Hallelujah! Al Hamdulilah!
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Hallelujah! Al Hamdulilah!
My people were never slaves
no matter how much cotton
not for minute
do for nothing
resistance was every day
glass in meals
razors in pussies
for master to fuck
enjoy his death
suck it up
invade slave hut
take man woman child
to big house
of man, woman child.
On the matter of partner violence, Marvin X long ago experienced a Pauline conversion, similar to how Saul suffered a conversion on the road to Damascus and transformed into Paul, the champion of Christianity. Marvin's conversion was not religious but perhaps spiritual for he has come to recognize women as spiritual beings in human form, thus they are not to be treated lightly or rather roughly.
He has well documented his domestic violence in his plays and poetry, especially the poem Confession of an ex-wife beater and the play In the Name of Love, Laney College Theatre, 1980.
There is no woman who can say he laid a hand on them in recent years. He rarely argues with women but prefers to stay in the no stress zone. His solution for domestic peace these days is to exercise the language of love, in which he stresses silence due to the psycholinguistic crisis inherent in our use of the English or American language, wherein words are most often misunderstood and lead to violence because we have lost the art of diplomatic conversation in male/female relations, especially when mind altered drugs are involved, especially alcohol, those distilled spirits who soon are no longer still.
Of course women have no choice but to use their mouths in confrontation with men, since they often lack the physical power to subdue men. They resort to verbal violence or emotional violence, a kind of revenge to ultimately win the battle of the sexes.
But the truth is that domestic or partner violence is pandemic, a global nightmare in every religion and every nation on the planet earth. It has become the scourge of humanity, and yet it shall persist until the patriarchal mythological order perpetuated by men is destroyed, yes, all the myths that make females chattel property must be cast into the dustbin of history.
Women who buy into the myth must be detoxed and recover. It is not about feminism or misogyny, but about recognizing the spirituality of all human beings, whether male or female.
As per females, Phavia says it best in her poem Yo, Yo, Yo, "If you think I am just a physical thing, wait til you see the spiritual power I bring." So there is no need to think in gender specific terms but simply think of each other as spiritual beings in human form, thus we are not to be abused, harmed, disrespected, neglected in any way, shape or form, physically, verbally or emotionally.
I have come to hate partner violence with the Passion of Paul. I wish it could be wiped from the face of the earth tonight, though it won't happen until people come into the new spiritual consciousness sweeping the world. For sure, partner violence is part of the Slave System, based on religious mythology, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Yoruba, Rasta. This mythological system lies in the deep structure of said religions, but it must be uprooted or the religions will be uprooted when the people achieve true spiritual consciousness. Of course it is also rooted in the capitalist slave system (Ed Howard term) that debases human beings outright with wage slavery that perpetuates stress leading directly to partner and/or domestic violence. Persons are stressed at not receiving a living wage, then often practice misplaced aggression onto their partner rather than confronting their greedy capitalist boss who has been pimping them to death. In their cowardice, men beat their women into a pulp yet let the greedy boss escape their wrath, while the women have been nothing but dutiful slaves to their husbands, washing their dirty drawers, caring for their children, while often working full time themselves to compliment their wage slave mates.
Only a workers revolution can really solve this problem that entails a redistribution of the wealth stolen by the capitalist blood suckers of the poor. When the economic order is a slave system, the entire society is reduced to such, for all institutions contribute to the whole demonic social economic order.
The education system must be thrown into the dustbin of history as well, along with the other archaic institutions that perpetuate such madness. Children are dropping out of school and shall continue to do so simply because they are smarter than their teachers and parents. They know school is bullshit, a perpetuation of the slave system and they reject it outright. Yes, they are that smart, smart enough not to be hoodwinked and bamboozled by an educational system that is totally irrelevant to the lives they live in the hood. After all, their teachers are trained to only instruct a curriculum that perpetuates the world of make believe or world of make believe.
We feel sorry for the new Mayor of Oakland, Jean Quan, who tonight called for 2000 mentors to help Oakland youth, yet help them do what, adjust to the slave system of white supremacy education that robbed their parents who their humanity and spirituality? It is the educational system that has taught our youth they should be treated as chattel slaves or the personal property of each other. Otherwise, why would the boys think they own the girls, or that girls own other girls or boys own other boys?
As per women, the tragedy is how they become addicted to partner violence but exercise the typical classical denial of the addicted personality. They make excuses for their mate, even imagine him to be a good guy, even when he has taken them to the edge of death. It is a sick state of mind and the women in this condition need to be taken to a shelter where they can detox and recover from their addiction to madness, for one human who beats another into submission is mad, insane, a danger to himself and others. And the person who accepts such inhumane treatment is sick as well, quite similar to the relationship, if not exactly the same, of the oppressor to the oppressed.
Yes, we come to love oppression, even make excuses for the oppressor: he didn't mean it, he really loves loves me, I deserved it cause I hit him first or I talked about his mama or his little penis.
