walk we hear speak ancestors digame por favor digame speak from shanties tent cities speak speak Mexico city dirt floor huts speak Belize flying roaches no black flag let roaches live digame Jamaica digame Trinidad digame Venezuela speak tin roof huts speak poor but happy speak Mexico Speak Belize Honduras speak Afro-Columbia speak Tenderloin San Francisco my home cardboard box home Crack fiend love in cardboard box smoke crack crack ho recite fatiha in Arabic give head cardboard box love homeless love Oh, Tenderloin I claim every alley doorway hindu hilton hotel what alley I do not know what doorway what bus stop BART station line to line tell me of cold winter nights East Bay Terminal There with my brothers Edward Nadar Squirrel Muslims on the bottom Supreme wisdom Muslims on the bottom I got it but didn't get it Supreme Wisdom How can I escapeTenderloin dope fiends of every kind good lovin' ho's she married her ho' at Glide Church put dat ho' on the street same night took me home to smoke crack no man in her house before me lesbian pimp ho' bitch no man in her house before me good pimpin' ass bitch
I live on bottom of the world sea to sea country to country religion to religion politics to politics ideology to ideology no matter Left Right
Digame speak to me I stand on shoulders walk on feet dream dreams you dreamed No original thoughts beyond thoughts of freedom I shall not betray you sacred dreams not lost in madness of globalism we are not PC diaper baby snow flakes suffering micro aggression stand tall we endured FOI officials in Chicago Supreme Captain Raymond Sharieff National Secretary John Ali Captain Elijah Muhamad baddest niggas in the world except when I got home to SF and Guru Alonzo Batin said I was a punk motherfucker to confess to niggas worse than I could ever b Batin said I was a punk bitch ass nigga for confessing to rats snakes vipers cobras Batin gave manhood training Black Arts West/Black House San Francisco teach Batin Criminal Muslim supreme Heroin addict Imam in prison addict/iman big yard true believer can't pimp Batin call him hypocrite Muslim think for self Muslim gangster Muslim true to the game game true to you Batin stand on your shoulders devoured your bean soup wheat bread butter honey Whiting fish all night long science marijuana science marijuana Speak Batin Speak Ali Sheriff Bey Speak Aaron Ali Master Teacher linguistics Speak Brother Edward raised us from dead at San Francisco State University UC Berkeley San Jose State University Speak Brother Edward blessed us with supreme wisdom when we were deaf dumb blind playing bid whist in cafeteria at San Francisco State University. Digame Digame Digame! --Marvin X 5/4/18
Oakland's Musical Tribute to Drs. Nathan and Julia Hare
We give all praise to Musical Director/Singer Bryant Bolling and the singers he gathered for a musical tribute to Drs. Julia and Nathan Hare. Dr. Nathan Hare sent Bolling a list of their favorite songs and Bolling selected from the list a few numbelrs for the singers and pianist Ben Jones. It was a small audience turn out but Marvin X convinced Bolling has hit show that must be performed again with proper promotion. Marvin suggested two venues: the Black Repertory Group Theatre, Berkeley and San Francisco's African American Culture Center, Fulton Street.
Those who missed today's concert missed a beautiful musical tribute to the Black revolutionary couple who spread radical black cultural consciousness coast to coast. Dr. Julia Hare's last hurrah is her speech at Tavis Smiley's Black Forum, see YouTube. Dr. Nathan Hare, with PhDs in Sociology and Clinical Psychology, is considered the Father of Black Studies since he was the first chair of a Black Studies Department on a major university at San Francisco State College/now University. He was the center of the longest student strike in American academic history. Ultimately he was removed as Chair but the strike of Black and Third World students established Black and Ethnic Studies at SFSU. Marvin X has agreed to write the Untold Story of the Black Student Revolution at SFSU.
Today's concert began with The Negro National Anthem performed by Marilyn Reynold. As I stood in honor of our national anthem, I have finally accepted that it is the consensus of the people this song represents our national identity, therefore, in my old age, I accept it. As a 60s revolutionary, I favored Farrakhan's White Man's Heaven is the Black Man's Hell along with Claude McKay's poem If We Must Die, also used by Sir Winston Churchill to rally the British in WWII.
In his deep baritone, Director/singer Bolling continued with My Way and Didn't We. Even though he's never met the Hares, Bolling knew enough to organize this tribute concert with his own money. He took a loss but I was so impressed the high quality of his singers that I will do all I can to help produce it as I said above.
Singer Will Herring performed The Great Pretender, For Your Precious Love and the In Crowd. I was shocked at Will's vocals since I've known him as a trumpet player. I had no idea he was a singer and a good one! When pianist Ben Jones couldn't get the right key, Will continued acapella to the joy of the audience.
During the testimonial time, Will said he became aware of Dr. Nathan Hare as a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, alma mater of Paul Robeson. When Will went into a black history rant, Director Bolling reminded him to stay focused on the Hares. Will said he received copies of Dr. Hare's Black Scholar Magazine while in residence at the Black House student center. Although Will's rant on Black history that included recalling the USA's persecution of the great Paul Robeson, the similarity between Paul Robeson and Dr. Nathan Hare is striking. Both were white listed for their unapologetic Black radicalism. It is suspected Paul Robeson was poisoned by the CIA, especially for his Communist beliefs. As I departed the concert hall at the elegant Alteneim Senior Housing Center, one of the two ladies departing with me asked, "Marvin, do you think 'they' put something is Julia's coffee?" I replied, "One of my students believed after her speech at Tavis Smiley's Black Forum, when she stole the show, they had to put something in her tea." Dr. Nathan Hare, in his letter read to the concert organizers and attendees, noted that a Black Newspaper in England gave her a centerfold spread with the headline Dr. Julia Hare--the Female Malcolm X. She had an acid tongue of truth.
When I addressed the audience, I told them the concert reminded me of the many times I visited the Hares. Julia would find her way to the grand piano to give me a private concert. It is heartbreaking to see her suffering Alzheimer but today's concert took me back to all those tunes she played for me, after all she was a trained classical pianist.
When she and Nathan first met, he notes she was the skinny girl who'd won a music contest at Oklahoma's Langston University. They have enjoyed a marriage of 60 years, while most of our marriages don't last 60 days! In the Nation of Islam, many of the marriages were called 30 day wonders! No more on this subject at this time.
We heard from the elegant Lady Sunrise singing What A Difference A Day Makes and Softly As in the Morning Sunrise, her signature tune.
Accompanied by pianist Ben Jones' version of Afro Blue, poet Zakiyyah read three poems dedicated to the Hares: Father of Black Studies, Lady Malcolm X and Earth Rebirth, soft poems touching our hearts, especially Lady Malcolm X that she undoubtedly was, with a mouth that wouldn't shut up. Dr. Nathan Hare said she never stopped talking, even in her sleep! Why do you think I got a second PhD in Clinical Psychology?"
But in his letter to the Tribute Concert, he told how he was tricked into confining her that is the immediate desire of the mental health workers, but he caught himself and had her released when he realized he could not confine the woman he loved! And after all, confinement is for criminals, not the sick! He told how when he departed from visiting her in confinement and had to slip away, he would hear her calling his name and beating on the door.
Years ago, she was in hospice but came out to live another day, in fact, he wrote, several years, although she is going down slow, doesn't talk any more, or walk, and maybe she knows him and maybe not, but she loves music and the purpose of the concert was to video music for her listening pleasure, so it didn't matter if a large audience showed up today. For sure, I would say the performing artists would easily cost $10,000.00 for today's concert.
Pianist Ben Jones rendered a medley of tunes loved by Julia, including In A Sentimental Mood. I was overwhelmed by Lady Sunrise and the Ensemble version of To Be Young Gifted and Black. --Marvin X 5/6/18
Marvin X, Dr. Julia Hare, Dr. Nathan Hare, Attorney Amira Jackmon
Let us begin with the fact that all children are born genius and their minds configure imaginings beyond our comprehension. I was and still am astounded with the remark from my grandson as we walked to Oakland's Lake Merritt when he was three years old at best: "Grandfather, you can't save the world but I can!" We were departing my Academy of Da Corner at 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland where I teach. Ishmael Reed said I was Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland. But at this same time, some teenagers were talking and my grandson entered their conversation, yes, at three years old. One of the teenagers came over to me and said, "Yo, dude, your grandson all in our conversation like he a teenager! He somethin' else!" When he said he could save the world and I couldn't, it was a relief. I felt I was relieved of the weigh of the world. As a woman friend told me, you got to sometimes take off that X. That X is a burden and sometimes you just need to be you, not the savior of the world.
So I listen to my children and grandchildren. With my children, I don't need to listen because I see them execution their dreams, mine and their ancestors. I do not think they are fully conscious of ancestor dreams and elder dreams, too often youth and children think they invented the wheel.
I suspect my mother knew I was her special child, my siblings told me Mom said I was years later. But she gave me freedom, even when I was totally out of control and she put me out in my junior year in high school. I was all in her business as per her new man, father of her last three children. In the Oedipus syndrome,I wanted to reconcile with my father although this was my delusional thinking, Mother had grown beyond my father who was twenty years her senior when they married and although he taught her many things, he was from the past world and she was of the future. It was doubtful my stepfather understood this, but they did have three children, my half siblings or siblings fuck that half shit, we all came from Mama's womb. Mama's baby daddy's maybe.
