Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Sent: Tue, August 17, 2010 8:10:31 AM
Subject: Re: URGENT: Support Afrika Today on KPFA and Baba Walter Turner!!!
As a listener of KPFA since 1962, the station has some positives and negatives. On the positive it is a source of left of center information. But on the negative, I suspect it is an underground Zionist entity. They will tell us about Hamas and Hezbollah, but we never hear directly from Hamas and/or Hezbollah, and this includes that undergound Zionist Amy Goodman. KPFA does not escape Ishmael Reed's labeling as a Jim Crow Media. The majority of the programing is white supremacy in the guise of liberalism and/or radicalism. Their desire to move Walt Turner from Monday night is but a white supremacy move to get Africans off prime time. Greg Bridges informed me they shall be moving on his program as well, Transitions on Tradition, that follows Walt Turner on Monday nights. A brother who recently departed KPFA said he was leaving because it was a Cointelpro entity. There are definitely persons on the air who are suspected agent provocateurs. The station recently had to disclaim their remarks made on the air.
Yes, we need Walk Turner, but we need to move beyond Jim Crow media and its Nigger Breakers as Ishmael entitled his latest book: Obama and the Jim Crow Media, and the Nigger Breakers, Baraka Press, Canada. In short, whites are the minority in the world and shortly in the US, therefore the majority programing should be from ethnic groups who are non-white.
Academy of Da Corner
14th and Broadway,
Sent: Mon, August 16, 2010 10:48:26 PM
Subject: URGENT: Support Afrika Today on KPFA and Baba Walter Turner!!!
From: Runoko Rashidi
To: Runoko Rashidi
Sent: Sun, July 25, 2010 9:52:32 PM
Subject: [SOA] SUPPORT "AFRICA TODAY"
I am forwarding you this urgent message below from our Brother Walter Turner regarding a proposed program change from the KPFA's acting General Manager which would in short end brother Walter's ability to host the much needed "Africa Today" program. This could mean the end of this program as we know and depend on it as a media source for both local, national, and international news on the African Continent and the African Diaspora. We must support this Brother by writing the KPFA folks below and letting them know that we don't support their idea of the time change.
I ask you all both locally and out of the area to please take a small bit of your time and let these people know how we feel about losing that space and particularly our media scribe Brother Walter's ability to host this program. Brother Walter does not get paid for his effort of hosting this program so we are not talking about someone's job. This is this Brothers service to African People. Let's show a strong unity in this small but large segment of our struggle for uplifting our people.
Africa Today/ KPFA/ Your support is needed
From: Walter Turner Host/ Producer/Africa Today / KPFA
I am contacting you as a supporter and or long time listener of the
Program “Africa Today” on KPFA Radio in Berkeley, California.
AFRICA TODAY has been aired in various formats on KPFA Radio for more than 30 years. The initial host of Africa Today was Faraha Hayati and I have now hosted the program for more than 20 years.
I have been informed by Amelia Gonzalez, the Acting Assisitant General Manager of KPFA that there is a proposal to change the time slot of Africa Today from 7PM on Monday evenings to 11AM during a weekday. This time change will effectively end my ability to produce and host Africa Today.
I have attached a letter to the Acting Assistant General Mangager which explains my specific concerns regarding the proposed change and the impact that it will on my ability to host and produce the program.
Africa Today on KPFA is one of a very few national media programs that focuses on the Africa continent. Africa Today is a resource that our global community can not afford to lose. Please voice your support and work with others to voice collective support for the retention of Africa Today, in its current time slot, on KPFA Radio.
Please voice your individual and collective concerns to the following members of the KPFA administrative staff at your earliest convenience.
Amelia Gonzalez [ email@example.com)
Acting Asisting General Manager and Development Director
Ahmad Anderson ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Interim General Manager
"Take your steps... and, let our Divine do the rest. Walk in Faith... on each and every day!"
Sunday, August 15, 2010
1. Turn off TVs and remove them from your house.
2. Stop buying white supremacy movies and white movies in black face.
3. Stop your woman and children from buying goods at white supremacy malls and stores.
4. Stop buying food that contributes to you getting white supremacy diseases. Most of the food is grown in oil, not soil. So you go from the petrochemical food to the pharmaceutical legal drug dealers in conspiracy with the doctor, nurses and undertaker, as described by Elijah Muhammad in the Myth of Yacub.
5. Stop believing in any myths, stories, tales, from the white man, including his religious myths, male/female myths of ownership and domination, or the socalled Patriarchy. As Dr. Nathan Hare teaches us, everything the white man says is a lie until proven to be a fact. This is Dr. Hare's "fictive theory." Furthermore, don't believe anything nigguhs say either until proven to be a fact.
6. Be in this world but not of this world. Stop worshiping white values and rituals such as Xmas, Easter, 4th of July, New Years (the day slaves were auctioned).
7. Think outside the box of white philosophy, psychology, sociology, economics, history, linguistics.
8. Communicate with your mate by silence, not yapping day and night on the cell phone, talking loud but saying nothing, Mr. Loud and Wrong, as James Brown told us. Use ESP.
9. Detox your children in all the above or they shall grow up to be little devils, ungrateful bastards we call them, who will hate everything you are about, especially after you send them to the white man's colleges and universities to be edumaked. They will hate you because they have been brainwashed by the devil, yet they don't even know what you are about, as Amiri Baraka has said. And if you ain't about freedom, liberation,
land and sovereignty, you ain't about nothing, just a another nigguh in the woodpile, cannon fodder, fuel for the devil's fire.
10. Discard slavery religion and come into spiritual consciousness: you are within God and God is within you. Ain't nobody who's been dead two thousand years coming back to save you.Forget this fairy tale and live life to the fullest, your heaven and hell are right here on earth. Have any of the men and women who've been to outter space seen heaven during their journey? Did they see God in space? Angels? Surely, they should have passed God on their way to space or on the way home!
See How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy by Dr. M (Marvin X), Black Bird Press, 2007, 1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley Ca 94702, $19.95.
It was a down period in her life but she was an honored guest for she was a shero of mine as a sassy, arrogant, uncompromising soul sista, the kind we need today. When she entered my apartment, I remember giving her a long, hard hug for all she meant to me and our people. Peace and love, Abbey!
Posted: 14 Aug 2010 05:27 PM PDT
Abbey Lincoln, Jazz Singer and Writer, Dies at 80
By NATE CHINEN
Published: August 14, 2010
Abbey Lincoln, a singer whose dramatic vocal command and tersely poetic songs made her a singular figure in jazz, died on Saturday in Manhattan. She was 80 and lived on the Upper West Side.
Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times
Her death was announced by her brother David Wooldridge.
Ms. Lincoln’s career encompassed outspoken civil rights advocacy in the 1960s and fearless introspection in more recent years, and for a time in the 1960s she acted in films, including one with Sidney Poitier.
Long recognized as one of jazz’s most arresting and uncompromising singers, Ms. Lincoln gained similar stature as a songwriter only over the last two decades. Her songs, rich in metaphor and philosophical reflection, provide the substance of “Abbey Sings Abbey,” an album released on Verve in 2007. As a body of work, the songs formed the basis of a three-concert retrospective presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2002.
Her singing style was unique, a combined result of bold projection and expressive restraint. Because of her ability to inhabit the emotional dimensions of a song, she was often likened to Billie Holiday, her chief influence. But Ms. Lincoln had a deeper register and a darker tone, and her way with phrasing was more declarative.
“Her utter individuality and intensely passionate delivery can leave an audience breathless with the tension of real drama,” Peter Watrous wrote in The New York Times in 1989. “A slight, curling phrase is laden with significance, and the tone of her voice can signify hidden welts of emotion.”
She had a profound influence on other jazz vocalists, not only as a singer and composer but also as a role model. “I learned a lot about taking a different path from Abbey,” the singer Cassandra Wilson said. “Investing your lyrics with what your life is about in the moment.”
