Truth will not make you rich, but it will make you free.
--Francis Bacon

Black Bird Press News

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012



Marvin X at the Malcolm X Jazz Festival, Oakland, May 19, 2012.
photo by Pendarvis Harshaw

A beautiful day in the Bay for Black people and the socalled People of Color.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

by anzinga
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
By August Wilson
Presented by: Prescott Joseph Center For Community Enhancement
Starring: The Lower Bottom Playaz
Directed by: Ayodele Nzinga
The Prescott Joseph Center For Community Enhancement is proud to present August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, starring The Lower Bottom Playaz, under the direction of Ayodele Nzinga. The play will open at The Sister Thea Bowman Memorial Theater, on July 13th and run though the 22nd of July. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is the first of two works by Wilson slated to be directed by Nzinga as a part of Theater in the Yard, Season 11.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is the third of the Pittsburg Cycle by Wilson to be presented at The Sister Thea Bowman Memorial Theater in West Oakland. Although Wilson’s Cycle is set for the most part in the Hill District of Pittsburg PA he sets this work on the South Side of Chicago. This work will not be “relocated” to West Oakland, as is Nzinga’s habit with work for The Lower Bottom Playaz. Audiences should be able to make the leap on their own. Chicago’s correlation to West Oakland as a migration destination along with the history of Chicago’s Black Belt and Oakland’s 7th St. as two of the countries important North American African musical centers is obvious. Both were stops on the “chitlin circuit” and in both the North American African community lived similar lives with identical constraints and motivations.
Wilson’s raw and gritty expose of the American music industry allows us to look at a community developed as a result of the Great Migration. The work is pushed by and pulled out of the music of people in transit on a quest to a life they can imagine but can not touch; it is the music of loss and desire. The music is a story in and of itself. But the people who bring the music are the heart of this piece. The story within the story is always as instructive as the main event in Wilson’s work. In the sorrowful funk and divine fury of the music there is a delicately etched study of humanity for us to consider if we want more than entertainment from our theater.
Wilson celebrates the complex existence of North American African men in North America. The story within the story in Ma Rainey is as timeless as is Wilson’s exploration of the exploitation ever present in the music industry. He looks at power relations, voice, injustice, and manhood in a series of beautifully lucid profiles of the men behind the music. Wilson wants us to have a front row seat, he invites us to walk into the angst, anger, and hunger of the men in Ma Rainey, so we can walk out of the theater knowing something more about what resides in the spirit of men who walk our streets and live amongst us.
Join the Lower Bottom Playaz at The Sister Thea Bowman Memorial Theater in their celebration of America’s Shakespeare as they continue the tradition of Theater in the Yard, Season 11!
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
July 12, 13, 14, 15 & 20,21,22, 2012
Sister Thea Bowman Memorial Theater
Box Office: 510332-1319
920 Peralta St., Rear yard
Oakland CA 94607
Information: wordslanger@gmail.com
www.lowerbottomplayaz.com

Monday, May 14, 2012

Marvin X on Same Sex Marriage

We were taught the purpose of marriage was for the procreation of the species. If this is still the purpose of marriage, then we must be against same sex marriage, but if marriage is for love then it does not matter if the marriage is same sex or not. For sure, same sex couples cannot procreate the species, but they can fall in love and remain in love as long as straight couples. We think same sex couples, absent the procreation motive, have every right to marry, especially when we consider that 50% of straight marriages end in failure. Can the same sex couple do better, time shall tell. We know they don't do much better in the area of partner violence, verbal and emotional abuse. Shall we say they are simply normal human beings in this regard?

As per our President coming out in favor of same sex marriage, we expect a politician to be political, to evolve at the expeditious moment for political gain. Yet we must be truthful and recognize this is but another diversion from the very serious economic matters facing this nation. What do the homeless and jobless care about who's marrying whom? They have more important matters that approach life and death, thus they would have misplaced priorities to concern themselves with same sex marriage. The President should be inclined to concern himself with more pressing matters, especially since he only made a personal not policy statement.