But as per my children and grandchildren, I follow Kahlil Gibran, children come through us but they are not us, we are the bow, they are the arrow. So no matter I may want them to continue my dreams, I step back to let them discover their bliss as Joseph Campbell taught us. You shall never be happy until you follow your bliss, i.e., your purpose or mission in life. Your elders and ancestors talk to you but you must listen to the god in your. I have no idea where my grandson was coming from when he told me I couldn't save the world but he could. After all, I had lived my life thinking I could save the world. I hope and pray I live long enough to see him and his generation save the world so very much in need of saving, for sure, there is no doubt in my mind adults cannot save themselves let alone the world in their delusional neo-colonial pursuit of Globalism. --Marvin 5/6/18
Since we are Gemini, May 29, same as JFK, and Trump is Gemini too, June 14, 1946, we have been forced to say we understand a madman who speaks out of his mind most of the time, often not thinking of the consequences of his remarks, especially upon becoming President of the United Snakes of America. In his Gemini multiple personalities, Narcissism and Schizophrenia, we have or share a minimal understanding of his psychosis, mood swings and ever changing statements that astound those with a modicum of sanity. His saving grace is that he has surrounded himself with a plethora of military advisers who have the disciple to keep him from advancing headlong into the precipice of global madness.
As a Black Nationalist, we appreciate his White Nationalism. Although White Nationalism is a mythology dead in the water of geo-political realities, most especially in America with its demographics of non-white peoples, thus Trump is on a suicide path into nothingness and dread.
You can champion White Nationalism til the cows come home, but as per the USA, one would be better to chant La Raza La Raza La Raza. Although I am a Black Nationalist, with clear understanding of the desire of white people to remain white, the reality in America is La Raza La Raza La Raza!
America first? Yes, Elijah Muhammad taught us Self First! Mama and Daddy said charity begins at home and spreads abroad. But what is the American reality rather than fantasy? White folks ain't even fucking while Latinos say they will fuck into power in America and last time I checked they are doing so.
Have you toured California's central valley from Sacramento to Los Angeles or San Diego? Start with the government in Sacramento, check out who's in power, then travel on through the central valley towns like Modesto, Turlock, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Selma, Hanford, Visalia, Reedly, and what will you discover?
You shall discover Latinos or La Raza are the mayor, city council, police, planning commission, board of education, etc. And why shouldn't they, they are the majority, they are the farm workers in the greatest agri-business economy in the world. Blacks were brought from the South to the valley but have retired to the good life as consumers rather than land owners and producers, workers.
But as per Prez Donald Trump and his European brothers, France, Germany, UK, in his white supremacy hubris, he ignores them in favor of the axis of evil: Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf States, sycophants all of an ephemeral globalism.
Trump is thus caught in the quagmire of his white nationalism and the deep state machinations of those who exist beyond economics and political domination, alas, they are so evil there is nothing to adequately describe their agenda of nothingness and dread. They have their underground hovels and outer space stations to retreat after they have destroyed the world for no reason whatsoever other than a masturbation to avoid the joy of sex!
If they truly cared about the proliferation of nuclear weapons would they not demand Israel disarm?
If they truly cared about terrorism, would they not demand Israel stop its State Terrorism and negotiate a peace treaty that culminates in the liberation of the Palestine concentration camps with an independent Palestinian state?
After North American Africans have endured 400 years of white insanity, we are amazed Europeans think they enjoy any moral right to sanity and non-whites are to be disarmed of nuclear weapons while the Europeans are the only ones who have used such weapons, and in doing so avoided bombing Europeans but Asians were fair game. It matters not to us whether Iran or North Korea has nuclear weapons. The only people we are concerned about using such weapons is Europeans, especially European Americans.
Attached, you will find the special issue of Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies which includes my article titled "Black Social Movements Past and Present: A Comparative Analysis of the Black Arts Movement and the Hip Hop Movement." I presented the paper at the 2014 Black Arts Conference at UC Merced. I look forward to your response.
Journal of Pan African Studies - JPAS. Journal based on African world community studies and research.
Reply by Marvin X
Subject: Re: My Paper on the Black Arts Movement and the Hip Hop Movement
I read your section on BAM and see you still have a problem with BAM language although you only mentioned BPP language as per Cleaver. BPP language, BLk Studies language and BAM language are not the same. BAM didn't deal with the church as did the BPP. And we definitely didn't submit to academic censorship, which is partly why I dropped out of SFSU after the Drama Department did Flowers but wanted to tone it down! That was the motivation to start Black Arts West Theatre.
You mention name changes but what did name changes represent as per consciousness and ideology?
You mentioned Kwanzaa originating in LA, but your research should tell you it came out of Oakland's Afro American Association. See Ed Howard. Karenga was LA rep of AAA. Will check out your section on Hip Hop and get back to you. You put a lot of research in your paper so I applaud you.
You, Kim and others want to limit my work to the West coast as though I did not work in Harlem, 1968-69, along with the East Coast BAM family or did not spend time in Chicago with BAM Chicago, 1968. One of my duties as Associate editor of the New Lafayette Theatre's Black Theatre Magazine was distribution to all the black colleges Also, as per the West coast, you did not mention my Black Educational Theatre, 1972, Fillmore, and my work with Sun Ra at BET, especially the Harding Theatre five hour, no intermission, production of Take Care of Business.
On Sun, May 13, 2018 at 4:31 AM, Kim McMillon wrote:
Please know I have no wish to limit anyone's work, scholarship or brilliance. As many times as you have spoken to my classes, uncensored, please know I have no desire to limit your work to any region or area of study with regards to the Black Arts Movement. I consider you an international scholar of the Black Arts Movement. Vern put a great deal of work into a wonderful essay on the Movement. We are all telling our stories, giving our research on a Movement that will one day be written about in history books because of people insisting that our stories, our history and the beauty of our Blackness be told. The Black Arts Movement similar to our very Blackness is without limits. Peace,
From: Marvin X Jackmon To: Kim McMillon Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2018 7:29 AM
Kim, what is the title of the section with my name on it in the journal? What were the negative comments about my use of language at UC Merced BAM Conference? What were the concerns as per language at the BAM South Conf which is one reason I didn't attend. Negroes are conservative simply because we are not free. Age enforces conservatism even with so-called radical blacks, including ancestor AB (I will save my comments about his psycholinguistic crisis for my paper on him). But BAM taught Hip Hop how to say motherfucka then condemned them for saying it which is hypocritical to say the least and is best expressed in the moral hypocrisy of Bill Cosby and other culture police.
Congratulations on your PhD, hapi b day and Mother's Day. Thanks for catching the BAM baton and moving forward. Love you and appreciate you.
On Sun, May 13, 2018 at 7:43 AM, Kim McMillon wrote:
I love and appreciate you also. African Americans continually look back at our ancestors seeking ways to heal ourselves and our history. We compete in academia with people of all races that seek to judge us and our history. Often teaching our history in ways that are painful. So much of what we do is censor ourselves because of our fears. For many, one wrong move or indiscretion, particularly before you receive tenure, and you are fired. I have only worked as an adjunct, but I see the ill-treatment of academics of color. Each person has to decide what is right and best for them. I cannot judge. Often, as a race we censor ourselves. Perhaps your voice is so important because you have chosen not to censor your words.
Your voice has made a difference in my scholarship. Thank you. Peace, and Love, Kim
On Sunday, May 13, 2018, 10:01:14 AM PDT, Eric Arnold wrote:
i can't speak to the omissions Marvin is pointing out, but the section of hip-hop misses the point by quite a few miles.
first, it completely ignores the seminal influence of BAM on the early development of what would become known as hip-hop culture.
It makes the mistake of positing that hip-hop culture developed in a vacuum in the Bronx, with no outside influences. That is entirely incorrect.
In actuality, the ideological, iconographical, and stylistic elements of hip-hop, which began in the mid-60s and continued throughout the 70s and 80s, were highly informed by BAM and associated concurrent movements.
The modern graffiti movement emerged in 1967, the same year that the community mural movement was established in Chicago, a center for BAM, and was directly influenced by BAM ideology.
The political and social consciousness of the Zulu Nation was directly informed by the Black Panthers, Sun Ra, and Sly Stone.
Yet the influence of the Bay Area of what became hip-hop culture is completely overlooked.
Instead, the writer continues to spread the Bronx Creation Myth as an accepted narrative, without ever mentioning the Black Panthers opened up an Information Center in Bronx River in 1968 which was visited by a young Bambaataa, before he even took that name. Bambaataa's given name in the article is also incorrectly listed.
There is no mention whatsoever of the influence BAM had on the Afrocentric spoken word movement which was foundational to the development of the hip-hop emcee. The Last Poets were directly influenced by BAM. Yet this is not mentioned.
The references to hip-hop are piecemeal and far from comprehensive or thorough. They reflect an academic perspective from the outside looking in, which has little understanding or knowledge of how hip-hop actually developed.
This is because the author does no original research, and limits his findings to repeating or paraphrasing what others have written.