Ms. Lincoln was born Anna Marie Wooldridge in Chicago on Aug. 6, 1930, the 10th of 12 children, and raised in rural Michigan. In the early 1950s, she headed west in search of a singing career, spending two years as a nightclub attraction in Honolulu, where she met Ms. Holiday and Louis Armstrong. She then moved to Los Angeles, where she encountered the accomplished lyricist Bob Russell.
It was at the suggestion of Mr. Russell, who had become her manager, that she took the name Abbey Lincoln, a symbolic conjoining of Westminster Abbey and Abraham Lincoln. In 1956, she made her first album, “Affair ... a Story of a Girl in Love” (Liberty), and appeared in her first film, the Jayne Mansfield vehicle “The Girl Can’t Help It.” Her image in both cases was decidedly glamorous: On the album cover she was depicted in a décolleté gown, and in the movie she sported a dress once worn by Marilyn Monroe.
For her second album, “That’s Him,” released on the Riverside label in 1957, Ms. Lincoln kept the seductive pose but worked convincingly with a modern jazz ensemble that included the tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins and the drummer Max Roach. In short order she came under the influence of Mr. Roach, a bebop pioneer with an ardent interest in progressive causes. As she later recalled, she put the Monroe dress in an incinerator and followed his lead.
The most visible manifestation of their partnership was “We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite,” issued on the Candid label in 1960, with Ms. Lincoln belting Oscar Brown Jr.’s lyrics. Now hailed as an early masterwork of the civil rights movement, the album radicalized Ms. Lincoln’s reputation. One movement had her moaning in sorrow, and then hollering and shrieking in anguish — a stark evocation of struggle. A year later, after Ms. Lincoln sang her own lyrics to a song called “Retribution,” her stance prompted one prominent reviewer to deride her in print as a “professional Negro.”
Ms. Lincoln, who married Mr. Roach in 1962, was for a while more active as an actress than a singer. In 1964 she starred with Ivan Dixon in “Nothing but a Man,” a tale of the Deep South in the 1960s, and in 1968 she was the title character opposite Mr. Poitier in the romantic comedy “For Love of Ivy,” playing a white family’s maid. She also acted on television in guest-starring roles in the ’60s and ’70s.
But with the exception of “Straight Ahead” (Candid), on which “Retribution” appeared, she released no albums in the 1960s. And after her divorce from Mr. Roach in 1970, she took an apartment above a garage in Los Angeles and withdrew from the spotlight for a time. She never remarried.
In addition to Mr. Wooldridge, Ms. Lincoln is survived by another brother, Kenneth Wooldridge, and a sister, Juanita Baker.
During a visit to Africa in 1972, Ms. Lincoln received two honorary appellations from political officials: Moseka, in Zaire, and Aminata, in Guinea. (Moseka would occasionally serve as her surname.) She began to consider her calling as a storyteller and focused on writing songs.
Moving back to New York in the 1980s, Ms. Lincoln resumed performing, eventually attracting the attention of Jean-Philippe Allard, a producer and executive with PolyGram France. Ms. Lincoln’s first effort for what is now the Verve Music Group, “The World Is Falling Down” (1990), was a commercial and critical success.
Eight more albums followed in a similar vein, each produced by Mr. Allard and enlisting top-shelf jazz musicians like the tenor saxophonist Stan Getz and the vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. In addition to elegant originals like “Throw It Away” and “When I’m Called Home,” the albums featured Ms. Lincoln’s striking interpretations of material ranging from songbook standards to Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.”
For “Abbey Sings Abbey” Ms. Lincoln revisited her own songbook exclusively, performing in an acoustic roots-music setting that emphasized her affinities with singer-songwriters like Mr. Dylan. Overseen by Mr. Allard and the American producer-engineer Jay Newland, the album boiled each song to its essence and found Ms. Lincoln in weathered voice but superlative form.
When the album was released in May 2007, Ms. Lincoln was recovering from open-heart surgery. In her Upper West Side apartment, surrounded by her own paintings and drawings, she reflected on her life, often quoting from her own song lyrics. After she recited a long passage from “The World Is Falling Down,” one of her more prominent later songs, her eyes flashed with pride. “I don’t know why anybody would give that up,” she said. “I wouldn’t. Makes my life worthwhile.”
Abbey Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
"I HAD a chance to be myself, and I was,” Abbey Lincoln said one recent afternoon, in a corner parlor of her spacious but unassuming ground-floor apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. This 76-year-old jazz legend was summing up her new album, “Abbey Sings Abbey” (Verve), but she could have been describing the central theme of her long and colorful career. On the walls around her were dozens of artifacts — photographs of her with jazz greats, plaques from politicians and family portraits she painted — attesting to the fullness of that story. Dominating the room was a piano, the instrument with which she wrote many of her symbolically charged and self-reflective songs.
Ms. Lincoln was on the mend from recent open-heart surgery, which might nudge anyone toward rumination. But sitting on a couch in loose clothing, she was as matter-of-fact about her health as she is about her work. Long recognized as one of jazz’s most arresting and uncompromising singers, she has more recently been celebrated as a gifted lyricist and composer. She is the rare jazz singer who writes her own songs, and the rare jazz songwriter whose music conveys the lessons of her life, like, “You can never lose a thing if it belongs to you.”
“Abbey Sings Abbey,” which is out on Tuesday, captures the depth of her art with majestic serenity and bittersweet clarity. As the title suggests, it looks back on her original songs, the first time Ms. Lincoln has dedicated a full album to her own work. Another first: It surrounds her richly textured voice with acoustic and pedal steel guitars, accordion and mandolin, in an American roots-music style. “For some reason,” she said, “it’s better than anything I’ve done before.”
And Ms. Lincoln — who was born Anna Marie Wooldridge, the 10th of 12 children — has done quite a lot in her five-decade-plus career. Her songs are almost certainly her proudest achievement, an impression she reinforces by quoting them liberally, and commandingly, in conversation. “I’m a philosopher, you know,” she said, several minutes into an interview marked at first by wariness, then candor and humor. She frequently reached back into her history, reminiscing even about the things she’s glad to have left behind.
Fifty years ago Ms. Lincoln was on track to become a film and cabaret siren, appearing in the Jayne Mansfield movie “The Girl Can’t Help It,” and on the cover of her 1956 debut, “Affair ... Story of a Girl in Love,” in a décolleté dress and a come-hither pose. She had already spent two years in Honolulu as a supper-club attraction. “I was a glamour queen there too,” she said, smiling faintly. “I met Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday. I’d do my show and run to see Billie. She’d stand on the stage and never move, except for her eyes.”
Ms. Lincoln would eventually be hailed as a successor to Holiday, for her interpretive prowess as well as a slight resemblance between their grainy yet supple vocal timbres. But that accolade was well beyond the horizon when she left Hawaii for Los Angeles, where she met the lyricist Bob Russell, who became her manager. “One time he told me, ‘SinceAbraham Lincoln didn’t free the slaves, maybe you could handle it,’ ” she recalled with a laugh. “He named me Abbey Lincoln.”
Emancipation became a genuine preoccupation for Ms. Lincoln after she met Max Roach, the maverick bebop drummer she credits with “helping me find myself”; they married in 1962. In New York Mr. Roach brought her into his world of artistic experimentation and political engagement. Ms. Lincoln cut herself loose from her satiny image. She’s fond of recalling the emblematic moment when she burned the dress she sported in “The Girl Can’t Help It,” which had previously been worn by Marilyn Monroe. By 1960 she was vocalizing with a raw, spine-tingling power in Mr. Roach’s “We Insist! Freedom Now Suite,” a momentous civil-rights anthem.