Enter the reply from his worthy opponent Mich Romney, "I support marriage between a man and woman." Now we could believe this statement if it weren't from a Mormon, a religious group that still practices polygamy or plural marriage, if only on the down under. But if you are familiar with Mormons, we know many of them are hardly down under, they are open and unashamedly practicing their religion that did indeed ban polygamy officially many years ago.

Monkey Mind Media and "The First Gay President"

So the Monkey Mind Media that perpetuates the world of make believe is off and running with "The First Gay President," taking our minds completely off pressing economic issues. But we are too old to be concerned with what other people do in public or private, whether straight or gay/lesbian.

We must admit we like the natural order of things, though as an artist we are known to transcend the natural, so perhaps we should shut up since no one wants to hear what an old man thinks, especially one who has transcended so much of what normal people consider natural. Alas, my son cried, "Dad, why can't you drink like normal people!"

Today, though, much of what used to be natural is no longer such. Because of growth hormones in meat and other genetically altered foods, it is not surprising to find the emasculation of man and the masculation of females, i.e., black is white and white is black or the upside down world of today.

What we are alluding to is not solely sexual but political and economic. It is a political policy when women are entering colleges in great numbers and earning advance degrees while men, especially in the black community, are entering prison. Imagine the result of this social-sexual economic reality on the black family in particular. Not only are the prisons a breeding ground of homosexuality with the concomitant diseases, including HIV/AIDS, but such behavior is forcibly altering the sexual identity of men and women, for if the men are wards of the state, what choice do women have but to love each other, whether they want to or not? With men as prisoners of war, the women must bond with each other, often times for sexual and economic reasons. Yes, women are pimping these days, after all, brother pimp is doing twenty-five to life! Need we mention the economic independence of women in general. Even though black mothers have had to play the male role for, yes, centuries, it is even more pervasive today, to the extent the young women are saying, "He the baby mama, I'm the baby daddy. He stays at home babysitting while I work." Indeed, someone remarked recently how many young men can be seen on the streets pushing baby carriages during working hours.

Same Sex Chickens, Cows

Long ago we heard about animals, chickens, cows, turning homosexual. We know a diet of Big Macs and KFC is consequently altering the sexuality of our boys and girls. We know hormones are recycled in the water, and even chemical residue from plastic water bottles is polluting the water and  causing sex changes in those who drink it.

And finally, we must consider that we are at the end of an Age of Time, entering a new cycle that is bringing forth a new consciousness. The old patriarchy is giving way to a balance between the patriarchy and matriarchy or Ma'at. In this process of transformation, we must be aware of the crisis in sexual identity as men and women seek to put themselves in harmony with the universe. Although so much of the ancient teachings may be considered reactionary, we think manhood and womanhood rituals are urgently needed so our boys and girls have some understanding of gender roles. For sure, men must no longer think of women as their chattel property. And this must be true for same gender loving persons in general. 
--Marvin X
5/14/12




Huey Newton on Gays Rights

From: riverfl0w@riseup.net

http://hiphopandpolitics.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/looking-back-at-huey-newtons-thoughts-on-gay-rights-in-the-wake-of-obamas-endorsement/

Looking Back at Huey Newton’s Thoughts on Gay Rights…In the Wake of
Obama’s Endorsement

This was a speech given August 15, 1970 by Huey Newton co-founder of the
Black Panther Party. Here he addresses the issue of Gay Rights… It's
serious food for thought coming in the aftermath of President Obama
endorsing Same-sex Marriage…

Dr. Huey P. Newton

During the past few years strong movements have developed among women and among homosexuals seeking their liberation. There has been some
uncertainty about how to relate to these movements.