Unfortunately, this approach results in many factual errors, and is also somewhat self-serving, in that it exists for the purpose of propping up academia, rather than understanding that hip-hop was in part created because of the inherent limitations of universities and the inability to these institutions to relate to street-level social and cultural movements. Hip-hop in the late 80s and early 90s, for example, existed as an alternative source of information to the university system and the failure of public education to overcome cultural bias--as referenced by KRS-One in "Yoiu Must Learn." Public Enemy in "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos," and Poor Righteous Teachers on "Self-Styled Wisdom." And then later by dead prez on "They Schools."
The article posits that hip-hop has never been a threat to Wall Street, and that record companies never promoted consciousness, which is categorically untrue. In fact, in 1988-92, conscious rap far outsold gangsta rap. Recently, Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer Prize, becoming the first pop music artist to do so. Yet this continuum is completely unexamined.
It is also unclear why there is not a single reference to Tupac Shakur who was a prime example of the generational legacy of both BAM and the Black Panther Party. This is simply unconscionable. Tupac began his artistic career as a theater student and poet before becoming a rapper, and his family were members of the New York BPP chapter.
In my own research, some of which was integral to the Oakland Museum of California's current hip-hop exhibit which I was a co-curator of, I didn't just look at what academics unconnected to the culture had to say about it. I didn't begin the historical timeline I created in 1973, but in 1965. One big reason for that was that year was the year BAM was founded.
So, while on a superficial level, this paper appears to connect many dots, in actuality there are many more unconnected points.
I agree with Marvin that hip-hop culture is part of the legacy of BAM. But it will take more than window-gazing to clearly and definitively unpack this.
Regretfully, articles like this may be well-intentioned, but ultimately do the cultures they are attempting to define a disservice by getting so many things wrong and presenting while presenting themselves as authoritative. This problem has been evident since the 90s, when the first academic papers and books on hip-hop were published. While there are some scholars who write credibly about the culture and come from hip-hop backgrounds, Cromartie is clearly not one of them.
In the future, if you are going to attempt to present Black history anywhere, please make sure you get it right. Disinformation = miseducation.
May 13 at 12:00 PM
Dr. Itibari Zulu offered us the platform on which to explore the Black Arts Movement. Much like life, there are hundreds of ways to view the same material. One of the wonderful things about research and scholarship is its fluidity. I invite anyone that has an opinion about this special edition to write an article discussing your research and submit it to Dr. Zulu. We create new scholarship by researching and being in conversation with each other. However, whether you agree or disagree, kindness is so important. As African Americans, we are continually barraged by a world that does not always understand our beauty and Blackness. Let us be kind to each other. We can disagree over new research, but each of us has important work to add to this conversation. Vern, thank you for your important work.
Peace, Kim McMillon
On Sun, May 13, 2018 at 11:30 AM, J Vern Cromartie wrote:
Thank you for expressing your opinion. With all due respect, I hope that you took the time to read the footnotes as well as the main text. Many of the statements you made are simply not true. My basic position is that Hip Hop is not a culture. It is a social movement. Perhaps, you simply do not know what is a social movement. If you think that Hip Hop is a culture, perhaps you do not know what is a culture. My Gullah culture is a culture. Mona Lisa Saloy's Creole culture is a culture. Each culture can be broken down into ideas (e.g., values), norms, and material culture. Gullah culture and Creole culture can meet that challenge, but not Hip Hop. Further, Kendrick Lamar's getting a Pulitzer Prize is like Halle Berry getting an Oscar for the film Monster's Ball. By the way, the Black Arts Movement actually started before 1965. As I said on pages 89-90, "The Black Arts Movement emerged in 1964 with beachfronts in two locations: the New York area and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area." The first issue of Soulbook was issued in 1964 rather 1965. That is a fact, not an opinion my brother. Of course, you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.
Yours in solidarity,
On May 13, 2018, at 12:38 PM, Eric Arnold wrote:
with all due respect, i call BS.
we can go point for point here.
< Many of the statements you made are simply not true. >
You make this laughable assertion without even attempting to qualify it with examples. Therefore, it lacks any credibility of proof.
< My basic position is that Hip Hop is not a culture. >
This is factually-untrue, Actually poth premosterous and presumptuous. Hip hop as a culture has been extremely well-documented, from the artistic elements (mentioned in the essay), tot he stylistic elements, to its aesthetics. If this assertion were true,it would have been impossible for me to create a historical timeline of the culture fopr a museum exhibit, or document the culture as i have done professionally as a published journalist since 1992, because the culture would be non-existent. So, on this basic point, you fail mightily. Furthermore, hip-hop is not only a black and brown-originated American culture on a par with blues, jazz, and rock n roll, but it is a global culture which has taken root in every continent of the world, with the exception of Antartica. this, too, is well-documented, to the point that it is ridiculous to even attempt to debate otherwise.
< It is a social movement. >
There is no reason why hip-hop can't be a culture as well as a social movement as the two concepts are not oppositional. In fact, they often go hand in hand and can be indistinguishable. Would anyone in their right mind refer to the Harlem Renaissance or the Ragtime era as social movements without also referencing their cultural aspects? Would anyone claim that the lifestyle and aesthetics centered around jazz were strictly social phenomena and unconnected to culture? The weight of the ignorance you project here onto hip-hop is simply hard to fathom.
Remember that we are talking about five decades of cultural evolution and development, which has intersected with, been informed by, and influenced numerous social and political movements during that span. Hip-hop is inherently sociocultural if not inherently sociopolitical, and has been that way since before the culture even had a name. this is an aspect of a concept derived from BAM, that cultural expression reflect the social sentiments of the time. If we go back to the earliest foundations of hip-hop--black dance forms, funk music, graffiti--they are all cultural and social phenomena. It is essentially impossible to argue that hip-hop DJing is not cultural, since it literally created its own cultural practices, i.e., breakbeats, park jams, turntablism. Those are just a few examples, but there are more. The cultural practice of emceeing or rapping is derived from the African American oral tradition, which in no way was a purely social phenomenon. The intentional adoption of Afrocentric imagery in the late 80s was a cultural practice. I could go on and on here. You are simply wrong from a factual standpoint, regardless of your opinion.
< Perhaps, you simply do not know what is a social movement. If you think that Hip Hop is a culture, perhaps you do not know what is a culture.>
This is just pure arrogance. I have been researching and documenting hip-hop culture since I wrote my thesis on it in college, in 1991. I am well-regarded as a pioneer of hip-hop journalism, as well as a cultural historian. I have published numerous articles over the years examining both culture and social movements, and interviewed many primary sources. I'm not going to run down my entire CV here but you have no idea who i am or how deeply-ingrained i am in hip-hop culture, or what my understanding is of social movements. Perhaps you shouldnt write about things you know nothing about.
< Each culture can be broken down into ideas (e.g., values), norms, and material culture. >
The same holds true for hip-hop. It has aesthetics and unique practices, many of which have become traditional at this point. It has regional, national, and even international aspects., and has influenced mainstream popular culture in every place it has spread to. Perhaps you felt the need to lecture me, as if i was an ignorant child. Unfortunately for you, that is not the case.
< Gullah culture and Creole culture can meet that challenge, but not Hip Hop.>
Once again, you fail to qualify your assertion, rendering it non-credible. This is simply an empty and ego-driven statement with no basis in reality. It's really quite delusional. I've lived through every era of hip-hop, so i can personally attest to its values, norms, and material aspects. I personally know practitioners of every single element of hip-hop who uphold this criteria you define, which evidently you are completely unaware of. I think perhaps the broad appeal of hip-hop and its impact on mainstream popular culture are beyond your comprehension as well. Which is why you reject evidence and proof to the contrary of your point which is well-documented.
< Further, Kendrick Lamar's getting a Pulitzer Prize is like Halle Berry getting an Oscar for the film Monster's Ball. >
This is just dismissive and belittling of what in actuality is an unprecedented accomplishment. Is shows a scorn and disdain for the artform of which K.Dot is an unquestioned master of, and speaks to an implicit cultural bias which, by all rights, should disqualify you from even attempting to write about hip-hop as a movement, culture, economic development strategy, ideological platform, or form of popular entertainment. Your unmitigated gall here is largely reminiscent of the dismissing of hip hop by white politicians in the late 80s and early 90s and shows a profound lack of understanding of what hip-hop actually is. Ironically, I was just asked, as a hip-hop cultural expert, to speak on the significance of Lamar's achievement by a major newspaper.
By the way, the Black Arts Movement actually started before 1965.>
Actually, you are also incorrect here. I attended the 50th anniversary celebration of BAM which was produced by Marvin, a BAM co-founder, in 2015. Feel free to do the math yourself. You are correct in naming the Soul Students Advisory Committee in 1964, but they didn't call themselves part of the BAM, because that movement had not yet been named. We can also point to things Ishmael Reed and others were doing as early as 1962 as things which led up to BAM but are generally not considered an official part of its history, just as we can look at how Oakland boogaloo evolved into hip-hop dance beginning in 1965-66, although hip-hop itself wasnt named until 1977 and didnt appear in print until 1981. We can note that the dance form known as b-boying evolved out of NYC street gangs, and that the uprock preceded Kool Herc's first DJ party by at least a year. Or we can look at the Revolutionary Action Movement, which had an Oakland chapter, preceded the formation of the Black Panther Party, and had a similar ideology. we can also point to the Deacons of Self Defense in Louisiana as a forebear to the Panthers. We can note that Seale and Newton both organized out of the Anti Poverty Office in North Oakland in 1965. But we can't say the Panthers started, as the Panthers, before October, 1966.