In 1961 Ms. Lincoln made some early forays into lyric writing on an album called “Straight Ahead” (Candid) that sparked a public discussion about racial prejudice in jazz, after one reviewer derided Ms. Lincoln as a “professional Negro.” She seems to view those tensions now in an almost clinical light. “People remember you for what you stood for,” she said simply. “And if you didn’t stand for anything, they remember that too.”
One song Ms. Lincoln versified on “Straight Ahead” was “Blue Monk,” by the pianist Thelonious Monk, who stopped by the recording studio to bestow his blessing. “He whispered in my ear just as he was leaving, ‘Don’t be so perfect,’ ” she said. That bit of advice has stayed with her over the years. “Blue Monk” opens the new album.
It wasn’t until her 40s that Ms. Lincoln began to come into her own as a composer. After her divorce from Mr. Roach in 1970, she withdrew from the spotlight, taking an apartment above a garage in Los Angeles. She released an album after a revelatory trip to Africa in 1972, but otherwise directed most of her energies inward. Her songs reflected that spirit of introspection. “I got some people in me,” she wrote.
Moving back to New York in the 1980s she resumed performing, eventually attracting the attention of Jean-Philippe Allard, a producer and executive with Polygram France. Ms. Lincoln’s first effort for what is now the Verve Music Group, “The World Is Falling Down” in 1990, was a commercial and critical success and eight more albums followed, each involving elite jazz musicians and refined jazz arrangements.
The new album purposefully departs from that formula. Mr. Allard, speaking from Paris, said that he and Jay Newland, the engineer on almost all of those Verve releases, had long shared a quiet conviction. “Abbey’s songs have this folk element that is not well represented in a jazz context sometimes,” he said.
Mr. Newland, who produced “Abbey Sings Abbey” with Mr. Allard, traces the concept for the album back at least a decade, to a recording Ms. Lincoln made of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” She’s a singer-songwriter too, Mr. Newland recalled thinking at the time.
The idea was rekindled last year, when the producers worked together on an album by the Afro-European pop singer Ayo. Among the songs they recorded was Ms. Lincoln’s “And It’s Supposed to Be Love,” in a new arrangement driven by the guitarist (and as it happens, former Dylan sideman) Larry Campbell. Mr. Campbell was tasked with paring down a number of Ms. Lincoln’s other songs, in preparation for a recording session.
“I was a little skeptical,” Mr. Campbell said by cellphone, driving near Nashville. “How do you take all these really sophisticated harmonic structures and break them down to virtually folk songs?”
It turned out to be easy once he was in the studio with the versatile jazz bassist Scott Colley and the prolific rock drummer Shawn Pelton. Many of Ms. Lincoln’s songs employ a verse-chorus structure more in line with folk songs than jazz standards; some, like “The Music Is the Magic,” resemble nursery rhymes. Though the three musicians had never worked together before, they quickly devised a gently twangy atmosphere for the songs. Later the arranger Gil Goldstein fleshed out some tracks, adding his own deft accordion lines, along with parts for a cellist, Dave Eggar.
Ms. Lincoln exudes a powerful authority throughout the album, whether striking a quietly wistful note on “Should’ve Been” or appealing to a distant creator in “Down Here Below.” Her flickering alto sounds ratified by age; her phrasing is subtle and sure.
“I’ve got about 15 years on some of the songs, so it’s supposed to be a little different,” she said. “If I was imitating myself, that would be pitiful.”
Many more singers are likely to mine Ms. Lincoln’s songs, given that “Abbey Sings Abbey” presents them so clearly, and with so few adornments. Earlier this year the jazz vocalist Kendra Shank released “A Spirit Free: Abbey Lincoln Songbook” (Challenge). Her advice to any artist would be “to sing your own song,” Ms. Lincoln said. “Don’t look to me, look to yourself.” Still, she noted with evident satisfaction a report she had received: a couple of nights earlier, a singer in a club had been pressured by an audience member into singing “Throw It Away,” one of her signature songs.
The singer was Cassandra Wilson, who recorded the song on a recent album, and who has often worked with the rootsy instrumentation now being used by Ms. Lincoln. “I learned a lot about taking a different path from Abbey,” Ms. Wilson said. “Investing your lyrics with what your life is about in the moment.”
That includes the tougher moments, of which Ms. Lincoln has lately had a few. Sitting on her couch, surrounded by the totems of her life, she repeatedly admitted to a lingering fatigue. “I didn’t come here to stay forever, I know that,” she said. “So if they want to bring me home, I’ll be glad to go. It’s easy for me to say it, but I mean it too.” She has vague plans to bequeath her apartment to the community as an arts center: Moseka House, after the name she was given 35 years ago by an official in Zaire.
Of course her greatest legacy will be her music, which she isn’t ready to relinquish. “They’re my songs, and I sang ’em and I’ll sing ’em,” she said. “It’s not the last time I’ll sing ’em, either.” In August she will headline both days of the 15th Annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, which takes place in Harlem and the East Village.
“All along the way there were things to do/always some other someone I could be,” Ms. Lincoln said, citing lines from “Being Me,” which closes the album with a rumination on her lifelong search for an honest self. “Abbey Sings Abbey” is the manifestation of that search, a study in gravity and wisdom that could only have come, one suspects, at this point in her career.
“I should be excellent by now,” Ms. Lincoln said. “Otherwise, when is it going to be?” She drew herself up into a regal posture, grinning mischievously. “I’m baaaaaad.”
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I’m Black When I’m Singing, I’m Blue When I Ain’t and Other Plays
This collection brings together for the first time the plays of Sonia Sanchez, a prolific, award-winning poet and one of the most prominent writers in the Black Arts movement. In addition to Sanchez’s five previously published plays The Bronx Is Next (1970), Dirty Hearts (1971), Sister Son/ji (1972), Malcolm/Man Don’t Live Here No Mo (1979) Uh, Uh; But How Do It Free Us? (1975), and , the collection also includes her two unpublished plays, I’m Black When I’m Singing, I’m Blue When I Ain’t (1982) and 2 x 2 (2009). It reveals the thematic and formal exchanges between Sanchez’s poetry and dramatic works over the course of four decades. Sanchez emerged as a black nationalist poet and playwright in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Like her poetry, her dramas reflect her critique of the racism and sexism that she encountered as a young female writer in the black militant community, her ongoing concern with the well-being of the black community, and her commitment to social justice. I’m Black When I’m Singing, I’m Blue When I Ain’t and Other Plays includes three essays in which Sanchez reflects on her art and activism, and an introduction by Jacqueline Wood situating Sanchez’s plays in relation to her poetry, activism, and the feminist dramatic voice in black revolutionary art.
“Sonia Sanchez remains one of the most read, respected, and visible figures of the Black Arts Movement, as well as its most significant female figure. This volume only adds to that legacy.”—Amiri Baraka
“These seven plays by Sonia Sanchez form an emotional and historic bridge from the loud revolutionary power of the 1960s and the twentieth century to the more insidious and subtle challenges of this first decade of the twenty-first. Their power lies in their ability to present super/real snapshots of their time and circumstance with the mystic clarity that mixing poetry and drama can create. From The Bronx Is Next, where Brothers prepare to burn down Harlem tenements, to 2 X 2, where Beverly and Ramona Smith find one another, Sonia’s persistent call to Blacks—and especially to women—is to find the strength to assemble our ghosts and demons, confront them, and lay them to rest. The plays are startling and open us to a Sonia Sanchez whose vision can see the world as stage, or, perhaps, stage as the world.”—Charles Fuller
“Poet Sonia Sanchez deserves a Nobel for her lyrical representation and advocacy of the universal black woman.”—Ed Bullins
“Whether I encounter Sonia in poetry, prose, or drama, I am always struck by the fearlessness of her intellect, the effortless musicality of her language, and her commitment to putting these gifts—always—in service of the Struggle. I rejoice for those who, through this book, will encounter Sonia for the first time.”—Ruby Dee
I've often equated Sonia as my female counterpart, artistically, linguistically and emotionally, even though she is my elder, yet my comrade in the arts and revolution. Her works often reflect a similar pain and agony in our personal lives, yet the strength to continue on.