Whatever your personal opinions and your insecurities about
homosexuality and the various liberation movements among homosexuals
and women (and I speak of the homosexuals and women as oppressed
groups), we should try to unite with them in a revolutionary fashion.
I say ” whatever your insecurities are” because as we very well know,
sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the
mouth, and want a woman to be quiet. We want to hit a homosexual in
the mouth because we are afraid that we might be homosexual; and we
want to hit the women or shut her up because we are afraid that she
might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start
with.

We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and
feelings for all oppressed people. We must not use the racist attitude
that the White racists use against our people because they are Black
and poor. Many times the poorest White person is the most racist
because he is afraid that he might lose something, or discover
something that he does not have. So you’re some kind of a threat to
him. This kind of psychology is in operation when we view oppressed
people and we are angry with them because of their particular kind of
behavior, or their particular kind of deviation from the established
norm.

Remember, we have not established a revolutionary value system; we are
only in the process of establishing it. I do not remember our ever
constituting any value that said that a revolutionary must say
offensive things towards homosexuals, or that a revolutionary should
make sure that women do not speak out about their own particular kind
of oppression. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite: we say
that we recognize the women’s right to be free. We have not said much
about the homosexual at all, but we must relate to the homosexual
movement because it is a real thing. And I know through reading, and
through my life experience and observations that homosexuals are not
given freedom and liberty by anyone in the society. They might be the
most oppresed people in the society.

And what made them homosexual? Perhaps it’s a phenomenon that I don’t
understand entirely. Some people say that it is the decadence of
capitalism. I don’t know if that is the case; I rather doubt it. But
whatever the case is, we know that homosexuality is a fact that
exists, and we must understand it in its purest form: that is, a
person should have the freedom to use his body in whatever way he
wants.

That is not endorsing things in homosexuality that we wouldn’t view as
revolutionary. But there is nothing to say that a homosexual cannot
also be a revolutionary. And maybe I’m now injecting some of my
prejudice by saying that “even a homosexual can be a revolutionary.”
Quite the contrary, maybe a homosexual could be the most
revolutionary.

When we have revolutionary conferences, rallies, and demonstrations,
there should be full participation of the gay liberation movement and
the women’s liberation movement. Some groups might be more
revolutionary than others. We should not use the actions of a few to
say that they are all reactionary or counterrevolutionary, because
they are not.

We should deal with the factions just as we deal with any other group
or party that claims to be revolutionary. We should try to judge,
somehow, whether they are operating in a sincere revolutionary fashion
and from a really oppressed situation. (And we will grant that if they
are women they are probably oppressed.) If they do things that are
unrevolutionary or counterrevolutionary, then criticize that action.
If we feel that the group in spirit means to be revolutionary in
practice, but they make mistakes in interpretation of the
revolutionary philosophy, or they do not understand the dialectics of
the social forces in operation, we should criticize that and not
criticize them because they are women trying to be free. And the same
is true for homosexuals. We should never say a whole movement is
dishonest when in fact they are trying to be honest. They are just
making honest mistakes. Friends are allowed to make mistakes. The
enemy is not allowed to make mistakes because his whole existence is a
mistake, and we suffer from it. But the women’s liberation front and
gay liberation front are our friends, they are our potential allies,
and we need as many allies as possible.

We should be willing to discuss the insecurities that many people have
about homosexuality. When I say “insecurities,” I mean the fear that
they are some kind of threat to our manhood. I can understand this
fear. Because of the long conditioning process which builds insecurity
in the American male, homosexuality might produce certain hang-ups in
us. I have hang-ups myself about male homosexuality. But on the other
hand, I have no hang-up about female homosexuality. And that is a
phenomenon in itself. I think it is probably because male
homosexuality is a threat to me and female homosexuality is not.

We should be careful about using those terms that might turn our
friends off. The terms “faggot” and “punk” should be deleted from our
vocabulary, and especially we should not attach names normally
designed for homosexuals to men who are enemies of the people, such as
Nixon or Mitchell. Homosexuals are not enemies of the people.

We should try to form a working coalition with the gay liberation and
women’s liberation groups. We must always handle social forces in the
most appropriate manner.