My point, to be clear, is that movements don't just spring out of thin air, and always have things leading up to them. Hip hop culture is no different in this regard. In fact, the culture existed for as much as fifteen years before it was even named as such.
Please make a more concerted effort in the future to get past your own confirmation bias and dont hesitate to do original research.
On Sun, May 13, 2018 at 6:31 PM, Ayodele Nzinga wrote:
All behold the cultural slipstream a fluid continuum eating and regurgitating itself to feed its young.
Reply by Eric
however, the notion that hip-hop is not a cultural movement is simply a dog which wont hunt. it is refuted by any number of sources over a five-decade span.
even asking that question tends to define the asker rather than the culture itself.
i have been advised to worship at the hip-hop shrine.
i would just note that any shine i worship at will honor the ancestors and make space for future generations.
peace to all -- even Vern
Marvin X at Oakland Museum of California's Respect Hip Hop Exhibit. BAM archives are in display
photo Adam Turner
From Norman Richmond, Toronto, Canada
To: Marvin X
Let me add my two Canadian cents into this discussion. I was in Mount Morris Park aka Marcus Garvey Park that day when Eldridge Cleaver spoke in 1968. I, like you, was “Slippin’ into Darkness” (Underground, wanted by the FBI). Both of us shared time together in Toronto....
It was Mae Mallory NOT Fannie Lou Hamer that Papa Rage was talking about. He pointed out the role that she played in defense of Monroe, North Carolina’s Robert F. Williams. Here is Sister Mae’s story she is part of our international Black Radical Tradition and should never be forgotten.
On Sun, May 13, 2018 at 9:36 AM, J Vern Cromartie wrote:
Thank you for your email. With all due respect, my article did not focus solely on you. I covered
some of your activities, but not all. I did the same thing with Amiri Baraka and others, including
Dingane. My aim was to look at the Black Arts Movement as a social movement in comparison to
the Hip Hop Movement as a social movement.
As you know, I was a former student of yours at Laney College and took your theatre arts class
during the early 1980s. As a part of that class, I read many of your works (plays, poetry, essays,
interviews, etc.) and wrote my own play titled A Day inthe Life of Hughes, Langston, which was
staged at the College of Alameda and EGYPT Theatre during 1982. I also wrote a review of your
play In the Name of Love, which was staged at Laney College and directed by Dr. Ayodele Nzingha
and starred Zahieb Mwongozi. The Grassroots newspaper in Berkeley published the review during
1982. In addition, the Clute Institute for Academic Research published my article on you titled
"Teaching Black Studies at the University of California, Berkeley: The Case of Marvin X and the
Afro-American Studies Program" during 2009 In the special issue of Africology: The Journal of
Pan African Studiesthat you edited, you published a poem I wrote dedicated to you during 2010.
Furthermore, I attended the Black Men's Conference at the Kaiser Center in Oakland which you
organized a long time ago during 1980. Thus, we go way back as we say in the Gullah territory.
When Amiri Baraka died, you asked me for money so that you could buy a ticket to attend the
funeral. I gave you money in the form of a "C" note. I did that out of brotherly love for you and
respect for Amiri Baraka. I could not go to the funeral so I felt good about helping you to go.
Lastly, my article does acknowledge that you were active on the East Coast as well as the West
Coast. For example, I mentioned that you were in the audience in Harlem when Eldridge Cleaver
made a despicable remark in public to Fannie Lou Hamer. Regarding that incident, I quoted you
in your book Somethin' Proper. Remember, you said that the Harlem speech of Eldridge Cleaver
was "disgusting, degenerate" on page 172. You said that, not me.
Yes. I have a W. E. B. Du Bois Lecture Series at Contra Costa College wherein I do not allow
speakers to use profanity, racial slurs, and ethnic slurs. I believe that students should have the
right to come to an event and not be insulted by profanity, racial slurs, and ethnic slurs. I believe
in academic freedom, but there is a limit to it and a responsibility that comes along with it. Each
speaker in the lecture series has to agree in a contract not to use profanity, racial slurs, and ethnic
slurs. In the interest of civility, I stand by that position. I tell all speakers that if you cannot say it
in a mosque, temple, synagogue, or church, you cannot say it in the W. E. B. Du Bois Lecture
Series at Contra Costa College. There are cultural centers and community centers wherein one
can go and use that language. I say go there.
Yours in solidarity,
Marvin replies to J. Vern
At San Francisco's Glide Church, one can say motherfucka or anything. What is profanity in a profane, obscene world? As you recall, I turned down your $400.00 honorarium because of your Puritanism that I consider reactionary. Clearly you missed the critical point of BAM's freedom of speech and liberation esthetics in my class and productions. Do you recall my poem Tenured Niggas, "Muzzled mouth dogs, think nothing, do nothing, say nothing, makin' too much money to be a nigga...."
Yes, you mentioned me at Marcus Garvey Park when Cleaver spoke, and my comments were reactionary because I drank the Muslim Kool Aid. Again, check my name at the time, Marvin X. I was trying to be holier than thou, e.g., I rewrote Flowers as Take Care of Business, minus the profanity. Harlem treated me like a holy man except they couldn't deal with me as a member of the NOI in the land of Malcolm X, Harlem. In hindsight, I would do what Cleaver said about Fanny Lou Hamer.
Sun Ra chided me, "Marvin, you so right you wrong." He was referring to the production of TCB in which I took out a sex scene.
For sure, I am going to say what I want to say til my dying day, fuck money, fuck fame and popularity. Instead of saying motherfuck you, I will be nice and say lakum dinukum waliya din, I.e., to you your way and to me mine. Reply by J. Vern: Hello Marvin,
Dear White folks: Don't say nothing to Black people, about Black people, or for Black people, leave us the fuck alone. Work on your own White asses. Don't tell us nothing, don't sell us nothing. We don't want or need your advice. Don't butt into our conversations or our activities. Leave us alone. If you see us violating the law, go the other way. You have violated our human rights for 400 years, leave us the fuck alone. Whenever you want, you violate any law you want, Federal, State and local. You violate the laws of Nature, you have fucked up the earth, the seas, rivers, the air, babies, women, men, animals, trees, crops. You are the number one arms merchant of the world, the number one peace breaker, you have military bases in 150 nations to insure the robbery of their resources and labor. You have three million Constitutional slaves in your jails and prisons, most are poor, mentally ill and drug addicted, leave us alone. You flood our communities with drugs, alcohol, poor food, guns, mis-education, and police murder under the color of law, leave us alone! --Marvin X 5/19/18
‘BBQing while Black’ festival draws hundreds to Oakland’s Lake Merritt
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Brian Thomas, left, gets help from Ibn Shabazz of Smib Smoothcuts, to show off the shirts he made with Ouma Wartel (not pictured) at the "BBQ-ing while Black" event at Lake Merritt off Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Hundreds in the African American community came out to Lake Merritt in response to a confrontation caught on video there a few weeks ago when someone complained to police about a group of black people barbecuing. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)
Click HERE if you’re having trouble viewing the gallery on your mobile device.
OAKLAND — Smoke from charcoal-fired grills filled the air and music played in the background as hundreds of people gathered at Oakland’s Lake Merritt Sunday in a celebration of inclusivity.
The event — called “BBQing While Black” — was residents’ response to a video that went viral in late April after a white woman called police to report a few black men using a charcoal grill at the lake. Although they were in a designated barbecuing area, charcoal grills are not allowed in that section of the lake.
On Sunday, firefighters smiled and waved at the attendees, who were grilling racks of ribs, sausage links and seasoned chicken, among other meats and veggie patties. Police officers drove by and stopped to facilitate traffic.
“This is about doing what we’ve already been doing and eat in peace, literally,” said Logan Cortez, one of the event’s organizers. “We’re not fighting for our rights; it’s already our right to do this.”
The video, which as of Sunday had nearly 2 million views on YouTube and many more on other platforms, sparked a national conversation about implicit racism. In it, the unidentified woman can be heard talking to police about the use of charcoal. Oakland resident Michelle Snider, who is also white and filmed the incident, questioned the woman about whether she was calling police because the people barbecuing are black, which the woman denied. After waiting roughly two hours for police to arrive, the woman told officers the people barbecuing had been harassing her. The officers did not arrest or ticket anyone.
“She kept telling me I didn’t belong here,” Oakland resident Onsayo Abram said Sunday. He was at the barbecue on April 29 when the woman approached his group. “I was born here. She was trying to tell where I don’t belong, but at the same time, I wasn’t trying to feed into her negativity.”
The incident has since become an internet meme with the hashtag, #BBQBecky, and photos of people cutting and pasting pictures of the woman calling police over photos of historically significant events, such as Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the Washington Mall. For many at the barbecue, the video was a poignant reminder that racism is still alive, even in the heart of the liberal Bay Area and in the city that birthed the Black Panther Party.