I know no poet, especially female, who can match the depth of her effort to search her soul for the truth of her life and ours. Like many of us in BAM, she is both poet/playwright, thus her poetry is dramatic and her drama poetic.
--Marvin X, Black Bird Presss
Monday, August 9, 2010
White America Discovers Marvin X--Fifty Years Later
Marvin X and his Academy of Da Corner rocked the San Francisco Theatre Festival today. Not only did the largely white audience enjoy his very first play Flowers for the Trashman, 1965, produced by the drama department at San Francisco State University, but they enjoyed as well his current production of The Wisdom of Plato Negro, Parables/fables.
Additionally, the audience was blessed with the productions of his two top drama students, Ayodele Nzingha, Lower Bottom Playaz, and Geoffrey Grier, San Francisco Recovery Theatre. Both playwrights, actors and directors evolved from the mentoring of Marvin X.
Ayodele as actress, director and producer was consummate in her rendition of Opal Palmer Adisa's Bathroom Graffiti Queen. Since an actor can only excel when given a proper script, we must acknowledge the fine writing of Opal Palmer Adisa. But the actor takes the script to the next level of excellence and Ayo surpassed the script with her acting ability.
Her Lower Bottom Playaz performed in grand manner Marvin X's first play Flowers for the Tashman. The playwright was totally pleased with the young men who delivered the drama in the classical form it deserved after a half century in the Black Arts Movement.
Ayo's Mama at Twilight remains a touching story of denial and faith in the family drama about HIV/AIDS. The Lower Bottom Playaz of West Oakland, childhood home of Marvin X, have had time to become well skilled in the presentation of their repertory. All the actors must be congratulated. Someone mentioned they were especially happy to see the young men's performance in Flowers for the Trashman.
Geoffrey Grier's plays, Jet, The Spot, and Night at the Blackhawk, are equally honorable and worthy of praise. We especially enjoyed his production of Amiri Baraka's Dutchman. The audience enjoyed it as well. Even though we may have wanted a younger actor to perform the role of Clay, the person who did it was so skillful we excused his age.
It was amazing to see that Flowers for the Trashman and the Dutchman are indeed classics that have withstood the test of time. Fifty years later they are still relevant and powerful dramas of black consciousness in America. Lula said to Clay that it's all about your manhood. And so it is.
The day ended with the Wisdom of Plato Negro, Parables/fables by Marvin X. The mostly white audience sat in anticipation as members of Academy of the Corner Reader's Theatre gathered on stage. Marvin X opened with singer/guitarist Rashidah Sabreen's original song A Real Love, joined by Marvin's poem What is Love. The audience sensed they were in for something different.
Paradise Jah Love came with Parable of the Penguin, then Parable of Oakland's Day of Absence, recounting the day the Oscar Grant verdict was announced. It was a communal ritual read also by Talibah, who joined with her drum. It the background was the music of Elliott Bey's synthesizer. Rashidah added dance numbers. The group held up poster pictures of Oscar Grant.
Mechelle LaChaux performed Parable of the Cell Phone. The audience went stone wild. Mechelle is an actress and singer, so her linguistic flexibility is unmatched. Marvin X's language will put Tyler Perry in pre-school. Critic Wanda Sabir said his language will "knock the socks off old ladies." Well, there were several senior women in the audience who didn't miss a linguistic beat.
We think the hottest piece was Parable of the Woman in the Box, performed by choreographer/dancer Raynetta Rayzetta, accompanied by Rashidah. Raynetta is X's favorite choreographer/dancer. She had the audience inside the box with her, as someone said.
X ended with his poem You Don't Know Me, accompanied by a Rashidah Sebreen original song.
White America has discovered Marvin X! Yes, fifty years later!
The USA's Rumi...the politics of Baraka, the ecstasy of Hafiz, the wisdom of Saadi....
--Bob Holman, Bowery Poetry Club, New York City
If you want to learn about motiviation and inspiration, don't spend all that money going to workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland, and watch Marvin X at work. He's Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Academy of Da Corner Reader's Theater
Academy of Da Corner Reader's Theatre performed at Third Eye Video tonight. They were the bomb! Oakland will never be the same, the universe will not be the same, not after tonight's performance that was merely a dress rehearsal for Sunday's performance at the San Francisco Theatre Festival.
This was ritual theatre at its finest, the realization of what we attempted during the 60s at the New Lafayette Theatre in Harlem and Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre in the same location. Of course Marvin X perfected ritual theatre with his production The Resurrection of the Dead, a myth-ritual dance drama at his Black Educational Theatre in the Fillmore of San Francisco, 1972.
All the elements were in use tonight. The event began with a monologue by Marvin X, accompanied by the music of Elliott Bey, Marvin's long-time associate who performs with X coast to coast. Elliott is a Philly native who established Recovery Theatre East to carry out X's notion of theatre. They did a classic concert in Philly at Warm Daddies, along with members of Sun Ra's Arkestra, Marshall Allen, Danny Thompson and Noel, plus Rufus Harley on bagpipes, also Alexander El and Ancestor Goldsky.
Tonight Elliott Bey provided the music for the entire set with his synthesizer, in the Sun Ra tradition. But his sounds were joined by the vocals and guitar of Rashidah Sabreen who entered after X's monologue on the theme of his controversial Mythology of Pussy and Dick.
The host of Third Eye Video, Sister Beverley co-signed his Mythology because it helped heal her pussy issues. She thanked Marvin for getting her out of the box of pathological sexuality.
Marvin X's concert formally began at this point with an original song by Rashidah, accompanied by X's poem What is Love. The audience went wild. But the show hadn't started.
Enter Paradise reciting Parable of the Penguin, a mockery of the brothers with sagging pants walking like a duck or penguin.
And then came Parable of the Day of Absence, read by Talibah, Paradise and a chorus that included the audience who held up posters with the face of Oscar Grant. The audience joined with the chorus in chanting lines from the parable that described the moment in the Bay Area before the verdict was announced in the murder trial of the officer who killed Oscar Grant as he lay on the ground. This was the height of communal ritual drama, but there was more to come.
Enter Mechelle LaChaux reading Parable of the Cell Phone. Marvin X read the preface to her intro. The parable is a mockery of cell phone users. The woman on the cell phone is at her funeral, in her coffin, yet talking to her girlfriend on the phone. It is classic Marvin X language that he has utilized since his first published writings appeared in Soulbook magazine, circa 1964.
Mechelle stole the show, except the ritual master wasn't finished. Next came Parable of the Woman in the Box, choreographed by Raynetta Rayzetta, Marvjn's favorite choreographer.
She can interpret every word of his poetry. Marvin read the parable as she danced using only her upper body until the end when she made her exit dancing to Yolanda Adams. Rashidah accompanied her while she was in the box. The parable is a metaphor of all human beings caught in the box of mythology and self confining ritual. The audience sat stunned.
Marvin concluded the ritual with a song by Rashidah and his poem You Don't Know Me. The poem is the essence of his message in Mythology of Pussy and Dick. We are lovers yet we don't know each other, we are strangers in the night and in the day.
This was only a dress rehearsal but the audience was blown away, far far away. Even the performers could not believe what they'd done, yet it was what it was.
We can't wait until Sunday's performance at the San Francisco Theatre Festival. The last time Marvin X performed at the festival the whites walked out. We don't think they will be able to walk out this time--their paralysis might be too severe! Call the paramedics!
San Francisco Academy of Da Corner
Marvin X's (aka Plato Negro) Academy of Da Corner will soon open a branch in San Francisco's Hunters Point District at Third and LaSalle Streets. He will conduct his Academy outside Tony's gear shop, Da Corner. Tony is a longtime associate who spent years with X during his Crack addiction days in San Francisco's Tenderloin. Today they stood outside Da Corner recalling those horrible days and nights in the TL, wondering how and why God blessed them to survive while so many friends made their transition. Tony recovered and became an entrepreneur, X resumed his writing career.
X's Academy of Da Corner Reader's Theatre performs Sunday at the San Francisco Theatre Festival, Yerba Buena Center, 4th and Mission, downtown. Readers and performers include Rashidah Sabreen, vocalist, guitarist, Mechelle LaChaux, singer/actress, Talibah, actress, Paradise, actor/poet, Eugene Allen, reader/actor, Valarie Harvey, author, Rayzetta Raynetta, choreographer/dancer, Elliott Bey, keyboards.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy by Marvin X (Dr. M)
By Dr. Nathan Hare
Call him Dr. M, as I do, though I’ve known him by other names in other places and, like Diogenes, who went around holding up a lantern to the faces of the people he would meet in the streets of ancient Athens looking for an honest man, I have come to the realization that we as a people have been waiting and looking for somebody like Dr. M to come along for more than half a century, ever since America was stunned by The Mark of Oppression (the Jim Crow era book by two white liberal psychiatrists whose findings had brought them to the heartfelt conclusion that the race of people called “Negroes” was “crushed.”
In only four years after their epitaph was written, Negroes (now called “blacks,” “Blacks,” “Afro-Americans,” “African-Americans,” or as Dr. M sometimes calls them “American Africans”) had exploded in Montgomery with passive resistance. In four more years the “sit-in movement” broke out among the youth, followed like a one-two punch by the so-called “freedom riders” (roving bands of individuals who boarded and defied the segregation of interstate vehicles and included a future student of mine on spring break from Howard University by the name of Stokely Carmichael). Then came “Black Power,” in the context of which I first heard of a man who had metamorphosed from the slave-name Marvin Jackmon into a prominent “North American African poet” who went by the name of Marvin X (the X connoting “the unknown”).
While, despite the fact that I have known him through the intervening years, I cannot unravel every single quality of the brother, I can testify that Dr. M is a brand new Marvin, a Dr. Marvin, a social doctor, if you will, with a gift and a mission for a new black movement. I know this to be true because, aside from my Ph.D. and years of experience in the practice of clinical psychology, I specialized in the study of social movements for a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Chicago. But more than that, I have watched a dedicated Dr. M, up close and clinically, going about his fearless work in the mean streets of San Francisco. Over a period of many months, on many a dark and dreary sometimes rainy Wednesday night, I served as a consultant in clinical psychology to Dr. M’s “Black Reconstruction Group” (the pilot to his twelve-step model now unveiled in this important book on “How to Recover from Addiction to White Supremacy.” In the Recovery Theatre’s pilot groups, I sat with diverse and ad hoc coteries of men and women gathered impromptu in the austere basement of a Catholic church, St. Boniface, located in the heart of The Tenderloin, the highest crime district in San Francisco, just down a few blocks from the famous Glide Memorial Methodist Church. Many a night I marveled at the ease with which Dr. M and his talented co-facilitator, Suzette Celeste brought out trickles of lost and unleashed hope and inspiration in the minds of destitute and degraded street people as well as in the confused and empty psyches of invited members of the black bourgeoisie who, still trying to be unbroken, had come where not many “bourgies” would dare to tread.
On many an appointed night I stood by silently looking on while Dr. M and his collaborators sauntered out into the shadowy mysteries of dilapidated streets to solicit and harness hapless homeless men and a woman or two and bring them in to meet as equals with the anxious representatives of the black bourgeoisie who had dared to cross momentarily back over their tentative territorial and social boundaries. This of course is not recommended for the feeble or the fainthearted; because, until the revolution comes, or the proletariat triumphs, there will be difficulties and perils in chance encounters of the social classes. So I must hasten to explain that a security conscious Dr. M was operating within a safety net of collaborators competent in the martial arts; like Geoffrey Grier, who has been an international martial arts competitor and is a son of a black psychiatrist, Dr. William Grier, coauthor with Dr. Price Cobb of the late 1960s blockbuster, Black Rage.
At the moment when the oppressed have had enough, their rage will explode -- Fanon had warned us in The Wretched of the Earth -- and it is at that moment, at the very point of mental and spiritual coagulation and defeat, when they will come together and rise. Frantz Fanon went on to tell of a category of reconstruction groups called “’djemaas’ (village assemblies) of northern Africa or in the meetings of western Africa, tradition demands that the quarrels which occur in a village should be settled in public. It is communal self-criticism, of course, and with a note of humor, because everybody is relaxed, and because in the last resort we all want the same things. But the more the intellectual imbibes the atmosphere of the people, the more completely he abandons the habits of calculation, of unwonted silence, of mental reservations, and shakes the spirit of concealment. And it is true that already at that level we can say that it spreads its own light and its own reason.”
However, psychiatric authority for a self-help peer group focus on individual feelings (or addiction) in relation to white supremacy became available anew in the late 1960s, when Jeffrey Grier’s father, Dr. William H. Grier, and his collaborator, Dr. Price M. Cobbs, published Black Rage. Dr. Grier has also consulted with Dr. M and his Recovery Theatre around the time of the pilot trial run of the first “Black Reconstruction Groups.” According to Grier and Cobbs, in the “Introduction to the Paperback Edition” of Black Rage, “The most important aspect of therapy with blacks, we are convinced, is that racist mistreatment must be echoed and underlined as a fact, an unfortunate fact, but a most important fact – a part of reality. Dissatisfaction with such mistreatment is to be expected, and one’s resentment should be of appropriate dimensions” among black warriors who would exact retribution. “Psychiatry for such warriors,” Grier and Cobbs went on to explain, should aim to “keep them fit for the duty at hand and healthy enough to enjoy the victories” that are likely to emerge.
Fitness for duty is a pleasant but likely side effect of Dr. M’s “Black Reconstruction Groups” working to free the minds of persons addicted to white supremacy. This no doubt is no doubt why they do not limit themselves in their group sessions to expressions of resentment of racist mistreatment and dissatisfaction but also calmly allow its hidden effects, which often remain unconscious in the way in which the relentless karate chops of white supremacy have killed our dreams on a daily basis and shattered our ability to love, to feel loved, to love ourselves and therefore one another. I listened with much satisfaction as Dr. M and his assemblies delved into the depths of fractured feelings and emotions of the brokenhearted in order to help them come to terms with betrayal, jealousy and rage, in their moving endeavors to learn to love again.
And so it is that you will find many a reference to love in How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy. This includes, for instance, “Women Who Love” and the motivations of the men who love them.
Dr. M’s own fitness for duty is complex, unique and variegated. According to James W. Sweeney, "Marvin walked through the muck and mire of hell and came out clean as white fish and black as coal." Marvin can boast of “a Ph.D. in Negrology,” as he puts it,” the study of nigguhs” issued by the University of Hardknocks’s College of Hell), based on twelve years of research , independent study , and practicum in San Francisco's Tenderloin and other unlettered social laboratories throughout the United States. There may still be hope, if it pleases you, for Dr. M to join the white man’s system of miseducation and mental health care, when we consider that psychologists, including one of my mentors, the late Dr. Carlton Goodlett, at first were “grandfathered” in when the licensure of psychologists was started in the state of California. Later came the oral exam (conversational, not dental), followed in time by an essay exam, before the boom in “standardized “ multiple choice tests for which workshops were offered to prepare you for a fee, causing excellent practitioners, especially black ones, to be blocked from licensure until they found out and forked over whopping workshop fees .