Locally, the video reignited an ongoing debate over gentrification. The high cost of housing has led to an exodus of many of Oakland’s black residents, who numbered fewer than 100,000 in 2016, or about 23.5 percent of the population, according to the American Community Survey. That’s down more than 12 percent since 2000, when black residents made up nearly 36 percent of the population.
Even the event’s co-organizer, Jhamel Robinson, said he can no longer afford to live in the city where he was born and raised. He runs a T-shirt business, TheRealOakland.com, from his home in Sacramento, he said.
That exodus is changing the cultural and economic demographics of the city, leading to confrontations between residents, especially in the neighborhoods around Lake Merritt, which are gentrifying more quickly than other parts of the city, said Aloysius McMahan, an Oakland native.
In 2015, another white resident called police to report a group of predominantly black and Latino people drumming at the lake. That incident, although it was not filmed, also sparked a local debate about gentrification and racism.
“We’re being pushed out,” McMahan said, “but we have to stand our ground.”
For many, Sunday’s event was a return to the celebratory spirit of the 1980s and early 1990s, when an annual four-day celebration, called Festival at the Lake, drew dozens of vendors and thousands of attendees. Although that event was discontinued in the mid-1990s, Lake Merritt has continued to regularly host weekend barbecues and social gatherings.
“It’s all we’ve ever known,” said Oaklander Baretta Van Dyke. “Oakland is for everybody.”
With the return of “white nationalism” to the international stage and the White House and new threats of nuclear war, the black revolutionary occupies a crucial position in society today. Yet a black revolutionary of historic promise can live among us almost unknown on the radar screen, even when his name is as conspicuous as Marvin X (who may be the last to wear an X in public view since the assassination of Malcolm X).
This semblance of anonymity is due in part to the fact that the black revolutionary is liable to live a part of his or her life incognito, and many become adept at moving in and out of both public and private places sight unseen. For instance, I didn’t know until I read Marvin X’s “Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter” that when he put on a memorial service for his comrade and Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver, 1998, he was unaware that Eldridge’s ex, Kathleen Cleaver, had traveled from the East Coast and slipped into the auditorium of the church with her daughter Joju. As one of the invited speakers I had noticed her curiosity when I remarked that I had been aware of Eldridge before she was (he and I /had had articles in the Negro History Bulletin in the spring of 1962) and had met her before Eldridge did, when I was introduced to her while she was working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at Tuskegee institute, but luckily for Eldridge I was happily married to the woman who years later would escort Kathleen around San Francisco in what I recall as a failed search for a black lawyer to take his case when he returned from exile in France.
Like many other persons across this promised land, I also thought I knew Marvin X. I can clearly recall seeing him walk into the offices of The Black Scholar Magazine, then in Sausalito, with a manuscript we published in the early 1970s. However, his reputation had preceded him. For one thing, then California Governor Ronald Reagan had publicly issued a directive to college administrators at UCLA and Fresno State University to get Angela Davis and Marvin X off the campuses and keep them off. The Fresno Bee Newspaper quoted Reagan as he entered the State College Board of Trustees meeting in his capacity as president of the board, "I want Marvin X off campus by any means necessary!"
Over the years I continued to encounter him: when he organized the First National Black Men’s Conference, 1980, Oakland Auditorium, that drew over a thousand black men (without benefit of media coverage) to pay their way into a conference aimed at getting black men to rise again. I was a member of his Board of Directors. I also attended a number of other conferences he organized, such as the Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness, San Francisco State University, 2001, and the San Francisco Black Radical Book Fair, 2004, as well as productions of his successful play, “One Day in the Life,” with a scene of his last meeting with his friend, Black Panther Party co-founder, Dr. Huey P. Newton, in a West Oakland Crack house.
I will never forget the time he recruited me and the seasoned psychiatric social worker, Suzette Celeste, MSW, MPA, to put on weekly nighttime workshops in black consciousness and strategies for “overcoming the addiction to white supremacy.” On many a night I marveled to see him and his aides branch out fearlessly into the gloom of the Tenderloin streets of San Francisco and bring back unwary street people and the homeless to participate in our sessions, along with a sparse coterie of the black bourgeoisie who didn’t turn around or break and run on seeing the dim stairway to the dungeon-like basement of the white Catholic church.
But when I received and read Marvin’s manuscript, I called and told him that he had really paid his dues to the cause of black freedom but regretfully had not yet received his righteous dues.
As if to anticipate my impression, the designer of the book cover has a silhouetted image of Marvin, though you wouldn’t recognize him if you weren’t told, in spite of the flood lights beaming down on him from above like rays directly from high Heaven, as if spotlighting the fact that Marvin ‘s day has come.
You tell me why one of the blackest men to walk this earth, in both complexion and consciousness, is dressed in a white suit and wearing a white hat; but that is as white as it gets, and inside the book is black to the bone, a rare and readable compendium of Marvin’s unsurpassed struggle for black freedom and artistic recognition.
Black revolutionaries wondering what black people should do now can jump into this book and so can the Uncle Tom: the functional toms find new roles for the uncle tom who longs for freedom but prefers to dance to the tune of the piper; the pathological tom, whose malady is epidemic today, as well as the Aunt Tomasinas, can be enlightened and endarkened according to their taste in this literary and readable smorgasbord.
“Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X” is a diary and a compendium, a textbook for revolutionary example and experience, a guide for change makers, a textbook for Black Studies and community action, including city planners who will profit from his proposals and experiences in his collaboration with the mayor and officials of Oakland to commercialize and energize the inner city, with a Black Arts Movement Business District (BAMBD) that could be the greatest black cultural and economic boon since the Harlem Renaissance. No longer just talk and get-tough rhetoric, his current project is cultural economics, Oakland’s Black Arts Movement Business District, an urban model evolving in real time in the heart of downtown Oakland, where people like Governor Jerry Brown once tried their hand before they turned and fled back into the claws of the status quo.
I can’t say everything is in this book, just that it reflects the fact that Marvin, for all he has done on the merry-go-round of black social change, is still in the process of becoming.
Readers from the dope dealer to the dope addict to the progressive elite, the Pan African internationalist, the amateur anthropologist, the blacker than thou, the try to be black, the blacker-than-thous, the try to be white (who go to sleep at night and dream they will wake up white) and other wannabes; in other words from the Nouveau Black to the petit bourgeois noir and bourgie coconuts, “Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X” is a fountainhead of wisdom, with a fistful of freedom nuggets and rare guidance in resisting oppression or/and work to build a new and better day.
Dr. Nathan Hare
Dr. Nathan Hare, Father of Black and Ethnic Studies, with his student, Marvin X
The cult indie rapper smuggled his radical anticapitalism into his biting new film ‘Sorry to Bother You.’
Boots Riley at Little Bistro in Oakland, Calif., in April.
By Jonah Weiner
May 22, 2018 - nytimes.com
hen Boots Riley was done writing the screenplay for his comedy, he figured he needed several name actors and a budget of a few million dollars to actually get it made. He spent decades working as a community organizer, activist and as the frontman of a leftist hip-hop group called the Coup. Riley knew a killer pitch would be necessary: “Trying to get somebody to read your script and you’re a musician?” he asked. “That’s the last person whose script you’re gonna read!”
So he honed a spiel consisting of “various levels.” Level 1 was 23 words long, and on a recent afternoon, in a coffee shop in Riley’s hometown, Oakland, Calif., he recited it to me more or less exactly as he recited it over the years to potential actors, producers, investors and advice-givers:
“It’s an absurdist dark comedy with magical realism and science fiction, inspired by the world of telemarketing. It’s called ‘Sorry to Bother You.’ ”
Riley interrupted himself: “So it’s all those things, then — telemarketing. People usually laugh right there. ‘O.K., tell me more. ...’ ”
At which point he would take them to Level 2:
“Cassius Green is a black telemarketer with self-esteem issues and existential angst who discovers a magical way to make his voice sound like it’s overdubbed by a white actor.”
Riley let that premise sink in, then moved to Level 3:
“This catapults him up the ladder of telemarketing success, to the upper echelon of telemarketers, who sell weapons of mass destruction and slave labor via cold calling. In order to do this, he has to betray his friends who are organizing a telemarketers’ union.”
Who, at this point, could resist knowing more? And who, having heard the rest — the coke-snorting billionaire bad guy, the climactic battle, the many dystopian flights of fancy — could resist helping Riley get the thing up on screen? The answer was: plenty of people. “I wasn’t getting many responses,” he recalls.
Riley has a sly grin, a slight build and a large afro. To comb it, he carries around a kitchen utensil called an angel-food-cake cutter — designed to slice delicate desserts, it does double-duty as a pick and fits comfortably in his back pocket. He furrows his brow frequently while talking to people, and if this is disconcerting at first, it turns out to be essential to his charisma, because it shows he’s actually listening to what you’re saying: Many entertainers are expert at connecting with crowds and much less adept in one-on-one interactions, but Riley takes visible pleasure in conversation.
He is also a veteran hustler, and when it looked as if “Sorry to Bother You” might never materialize, it wasn’t for lack of enterprise. At one point Riley sneaked into a private dinner at the Napa Valley Film Festival to get his script to Viggo Mortensen, with whom Riley shared an acquaintance. (Mortensen passed on participating.) He wrote to an email address belonging to the wife of Colin Firth, because the actor once approached Riley at a party rapping some Coup lyrics. (Firth said he couldn’t do the movie, either.) But Riley, who is 47, had invested too much time to give up, and there were flashes of support. The comedian David Cross, who performed alongside Riley years ago at a fund-raiser for Palestinian medical services, read the script and told Riley to count him in. Further encouragement came from Patton Oswalt, who made a similar commitment, and the author Dave Eggers, who gave the script a look and, after calling it one of the best unproduced screenplays he’d ever read, published it with McSweeney’s as a book in December 2014.
In late 2015, this gradual accumulation of boosters finally yielded funding, and more actors circled the project. Jordan Peele considered starring as Cassius for a time, then Donald Glover did, until Glover’s “Atlanta” co-star, the captivatingly droll Lakeith Stanfield, signed on as Cassius for good. Over 28 days last summer, Riley shot the movie around Oakland and Berkeley, completing a cut in time for Sundance, where Annapurna — the prestige picture house behind films by Paul Thomas Anderson, David O. Russell and Kathryn Bigelow — bought its distribution rights for seven figures. The buzz surrounding the film was excellent, if echoey: Vice called it the “most bonkers movie” at the festival; Vanity Fair called it “a bonkers social satire”; Slate called it a “feverish, bonkers satire.”
“Sorry to Bother You” comes out in wide release in July. The film is visually ingenious and funny, yet grounded by pointed arguments about the obstacles to black success in America, the power of strikes and the soul-draining predations of capitalism. A self-described communist since his teens, Riley has said he aims “to help build a mass movement that can use withholding of labor as a strategy for social change.” That credo suffuses “Sorry to Bother You” and, notwithstanding the delay in getting it made, the film’s timing could hardly be better. In Hollywood, two recent blockbusters by black directors — Peele’s horror hit “Get Out” and Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther” — staged nuanced readings of race within fantastical scenarios. Fresh anxieties about the precariousness of work and the increasingly precarious place of the worker have, meanwhile, permeated the cultural mainstream, from mounting critiques of the so-called gig economy to the teachers’ strikes enjoying popular support nationwide to Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” a Hollywood vision of the future that features characters who become indentured servants to rapacious tech overlords.
Culture is not a substitute for direct political action, of course, but as Riley has put it, “it tills the soil and gets people ready” — and he has spent his life tilling the soil. While “Sorry to Bother You” may register as a thoroughly Trump-era artifact, its concerns have long been with him. He wrote it toward the end of Barack Obama’s first term, back when many liberals, he says, simply “turned a blind eye to real problems.” The film didn’t need to change from one president to the next, because “the system hasn’t changed.”
He knew, of course, that talking about soil and systems wouldn’t make for very enticing marketing copy. When I mentioned the avalanche of bonkerses used to describe “Sorry to Bother You” at Sundance, Riley replied: “It’s better than people going in thinking that it’s a ‘message’ movie, because no one wants to see that — I don’t want to see that! And because the truth is, every movie is a message movie. It’s just that most movies have messages that are in lock step with the status quo.”
Walking around Oakland with Boots Riley is an exercise in not getting very far very quickly. These days he shares a house with his partner — an eccentric Bay Area musician called Gabby La La — and their child. (He has three more children from earlier relationships.) But he has lived and made art all over the city, and when we sought a place to grab lunch uptown one day, the dozen or so people who stopped him to say hello included a burly white 50-something guy wearing a construction vest on a mountain bike; a black OnTrac deliveryman; a Mexican-American musician; and a Zimbabwean immigrant named Terry wearing a Tesla cap. Sometimes Riley simply smiled and made a peace sign; more often he chatted people up at length.
Riley connects with others easily, on the street and in his art — he has been writing rhymes about radical politics long enough to know how to frame ideas in punchy, compelling language. It’s a skill at the intersection of activism and art-making, which is where he sits. In high school, when he still went by his given name, Ray, he acted in student plays and danced at talent shows. (During a senior trip, where he wore a pair of brown Florsheim boots, his schoolmates gave him his nickname.) He also joined the Progressive Labor Party, at 15, and worked to unionize California farmworkers, linking up with “Mexican dudes who came to the Central Valley with the purpose of fomenting revolution, doing work in the fields — the literal fields. They had a vision that wasn’t new, but it was new to me, about how you could create a mass radical movement step by step.”
His conviction, forged in the P.L.P., is that as long as politicians are beholden to big-money “puppeteers,” the best strategy for change is to bypass the puppets and directly threaten the string-pullers’ economic interests, through work stoppages — the one radical act, perhaps, that entrenched power can’t co-opt. “It affected me because it wasn’t this vague notion of ‘change the world,’ ” he said of his time among the farmworkers. “It was, ‘Here’s a way things can happen.’ ” After that he became an advocate for Palestinian rights and a prominent member of the Occupy movement, helping Oakland residents to protest home foreclosures. In the wake of the Ferguson protests and amid the rise of Black Lives Matter, Riley, in an interview with “Democracy Now!” disputed the notion that “all you need to do is get your voice in the streets and things will change,” describing mere attempts to “shame power into action” as ineffectual. Rather, he argued that demonstrators should “combine social movements with the ability to withhold our labor” in order to “give social movements teeth.”
ne of Riley’s influences in revolutionary thinking was his father. As a San Francisco State student in the 1960s, Walter Riley was an anti-Vietnam War activist; in 1968 he drove a Muni bus around the city and helped establish a rank-and-file caucus of fellow drivers. He later volunteered as a housing-and-welfare-rights advocate in Chicago, where Boots was born, then as an auto-industry organizer in Detroit. By the time Boots was 13, they were back in Oakland, where Walter, deciding that he could do good as a civil rights and criminal-defense lawyer, went to law school and started a practice.
In 1989 Boots enrolled at San Francisco State himself, studying film. “I did shorts, but they were style exercises, very abstract, figuring it out,” he recalled. “And I was making music to go in the films.” Outside class, he joined anti-racist protests. “White supremacists said they were going to take back the Bay Area,” he told me. “They had the ‘Aryan Woodstock’ in Napa, and they’d have rallies in Union Square, with cops surrounding these Nazis.” Riley and his cohort liked to lob soda cans over the police officer’s heads, aiming for those within — a technique he pays homage to in “Sorry to Bother You.”
Riley worked part time for U.P.S., a Teamster job at which he met two aspiring rappers, Spice 1 (Robert Green Jr.), who became a prominent gangsta rapper in the ’90s, and E-roc (Eric Davis). “We’d rap in the bellies of planes we were loading up at Oakland airport,” Riley recalled. He and Davis founded the Coup with the East Bay DJ Pam the Funkstress, and when they landed a record deal, Riley quit school. (Pam died last year at 51.)
Boots Riley performing in Bilbao, Spain, in 2014.
Looking back on the Coup’s first album, the brash “Kill My Landlord” (1993), Riley dismissed it as “a pamphlet on tape,” criticizing what he saw as its leaden pileup of leftist lingo. His assessment may be overly harsh, but Riley’s point was to underscore a subsequent broadening in his artistic approach that tracks through to “Sorry to Bother You”: “I moved to trying to talk to folks who don’t identify with those politics.”
He went on to fill his songs with cleverly loaded wordplay (“I slang rocks, but Palestinian style”) and set galvanizing slogans (“We got hella people, they got helicopters”) to freewheeling funk. Many of Riley’s most beloved verses unfold as vivid, frequently comic narratives. For “Fat Cats, Bigga Fish,” from 1994, he assumed the voice of a pickpocket who, posing as a waiter to hunt wealthy marks at an Oakland gala, overhears a developer pitch the mayor on a conspiracy to turn low-income housing into condos. “Ain’t no one player that could beat this lunacy,” the narrator concludes, realizing just how small-fry his own thievery is by comparison: “Ain’t no hustler on the street could do a whole community.” Even as the Coup took off on the indie circuit and landed videos on MTV and BET, Riley remained an activist. During a four-year hiatus between the group’s second and third albums, he phone-banked for nonprofits — a miserable experience that he tapped when it came time to write his movie.
One of the Coup’s best-known moments was a result of wild chance. In September 2001, the group gained notoriety for an eerily coincidental cover for its album “Party Music” — designed months earlier — in which Riley and Pam stand before a Photoshopped World Trade Center, holding up drumsticks and a bass-tuner as if they are detonators, as the towers explode behind them. (This cover, intended as a metaphorical blow against capitalism, was changed against his wishes after the Sept. 11 attacks.) Riley became an outspoken guest on shows like “Democracy Now!” and “Politically Incorrect” with Bill Maher, unflagging in what you might call his blanket bipartisan disdain for politicians. Asked by RT America in 2011, for example, about whether Barack Obama represented a “real change” from his predecessors, Riley replied, “It’s really like we just got a black manager at McDonald’s, and all the workers at McDonald’s are happy, thinking that everything’s gonna be different, but no, you still gotta get your ass in front of that cash register and you’re still gonna have to sweep and mop the floors just as hard — and you’re gonna still get paid the exact same amount, although you got a new, handsome, black manager.”