There is also a burgeoning market opening up in “clinical sociology” and “sociological practice” still cutting out its slice of the marketplace and finding its way in matters of licensure and credentialing in the field of sociology. But here it may be important to say that the self-help peer group does not require a sociological or a mental health professional, any more than the primordial AA groups from which the mental health profession has profited and learned. Dr. M is a social “doctor” (which etymologically means “teacher”) grappling with a social problem, white supremacy and its punishing residue in the minds of oppressed black individuals and white oppressors who have chosen to reject and come to places where their fathers lied. Oppressors pure and simple, who accept white supremacy, must be dealt with in a later context, as you will not very well be able to keep them in a Black Reconstruction or White Supremacy Destruction Group (or White Supremacy Deconstruction, if you will).
Much in the manner of Hegel in his essay on “Master and Slave,” Marvin senses that the oppressor distorts his own mind as well as the mind of the oppressed. Hence Type I and Type II White Supremacy Addiction. White sociologists and the late black psychologist, Bobby Wright, converged in their findings of pathological personality traits (“the authoritarian personality” and “the racial psychopathic personality,” as Bobby put it). But if Hegel was correct in his notion that the oppressor cannot free the slave, that the slave must force the oppressor’s hand, then it is Type II White Supremacy Addiction which if not more resistant to cure, must occupy our primary focus. Type II White Supremacy may be seen as a kind of “niggeritis” or “Negrofication” growing out of an over-identification with the master, who is white. As in any disorder severity of symptoms may vary from mild to moderate or severe. As Frantz Fanon put it when he spoke for the brother with jungle fever in Black Skin, White Mask: “I wish to be regarded as white. If I can be loved by the white woman who is loved by the white man, then I am white like the white man; I am a full human being.” In the twisted mental convolution of a brother in black skin behind a white mask, Fanon observed a “Negro dependency complex” independently chronicled in my own Black Anglo Saxons (black individuals with white minds in black bodies). They struggle to look, think, talk and walk white by day, then go to sleep at night and dream that they will wake up white. They refuse to realize that no matter what they may ever do they will never get out of the black race alive.
On the other hand, you are going to be seeing “nouveau blacks” and lesser Afrocentrics -- who faithfully and unquestionably follow twelve-month years and endeavor even to blackenize the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ -- jumping up to question Dr. M’s re-africanization of the “Twelve Steps” model for “using the Eurocentric twelve steps,” but they forget that the very effort to be practical and collective is the original African way. In any event, we must build on whites as whites have built on us, taking the best of the West and leaving the rest alone. But Dr. M has expressly and creatively added a thirteenth step; for his goal is not just recovery but discovery, his goal is not just to change the individual but to change the individual to get ready to change the world.
Meanwhile there is one thing on which we can all agree: in any serious attempt to solve the bitter mental ravages of white supremacy, we must face the unadulterated fact that we are limited when we look to the institutionalized “profession” and their professional “providers.” This of course is not to say that the institutionalized professionals cannot be helpful. Dr. M is quick to point out that a self-help peer group cannot cure all the diverse neuroses and psychoses that afflict us. Indeed he goes so far as to suggest that some of us “may need to be committed.”
The late Queen Mother Moore (who loved to boast that she had “gone as far as the fourth grade, and stayed in school too long to learn anything”) delighted in going around deconstructing our “slave mentalities” and saying somebody needs to “do some surgery on these Negro minds” – in which Queen Mother had diagnosed a chronic condition she called “oppression psychoneurosis.” Queen Mother Moore was basically joking, that is, laughing to keep from crying, but it is no joke that mental health professionals, operating under the medical model, think nothing of seeing a person suffering from a psychosocial problem and not only treating the victim instead of the problem but – much in the manner of any addict or drug pusher– use or apply chemicals and sometimes chemical abuse to deal with the inability of the “patient” to feel good in a bad place and thrive, to try to “have heart” in a heartless world. Many people are unaware to this very day that the practice once was rampant for psychiatrists to treat a person with chronic mental maladies by subjecting them to lobotomies cutting off a portion of their brains. Shock treatment was another method – you’re shocked by life, let’s shock your brain, Senator Eagleton (who later ran for the vice-presidency in the 1970s on the ticket with George McGovern).
It should never have been any surprise that the mental health profession would be of only partial help in reconstructing the psychic consequences of centuries of prolonged brainwashing and subjugation (this is not to mention “Sicko” and what we know of the crippling new effects of “managed care” on the medical profession). Many mental health experts, the overwhelming majority of them white, have long suggested that the “medical model” may be inappropriate in the treatment of the psychological, not to mention, sociological components of mental illness.
But you don’t have to be a mental health professional or a sociologist to know that we can no longer restrict our search for healing to professional shrinks, raring back in executive chairs and carpeted suites stocked with “psychometric instruments” standardized on the white middle class, far removed from the realities of the concrete social milieu of afflicted and homeless black “subjects” living lives of hardship and subjugation, with no assurance of available treatment.
Even when they are “insured they are limited to the care and treatment some insurance clerk is willing to “authorize.” In matters of mental health, this typically will include a few sessions of “fifty minute hours” of “talk therapy” before leaving with a prescription or chemical palliative to dull agony and the pain but not the punishment of life on the skids in a sick society.
The hour is up and time is running out, black people, but white supremacy is not. We are living now in the final and highest stage of racism and white supremacy. We’ve let our struggle slip back while sitting in classrooms and conferences crooning about “afrocentricity” and ancient African glories that have gone forever.
We have come now to a crossroads. We have lost control of our children’s minds, our future. We have lost their respect, and appear to be on a collision course to a war of words between the black generations, in which hip-hop youth disparage and mock our language, our music and our humanity with a creativity and a rime and a rhythm we can’t fathom, let alone equal in our pitifully fruitless endeavors to eliminate the “n-word” and box with the black-on-black random violence of dissocialized youth who have concluded that adults and their leaders cannot or will not fight the power. Who knows but it may be that Dr. M’s movement of recovery from addiction to and from white supremacy is offering us a final and effective chance to begin to “sit down together,” to get together and get our heads together.
| Foreword by Dr. Nathan Hare |
* * * * *
Toward A Pan African Mental Health Peer Group
A few years ago, I called upon Dr. Nathan Hare, our esteemed sociologist and clinical psychologist, and author of the classic The Black Anglo-Saxons, to establish a mental health group we decided to call Black Reconstruction. Along with Dr. Hare, the group was facilitated by social worker, Suzzette Celeste, MSW, MPA. The group took place at my Recovery Theatre in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district (see the film Pursuit of Happyness). Before the group sessions were disbanded for several reasons, including logistics and promotion, we discovered a few things.
One, the group should have been divided into the severely mentally ill and the functionally mentally ill, although the dual diagnosed (those with mental and drug problems) could attend either session, for many times the drug addict and mentally ill are indivisible personalities. Two, Dr. Hare concluded such mental health peer group sessions should be established in every community nationwide. And I add worldwide. A mental health worker need not be present, but following the 12-step model of AA, let the peers facilitate the session, since there are simply not enough mental health workers to serve the population of mentally disabled persons. The US Surgeon general estimated 20% of Americans are mentally ill.
Three, although the Pan African community suffers the brunt of mental disorders caused by oppression, “situational disorders” as Dr. Franz Fanon called them, when whites attended, we saw they too suffer and could participate since much of oppression does not discriminate—and more importantly, the colonizer is as mentally ill, if not more so, than the colonized. The victimizer with his boot on the neck of the oppressed is sick with the idea of domination. So, yes, racism has affected more blacks than whites, but middle and lower class whites are an exploited economic class as well. Capitalism and imperialism do not discriminate—all workers are exploited and they are programmed into the virus of consumerism wherein their paltry wages acquire the cheap goods of a materialistic society. Half the goods they acquire are not needed, but the workers and their children are programmed by persistent advertising, often of a subliminal nature.