During our walk through Oakland, we passed a tiny vintage clothing store called Regina’s Door, and its owner, Regina Evans, a congenial woman in a headwrap, emerged to hug Riley. In addition to selling clothes, the shop offers financial support and “creative arts healing” to survivors of sex trafficking and provides a venue for Evans’s plays, which Riley has attended. She gave Riley a happy update on one of the women she helps support, then let him know about a new play she would be mounting soon in Berkeley. “It’s very weird and different, about a slave who kills herself and rebuilds her life with two spirits she can’t really see but knows are there,” Evans said. “Writing it, I came to a standstill and got scared: ‘I don’t think this is gonna work.’ Then I started reading your movie reviews, and everyone’s saying, ‘It’s crazy but it’s awesome.’ I said, ‘Well, Boots wrote a crazy script,’ and I started writing again.”
“That’s beautiful,” Riley said, nodding.
Much of “Sorry to Bother You” seems outlandish — on its surface. The film has a charmingly handmade ambience of hyperreality: puppetry, stop-motion animation and dozens of little offbeat details, like Cassius’ broken windshield wipers, which he must operate by yanking a piece of string. Dave Eggers sees the movie as carrying forward a tradition of “dirty surrealism, where it’s not about perfect special effects, it’s about the rawness of the subconscious. Your dreams don’t have high production values! Your nightmares are rough. Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry have done such incredible work in that realm, but until Boots, it’s been a while since anyone else has.”
In Riley’s hands, these fantastical elements have a clear dramatic purpose. Cassius’ ability to speak with a “white voice” (provided by David Cross) is a way to poke fun at perceptions and performances of racial identity. The film’s central villain, a company with the innocuous name of Worry Free, signs laborers to unpaid lifetime contracts in exchange for a guarantee of meals and glammed-up prison-style housing — bunk beds crammed beneath chandeliers. Worry Free’s scheme seems a touch less far-fetched when considered alongside old company-owned mining towns, Foxconn City in Shenzhen or even tech campuses with their free amenities and napping pods, meant to blur the line between work and life and extract more value from employees in the name of providing perks. Eggers, a longtime San Franciscan, said: “When I read Boots’s script, I’d just published ‘The Circle’ ” — a 2013 dystopian novel set in Silicon Valley — “and it struck me that we were both picking up on changes we’ve seen in the Bay Area. There’s this strangely sinister cast to life here sometimes, where it’s still idyllic and free and open but also there’s a sense of consolidation of power, of wealth and of control that was never part of the Bay before.”
Cassius begins the movie broke and aimless, renting a room from his uncle Sergio (Terry Crews), who is facing imminent foreclosure. When the telemarketing firm rewards Cassius’ supernatural cold-calling prowess with promotions and praise, these represent a concrete means to save Sergio’s house and the first time in Cassius’s adult life that people in power have told him he’s good at something — even if that something turns out to be shilling for weapons manufacturers and Worry Free (whose sarong-sporting chief executive is played with slick, winking malevolence by Armie Hammer). Cassius comes to see his striking co-workers and his radical artist girlfriend, Detroit (a transfixing Tessa Thompson), as impediments to the blossoming of his own excellence, but Riley and Stanfield make it compellingly tough to dismiss his motivations here as merely selling out. “Boots and I wanted to make sure he was relatable,” Stanfield told me, “a normal guy in an otherworldly situation that actually has a lot in common with real-world situations.”
Among the questions the movie raises is whether black success within capitalism is something to reflexively celebrate or whether the success of individuals who belong to an exploited class serves to ratify and consolidate — rather than thwart or ameliorate — the system doing the exploiting. Discussing this question, Riley used the example of the resolutely capitalist Jay-Z: “When people listen to Jay-Z, they’re working all day or trying to work and pay their bills, and what they hear is someone who’s free. Who doesn’t have to worry about the electricity. But all we’re taught is that those who are rich deserve to be rich because they worked harder than the rest of us or they’re smarter. And this may be true of some of those folks, but there are definitely very poor people who are very smart and work hard. It’s just that this system can only have a few people on the top. So Jay-Z is saying: ‘You can do this, too, I’m trying to give you game,’ and it ends up explaining poverty as a system of bad choices. Yes, maybe you can make better choices and be the crab that gets out of the bucket — but that’ll be at the expense of all the other crabs in the bucket.”
In the past, Riley has criticized Hollywood as abidingly reactionary in the stories it tells about black people: “All these movies — whether it’s ‘Menace II Society’ or ‘Boyz N the Hood’ — the moral is ‘Move some place else and everything’s better,’ ” he has said. “And the message is always ‘We’re destroying ourselves,’ and there’s no mention of anything systematic.” At one point, drinking coffee on stools in an uptown cafe, I brought up “Black Panther.” Riley told me that he admires Ryan Coogler and considers him “a mentor,” but his praise for that film came with an asterisk: “It was great — for a superhero movie. One of the best I’ve seen. But I have a problem with superheroes in general, because, politically, superheroes are cops. Superheroes work with the government to uphold the law. And who do the laws work for?” Riley answered this question with a smirk. “Put it like this: We all love bank robbers, because we know that in the two sides of that equation, the robbers are the ones to root for, not the banks. Only in superhero movies and the news do they try to make us think we’re against the bank robbers!”
Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson in “Sorry to Bother You.”
I asked Riley if, when shopping the film, he ever deployed his own version of a white voice. He said no, then elaborated. “Everybody feels like they’re the exception,” he went on. “There’s a story I tell, which was told to me by Tom Morello,” who was the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, with whom Riley formed a side project several years ago. “Rage were going to shoot a music video for one of their songs, Michael Moore directed it and the idea was they were gonna show up on Wall Street and play loud in the middle of the day, and when the cops came, and when Wall Street people came and yelled at them, even if it got shut down, that would be the video. So they get there, they play the song one time. Tumbleweeds. Play it again. Nothing’s happening — a couple cops talking into their radios. They play it a third time and start hearing a rumble. ‘Are they sending SWAT in?’ And then, from around the corner, they see hundreds of people in business clothes coming closer, chanting ‘Suits! For! Rage!’ They’re fans!” (In the finished video, for the song “Sleep Now in the Fire,” a few men in trading-floor jackets rock out in the crowd.)
Transgressive gestures have a dispiriting way of being absorbed by the forces they’re intended to transgress, and so I initially took this story to illustrate how Rage Against the Machine had been revealed, in this moment, as insufficiently radical. But for Riley, it conveyed an altogether different point, one that reflected the baseline faith in other people that a lifelong activist must sustain in order to keep going: “It turns out that Rage have hundreds of fans on Wall Street who are totally into what they’re saying, and who felt like they were against the system, too, but this was just what they had to do because the system wasn’t going anywhere. And that’s what most of us feel. That we’re only doing what we’re doing because there’s no way to change things.”
One mid-April morning, Riley was overseeing the construction of a fake gate on the vast grounds of Spring Mansion, a 12,000-square-foot, 106-year-old residence in the Berkeley Hills. He squatted down and peered up through its black metal bars at the mansion, framing a shot. It was Sunday, and he and a small crew had assembled to shoot pickup footage to stitch into “Sorry to Bother You.” In the film, Spring Mansion stands in for the home of Armie Hammer’s chief executive, and at one point Cassius arrives at the gated entrance, enters a code into a keypad and walks through. This tiny but critical moment was indistinct in the current cut, because Riley ran out of time on the day of filming and had to shoot the sequence elsewhere. At test screenings, audiences consistently flagged this as confusing, and so Annapurna agreed to rent out the mansion for one more day.
Wealth in the East Bay has historically concentrated itself in the hills. Today, despite some fast-gentrifying exceptions, the general rule still holds: The flatter the land, the poorer the people living on it. Spring Mansion — named for its original owner, the mining and real estate tycoon John Hopkins Spring — was a universe away from the Oakland flats, where Riley grew up and shot most of the film. Modeled on Empress Elisabeth of Austria’s Achilleion Palace, the mansion sits ostentatiously on three acres, with balustraded terraces and a view, through palm trees, out to San Francisco Bay. The place is currently uninhabited, sitting on the market with a $7.5 million asking price, but for the next 12-odd hours, a plutocrat’s palace would become a communist’s playground.
Something about this situation seemed to make Riley a touch uneasy — or, at least, to strike him as grimly amusing. Part of his decision to shoot “Sorry to Bother You” in his hometown was his knowledge that he could call in favors, make handshake deals and save money. He enlisted friends as extras and used other friends’ artwork to decorate scenes. That spirit of community-abetted thriftiness extended all the way to the film’s Oakland premiere on April 12, where Riley wore a vintage three-piece suit that Regina Evans had given him gratis, “stuffed into a trash bag with a bunch of other suits,” he said. Riley had gravitated toward Spring Mansion in the first place because a local musician he knew once shot a video there for peanuts, and Riley figured he could finesse a similar deal. “But then line producers and location scouts insist on getting involved, and it’s out of your hands,” he said. Today’s reshoot would result in maybe five seconds of new film. Considering this, Riley chuckled and shook his head. The footage was necessary, but “if we’d been able to get to this when we were first here,” he said, “it would have taken 10 minutes instead of a whole day and, like, $100,000.”
Lakeith Stanfield flew up from Los Angeles and was driven straight to the mansion. Crew members had erected their temporary gate on the patio, marking the spot where Stanfield was to stand, consult his phone and enter the code. “I love how non-actory Keith is,” Riley told me. “He doesn’t learn all his lines until right before, so you get this sense that he’s actually figuring out what he’s going to say in the moment.”
“Hello, beautiful people,” Stanfield said, greeting the crew as he walked on set.
“777-9311,” Riley sang to him — the title of a 1982 track by the Time and, for no reason other than his love for the song, the code he wanted Stanfield to type in.
Boots’s directing style, Tessa Thompson later told me, fosters a spirit of exploration: “He did this really cool thing with me and Lakeith, where he had us do takes of scenes, but without using any words. He said, ‘I heard Spike Jonze does this, let’s try it!’ — I loved that he said he’d borrowed it from someone he respected. On the one hand he has this chutzpah and confidence, but he also has the ability to be humble and trust other people to know things that he doesn’t.”
After a few takes at the mansion, Riley broke in and altered Stanfield’s pacing a bit, to give himself options in the editing room. “Ay, check this out,” he said. It was a phrase I heard him utter several times that day — a rhetorical device that made instructions sound like shared discoveries. “This time, try starting out of frame, then walking in,” he went on. “I’ll cue you.” They shot the keypad sequence a few more times, then moved the camera around to the other side of the fence to capture Stanfield head-on.
I asked Riley whether Annapurna had given him any larger notes about the movie, expressed concerns beyond the level of logistical snags. He said no, but did mention a bit of test-screening feedback the executives passed along about the movie’s final moments, which “unsettled” some viewers. That reaction was fine by him: Riley ends the film on a note of volatility, introducing disconcerting new information in the closing seconds and then leaving this, and one of the film’s major antagonisms, unresolved.
When it came to endings, though, Riley emphasized that unresolved was not the same thing as unhappy. “It’s never all the way good or all the way bad,” he said, “as long as the fight is going on.”
Jonah Weiner is a contributing writer for the magazine and a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. He last wrote for the magazine about Lorde.
Marvin X is one of the co-founders of the National Black Arts Movement and Oakland Black Arts Movement Business District that extends along the 14th Street corridor from the Lower Bottoms to Lake Merritt and four blocks north and south. It was approved by the Oakland City Council on January 19, 2016. The BAMBD is part of the City of Oakland's Downtown Plan for the next 25 to 50 years. Today, Sunday, May 20, 2018, I am proud Oakland Blacks occupied Lake Merritt in a return to our valiant, radical tradition as America's City of Resistance to racism and white supremacy, not to downplay other cities who resisted domestic colonialism during Jim Crow days, the Civil Rights era and the Black Power Movement. Oakland's Black Panther Party resisted with blood the abuses of America's white supremacy, although we ultimately suffered a military defeat by the USA military and intelligence agencies, COINTELPRO. Like Fallujah, the city of resistance in Iraq, . Black Oakland was devastated and Black bodies and minds were destroyed by political repression, in spite of three Black neo-colonial mayors, Lionel Wilsom, Elihu Harris and Ronald V. Dellums. America's drug war put the icing on the death of Black liberation in Oakland when Crack was introduced along with germ warfare in the form of STDs and HIV. In my play One Day in the Life, the preacher says, "Crack was worse than slavery. Didn't the slave love his Mama, his god, his woman and children? Not the Crack slave, the Crack slave is a dirty, funky slave...." AC, i. e., After Crack, the ensuing years further deteriorated our mental equilibrium and expedited the now pervasive gentrification, although it began with socalled redevelopment or Negro Removal, and ironically much of the removal was done by the black bourgeoisie administrators of redevelopment agencies. Ask Harlem who were the chief Negro leaders who expedited the gentrification of Harlem? Ask San Francisco, ask Oakland, ask Fresno and other cities where Negro removal was administrated by the black bourgeoisie! At least San Francisco Mayor Joe Alioto apologized for destroying the cultural and economic vitality of the Fillmore. The Black bourgeoisie sings Silent Night! The road of Oakland's Black people or North American Africans now living in tents was paved long ago as I just described. The blame for Black Oakland's woes are not totally the orchestration of former Mayor Jerry Brown, now Governor, and his mentee Mayor Libby Schaaf. FYI, I support Cat Brooks in the upcoming mayoral election. And since I have bi-coastal relations, I support the reelection of Ras Baraka in Newark, New Jersey. As per Black Oakland and Bar-b-Que Becky, she may be the single spark that caused a prairie fire. Over the last years and months, people have asked me what shall we do, where do we go from here? I reminded them of the mantra we used to chant at high school football games, "Push 'em back, push 'em back, way back!" On Sunday, Black Oakland pushed 'em back by standing up to sick white supremacy in the persona of a woman whom we suspect thought she was doing the right thang. But as we honor the birthday, May 22, of Sun Ra, our master philosopher, he taught me, "Marvin, you can be so right you wrong." So we say to Bar-B-Que Becky, "You so right you wrong! (See my letter Dear White Folks). When the masses of Oakland's North American Africans occupied Lake Merritt, the day after Malcolm X's birthday, and the day after the Bay Area celebrated the transition of our revolutionary sister Kiilu Nathsha, we occupied our land. FYI, Lake Merritt is part of Oakland's Black Arts Movement Business District, established by the Oakland City Council, January 19, 2016. BAMBD extends from the 14th Street corridor of the Lower Bottom to Lakeorni Merritt, and four blocks north and south along 14th. Thus, Lake Merritt is park of the Black Arts Movement Business District and as per the future of the lake, we shall demand a voice in the planning and rules and regulations of Lake Merritt. Those who plan to make our presence at the Lake a regular affair, should understand the lake is already part of our turf and we should approach City of Oakland officials from a position of power and equity, especially since our BAMBD District is party of the City's Downtown Plan for the next 25 to 50 years. I arrived late in the afternoon, still there were thousands of Blacks at the lake, bar-b-quin, drinkin', smokin', lovin', resistin', liberatin', they passed by me after I set up my Academy of da Corner Lake Merritt, Lakeshore and Hanover Streets, down the block from my apartment and near the spot where we dumped my brother's ashes. He lived up the street on Hanover, around the corner from me. A lifetime criminal, he wanted his remains in the Lake. He wanted no funeral and didn't want, "Nobody to say a mothafuckin thang about him." I loved my oldest brother, Ollie, one year older than myself, and missed him dearly since he spent most of his life incarcerated, from California Youth Authority to his tour throughout California's Department of Correctional centers of rehabilitation, Soledad, San Quentin, Folsom, et al., including Washington State's McNeil Island. I am taking the same attitude as my brother: throw my ashes in Lake Merritt, and don't say a mothafuckin thang about me, after all, ain't no funeral or memorial service gonna help me! And ain't nobody bout to do the last rites I want: 100 naked black warriors with AK47s and 100 naked warrior queens with Ak47s marching and dancing from the Lower Bottom of 14th to Lake Merritt. Now chew on dat! Otherwise, don't say a mothafuckin' thang bout me.
]t appears we have liberated Lake Merritt, a space we could not occupy while growing up in West Oakland. As I remember, Blacks were only allowed at the lake on holidays like the 4th of July, otherwise, you might get your ass kicked by racist white boys. My brother informed me we were allowed a certain section of the lake. I didn't know that! I made it down the street to the lake when I got a call the revolution was at the Lake. A day or two before, Dr. Nathan Hare had left me a voicemail that said, "Where is the revolutionary when the revolution needs him?" After the call, I packed propaganda to distribute, along with my books and the books of Drs. Nathan and Julia Hare. The brother who called me told me the lake was full of us and smoke from bar-b-que and marijuana. He said Lakeshore Ave. was jammed with traffic and I should not drive down to the area. Ignoring his advice, I packed my car and proceeded to the lake. Soon as I arrived at Hanover and Lakeshore, a friend of mine was departing so I told him hold up, I want his space. He did so, and I parked next to another hustler friend who was selling plants. Since it was after four o'clock, he told me he had made his money and was packing up. But while doing so, he observed me asking for donations as I passede out my Movement Newspaper and copies of Dr. Hare's The Black Agenda. My plant selling friend observed me "take" a twenty dollar donation from a brother, simply by asking for it. He was mystified when the brother handed me a twenty dollar bill, but the brother said he was blessing me because it was Ramadan and he knew he was going to receive a greater blessing!
Massive anti-racism party in park where woman called police on black family’s BBQ
This might just be the perfect way to hit back at racism
There was a massive amount of food at the protest party held in Oakland, California.
Debbie Teashon wrote: ‘What parks are for! To be used to celebrate! What a celebration, YAY!’
And Comelia Shawnae added: ‘It’s so diverse at that! All the different smells!! All types of seasonings!! All the food!! All the togetherness!! I love it!!!!’
But beyond the happy scenes is a disturbing trend of harassment of law-abiding black Americans.
Police were called because a student at Yale University fell asleep in a common room, while a group of black woman were met by officers as they checked out of an Airbnb house where they had been staying.