And there is only a matter of degree between the exploited white worker and the black worker. For sure, there yet lacks wage parity, for blacks and women. Yes, a white worker with a prison record can get a job quicker than a black worker with no police record, but once on the job, the white worker is exploited none the less and suffers mental trauma as well. His white skin does not save him from wage slavery and the resultant psycho-social diseases, including drug abuse, partner violence and child abuse, emotional if not physical. Nevertheless, our main focus is healing the Pan African community, those descendants of slavery and colonialism throughout Africa, Europe and the Americas.
This book should also have relevance to the Muslim world, Arabs in particular, who suffer as well the ravages of colonialism and neo-colonialism. Yes, Muslims and Arabs suffer from the trauma of white supremacy as the West devours their oil fields and other resources, and permits reactionary regimes to flourish in spite of their anti-democratic behavior.
The ravages of slavery, colonialism, and neo-colonialism (including domestic colonialism) necessitate the formation of Pan African mental health peer groups throughout Pan Africa, whether on the continent, Europe, Caribbean and the Americas, especially North America. Let us all come together in small groups for peer healing sessions. Radical Pan African mental health peer groups can be a powerful antidote to help heal the lingering, traumatic effects of slavery, colonialism, and neo-colonialism. We can see throughout Pan Africa that even when we advance politically and economically, the scourge of cultural imperialism causes mental retardation of a kind that produces stunted men and women who might otherwise continue the radical freedom agenda, but yet (and often in the name of revolution) continue reactionary behavior and practices no different from their former masters.
We label such behavior white supremacy, even if it is now black face white supremacy. In the Caribbean they call it, “Black men with white hearts.” Indeed, such behavior is a disease of the heart, of the spirit, and thus no amount of political/economic liberation will suffice—we cannot live on bread alone, but our wretched mental condition stifles real progress toward that divine state of mind wherein we are free of tribal, ethnic, religious and cultural hatred, strife, desires of domination, exploitation, greed and lust for power, i.e., white supremacy. The advantages and positives of Western civilization do not outweigh the sordid and vile behavior we have inculcated and practice with each other, and thus the time has come to make radical changes as we advance into the new millennium, personal changes in our spiritual consciousness that will transform our political, economic and social behavior.
Yes, we are in the era of high technology, but our behavior is often of a bestial nature, for we have lost the civility and serenity of the natural order, even the animals display personalities more at peace than we so-called evolved human beings. As we became urbanized, we are no longer cognizant of natural love for each other and the planet we share with animals and plants. Many city children have never touched an animal—a cow, horse or chicken, a duck, a bird. We may teach gender equality, but we see in the animal kingdom there is leadership based on gender, sometimes the male but often the female. So as we evolve we might need to refer to the animals for wisdom and knowledge of how to configure society. Psycho-social destabilization has brought us to the present need for this discussion of how to remedy the most pressing political, economic, social, and spiritual issue of our time—white supremacy.
* * * * *
Contrary to President Bush, oil is not America’s number one addiction, rather it is the disease of racism or white supremacy which pervades and poisons every fabric of American and western society. White supremacy also affects African, Asian, and Latin culture; thus it is a global phenomena, administered through the economic institution of capitalism and imperialism. It is not purely economic but cultural as well. The virus of white supremacy is spread through cultural imperialism, or the imposition of Western culture upon the subject peoples, and of course Western culture is by the nature of power relationships, the superior or dominant culture, all other cultures being inferior and relegated to the lower rung on the ladder of civilization.
The culture of white supremacy has the self-endowed duty to civilize all other cultures, especially those it has colonized or recently allowed to step up to the more modern stage of neo-colonialism, wherein such cultures exercise a modicum of independence but yet remain shackled to the master culture, economically and psychologically. For the most part they remain enslaved to the western free market system which at best enables them to become wage slaves and consumers of crass materialism and partakers of reactionary spirituality or more precisely religiosity, wherein the myth-rituals of western civilization maintains it grip on their psyche and physicality: their minds and bodies become captives of the Western model of reality and the metaphysical.
The people subjected to white supremacy allow themselves no opportunity for original thinking, or thinking out of the box, for they have never seized the opportunity to consider another world view or national view, only the views of the Mother country (the white supremacy global rulers) have relevance. The people have been totally brainwashed into the addiction of white supremacy, to the extent that they wear clothing with corporate brand names, advertising their acceptance of economic and cultural imperialism. It never occurs to them to wear clothing with their names or indigenous brands.
Even after the 60s naming rituals, most African Americans continue calling themselves by European names, although they try a little originality, now and then, especially in the southern area or dirty south. Recently Bill Cosby suggested they were wrong to exercise this degree of originality, disclosing his own ignorance rather than theirs. Why do they not have the human and divine right to name themselves, why should they continue disclosing their slavery heritage—why can’t they think out of the box of cultural imperialism, break the chains after centuries of putrid degradation.
The Western ideal is the creation of cogs in the wheel of capitalism, to produce a population of wage slaves for life who, after being trained through mis-education, will dutifully report to work and retire broke with a combination of illnesses that prepare them for the grave at the earliest possible date after retirement. The wage slaves barely achieve a living wage thus they are often unable to maintain health insurance or the wherewithal to ever consider and certainly not to achieve economic independence.
The minority workers never achieve economic parity with their white brothers and rarely break through the glass ceiling to become the boss or CEOs of their corporations, for after all, white supremacy is a family affair, and the African proverb says, “One white dog will not bite another white dog.” Yes, the old boys club protect their own, of late allowing the entry of their women, although they too lack parity with their brothers and fathers, although they have surpassed minorities in their pseudo claim of minority status, thereby becoming the greatest beneficiaries of affirmative action, after which their brothers and fathers have done all in their powers to eliminate the affirmative action agenda.
After calling for black power in the 60s, black men, for the most part, never achieved such power but fell behind white and black women educationally, economically, and politically. And one might say they fell behind psychologically and spiritually, for today they exhibit great mental damage and evidence of retardation in self image and self realization, while black women advance on every level except having their man as an equal partner or even as unequal partner, for the black women seems to be forced into a go-it-alone policy or seek men outside her ethnic circle, for her man exhibits traits of arrested development, considering himself some kind of pimp, gangster or romance idol, but certainly not the spiritual and economic equal of his woman.
While she acquires advance degrees, he is more than often caught riding dirty and endures jail and prison rather than experiencing the joy of life with his natural mate. He returns from prison to sometimes infect her with HIV/AIDS and other prison acquired diseases, and even if he is lucky enough to enter college, he often turns homosexual or seeks a mate out of his ethnic group, thus becoming a diminishing possibility for creating the next generation of his people.
Please do not think I am pessimistic, for I am not. I am a revolutionary, thus I am confident we shall win no matter how dire the circumstances appear. We come to this day from centuries of oppression, white supremacy and the resultant degradation, psychological trauma and economic exploitation wherein we as slave workers produced the surplus capital of the western world. Yes, we have been and still are the donkeys and mules of the world, but through the process of decolonization which is first and foremost a mental process, then a physical reality, we shall arrive back through the door of no return.
It is a process we can overcome by taking the twelve steps that have proven so successful in drug recovery, for after all, the colonized and the colonizer both suffer from the addiction of white supremacy, a drug more powerful than heroin, meth, crack, and alcohol combined. White supremacy is a drug so pervasive even when we think we are cured, the ravages and residue appear, affecting our thinking and behavior, our social relations and interaction in the home, on the job, at religious worship and social and cultural events. In short, this drug is sometimes tasteless, colorless, yet cunning and vile. We think we are cured, yet a slip of the tongue proves the illness has reappeared, often suddenly without the slightest indication.
We could go on forever discoursing on the ravages of white supremacy. But our objective here is to give the tools of recovery—twelve steps we can take personally and collectively in peer group sessions in the home, on the street corner, at the barber and beauty shops, in the church or social clubs, bars, schools and colleges, in jails, prisons and the workplace. If we do not get a grip on this addiction, the ultimate alternative is violent revolution, something no one in their right mind would want to imagine, let alone enact. But there comes a point in the course of human events when enough is enough, and I dare say we are rapidly reaching that point in our human relations across this planet. We are either going to learn how to exist together as equal human beings, or divine beings in human form, or we will find the earth a place of utter destruction and warfare between ethnic, cultural and economic groups—yes, class struggle may indeed be the next world struggle, the poor against the rich, the haves against the have-nots.
This can indeed be a wonderful world, but the ruling powers and the ruled must be prepared to achieve parity in the form of economic justice and cultural respect. White privilege or white supremacy must be eradicated from the face of the earth at the earliest possible date for the peace of the world. Such reactionary and die hard thinking must be eliminated from human discourse and interaction, and this must occur on the institutional and personal level. All forms of domination must be destroyed in human interaction, international relations and personal relations, including male/female relations.
Women of intelligence will not be under the rule and domination of ignorant men nor men of intelligence, but desire to be equals in all matters that require equal planning and action. They can certainly be equally as useful in the eradication of white supremacy, for do not women encourage men to acquire for them the material goods produced by white supremacy economic institutions? How long would white supremacy stores and malls survive without goods bought at the encouragement of women? Do not women demand men go to work at wage slave jobs to pay their pussy bill, to feed their children. What if women demanded men boycott work until white power institutions fall or democratize.
* * * * *
WHITE SUPREMACY DEFINED
White supremacy can be any form of domination, whether stemming from religious mythology and ritual, or cultural mythology and ritual, such as tribal and caste relations. White supremacy is finally a class phenomena, the rich against the poor, thus the process of recovery must include a redistribution of global wealth, for there is no doubt that the rich became rich by exploiting the poor, not by any natural inheritance or superior intelligence. White power was achieved by military power, by war, the use of guns and the spread of diseases throughout the world, by a subtle and not so subtle spread of religious propaganda that taught the cultural superiority of the oppressor and the inferiority of the oppressed.
Even language was used as an instrument of oppression, for the white supremacist forced the subject people into speaking and thus thinking in his language, thinking like him, forcing the subject people into psychological trauma of the most subtle kind, for language is logic, thus the people find it a most difficult task to think out of the box, even the concept of freedom becomes only possible inside the box, for freedom is difficult to imagine outside the box, by the very nature of the linguistic challenge. Ask African Americans does freedom mean independence, sovereignty, self-determination, or does freedom mean a good job, the right to vote, the right to die in wars for the spread of imperialism or white supremacy.
Do we not have rights as cultural beings to conceive and configure a society to our benefit and satisfaction, yes, a society perhaps totally separate from this white supremacy nation. Why must we be subjected to the wrath of America’s enemies, to whom we have not injured or harmed in any way. If anything, America has demonstrated she is the enemy of African Americans. Certainly her treatment of African citizens during Katrina is but the most recent example. The abuse and neglect Africans suffered during that hurricane amounts to terrorism of the most wretched kind, and who can deny we deserve a better society.
If a wife had a husband who abused her like American white supremacy abuses African Americans, the wife would file for divorce and it would be granted immediately, especially when the wife catalogued the long chain of mistreatment. Should not North American Africans take America to the World Court, should we not file suit that we have been wronged by the ravages of white supremacy, economically exploited, mis-educated, spiritually duped by religious mythology and ritual? Or shall we reason together, reconcile our profound differences, try the simple twelve steps before this nation and this world is torn asunder?
Willingly or unwillingly, the world powers must recover from their addiction to white supremacy or the peace loving peoples of the world must forcefully dismantle this organization of global terror and the myriad institutions that support, maintain and benefit from it. We can come together as peers and reason together or we can meet on the battlefield and clash like wild beasts, but recover we must, and it must happen sooner than later. The choice is yours and your children. The right way is clearly distinct from error. And finally, recovery is the mission of the people, for if and when the people recover their mental and spiritual equilibrium, white supremacy must and will be defeated.
As Fidel Castro has told us, the weapon of today is consciousness. I must add that it is spiritual consciousness, the mighty power to be in this world but not of this world that shall save humanity from destruction. It is the power to overcome all illusions such as white supremacy, black supremacy, yellow supremacy or any other form of domination, political or personal, religious or sexual. The time has arrived for spiritual beings in human form to free themselves from the mental and physical bondage of reactionary forces from whatever source they may derive. Let us declare ourselves free in the name of our Higher Power, the Creator, Sustainer and Maker of us all. As Marcus Garvey taught us, the Pan African world has one aim, one God, one destiny, the liberation of our lands and people. We begin this journey by coming together in unity to heal each other, to learn love and respect for ourselves and others. Evil, hatred, injustice, domination, and exploitation cannot survive in the face of love, truth, justice, and righteousness.
Peace unto you,
Marvin X (El Muhajir)
Beaufort, South Carolina
1 May 2007
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Detoxing White Supremacy
Prior to our attempt at recovery from the effects of the addiction to white supremacy, we need to consider detoxification, to rid the body and mind from the toxicity of decades under the influence of racist ideology and institutions that have rendered us into a state of drunkenness and denial. Many of us are convinced we have no problem with racism and/or white supremacy. Some say we love everyone, but would not be pleased with our son or daughter marrying out of the ethnic group. There are those of us who think Africans or Caribbean blacks or Mexicans are taking all the jobs, all the housing, although many of the jobs we would not consider doing, much of the housing being occupied by Latinos we consider too ghetto to live in. So we suffer clouded thinking or stinking thinking as they say in the drug recovery community.
In short, we need to detox to clear our minds in preparation for the recovery process. Detox may involve some form of isolation and meditation, any method that would separate us from the friends and family that has been the cause of our psychosis, that break with reality that has our life confounded and delusional. We may need a radical dietary change as many of the foods have a negative bio-chemical effect on our thinking and hence actions. It could be the white sugar, white flour, hormone fed beef and chicken, mercury filled fish, genetically altered fruits and vegetables that we need to eliminate from our diet so we can think with a better chemical balance, especially as it affects our central nervous system.
Perhaps we should spend a week or two or three in retreat from the stress of daily life so we can ponder the ill effects of our thinking on social interaction, so we can relax and seriously consider the recovery program that awaits us. Some may want to fast and/or pray while in the detox stage, but hard thinking is in order before peer group interaction. For sure there will be denial, arrogance and superior attitudes, even feelings of inferiority may be expressed, so let’s do some preparation and self thought before we expose ourselves to group thought, then perhaps we can enter the group with more confidence and seriousness. Let us prepare to rid our minds of thoughts that engender hatred in the family, in the community, nation and global village. We must consider not only the humanity of each other but our divinity.
As my poem What If says, “What if God is the brother you hate, the sister you hate, the mother and father you hate, the dope fiend you hate, the Mexican you hate, the African you hate, the Jamaican you hate, the so-called Negro you hate, the white man you hate, what if what if what if….” Finally, detoxing from white supremacy should prepare us to consider the economic system that has brought so much pain and suffering to the world, especially to the majority that has not benefited from the blessings of the so-called free market system that seeks cheap labor and the production of cheap goods for the consumer driven economy.
We should detox from the desire to possess things upon things for no other reason than greed and selfishness. We should consider that most of the world has no electricity or clean drinking water. The citizens of America should consider why they are only 4% of the population yet consume 25% of the world’s energy. Consider what feelings of anger this might engender in the poor and dispossessed around the world, and why they may want to attack America who cares nothing about them except as sources of cheap labor, cheap natural resources and markets to expand capitalist or imperialist domination, otherwise known as white supremacy.
How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy
A Pan African, 12 Step Model
by Marvin X
foreword by Dr. Nathan Hare
afterword by Ptah Allah El
Black Bird Press
1222 Dwight Way
Berkeley, CA 94702