The truth is that we have monsters in our midst, men who are drunk on this patriarchal mythology and must be taken to a detox center, and meanwhile the women who are addicted must themselves be taken to a safe place. Only when they both recover should there be any consideration to the possibility of reconciliation. Only when they discover they are both spiritual beings in human form and must be treated thusly, should they be allowed to come together.
Meanwhile, the community must intervene to help the helpless, especially those women in denial and who wish to continue in their inordinancy blindly wandering on, as the Qur'an says. They are a danger to themselves and others, especially their children who are traumatized as well and then grow up to emulate violent social interaction, especially in male/female relations.
And please don't tell me you love the one you with and he/she loves you, for this is a bold face lie, because you don't even know the one you with and he/she doesn't know you. If you knew you were dealing with a spiritual being in human form, we know you would not abuse them or be abused by them. So you are living a lie. You don't know jack shit about your mate, more than likely you met them in a din of iniquity and had nothing but lust on your mind.
And even if you met them at church or the majed is no reason to think you know them. The Nation of Islam used to refer to matches as thirty day wonder marriages, for they lasted all of thirty days, long enough to allow the persons to get their sex jones off, then they divorced, thus they could not be charged with fornication.
But the tragedy is the amount of marriages that last for years under the cloud of ignorance as I say in my poem You Don't Know Me. There are who persons who have been together for thirty years yet are total strangers. They don't have a clue who they are in bed with, but fake the funk, as they say in the hood.
And let us not talk about the golden handcuff syndrome, yes, those bourgeoisie persons who live well heeled to the extent they endure the most wretched partner abuse yet because of the material comforts continue to endure it, these are often the professional class that includes doctors, lawyers, engineers, professors, lobbyists, et al. In their gated communities they live lives more wretched than the persons pushing shopping carts and enjoying rot gut wine.
Again, I am horrified. I have a friend in prison who stabbed his woman 16 times and threw her onto the freeway. Just the other day I heard a couple talking downtown Oakland. The man told the woman he was going to sniff some power cocaine and come to kill her. What savagery is this and how long can this go on?
And the virus has infected our children. Girls 16-25 years old are suffering a high rate of partner abuse. We must jump out of the box of ignorance and wretchedness, no matter the cause, whether mythological, economic, religious, political or whatever.
We must, can and will come into the understanding we are spiritual beings in human form, i.e., divine beings in the image of God and Goddess. Thus we must step up from savagery to civility, from animal to divine, and we must do this now, overnight or suffer a severe chastisement. You see events are moving in the universe at a rapid pace. One need only look at events in the Middle East and Africa. The universe is on the move and if you don't move with it, you shall be removed, fast, quit and in a hurry.
For all my violent behavior against the women who loved me, it caught up with me in the drug culture when I was attacked on numerous occasions, stabbed, guns pulled on me, bum rushed, robbed, etc. As with Job, I knew it was God allowing the devil to teach me a lesson. We know God told Job you can do any and everything to him but kill him, and so I survived it all to tell you the above words. Hopefully, a hint to the wise is sufficient.
If anything, beat your boss, as a woman who called into a radio station said to me, "Beat your boss, asshole!"
Friday, February 25, 2011
Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story (2004) (USA) (working title)
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for depiction of drug addiction, sexuality and some thematic elements.
Runtime: 152 min
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Clifton Powell, Harry J. Lennix, Bokeem Woodbine, Regina King, Larenz Tate, others
Taylor Hackford, writer, director
Review by Marvin X
Ray is a classic tragic-comedy in the African tradition of all's well that ends well; tragic in the wretched conditions of his childhood with poverty, the drowning of his brother and the crippling blindness that his mother persisted and insisted he overcome; tragic that in adulthood he initially allowed heroin and sex to cripple him and almost destroy his talent and family, but by the end of the movie Ray Charles Robinson becomes the heroic comedian who overcomes all demons and disabilities to become the master of the game, an internationally recognized superstar and innovator who changed the world of music. It is the musical arrangement that makes this story so powerful and softens the task of actor Jamie Foxx because the music essentially tells the story, weaves in and out of events, connects them, finalizes. Ray's music is the history of a generation, the jazz, blues, rock and roll, country, gospel, he simply, clearly and profoundly did it all. What a gift this blind man gave us to see us in our heart of hearts and soul of souls and the world is a better place because Ray walked this earth without seeing-eye dog or cane, seeing with his ears, hands and voice, as when he began his torturous journey on the kitchen floor searching for the cricket, later he let his wife to be know he and we must be able to see with our ears after he pointed out the hummingbird at the window; indeed we can see God if we take a moment to listen, He is there in spite of all the noise around, yea, all the darkness. I remember the first time I was around a blind person and what a revelation it was when I realized she didn't need a light bulb in her room. Who was really blind, she or I, after all, I was the one who needed light!
RAY took us into darkness to better understand the soul in tragic circumstance, the soul that overcomes with pure determination because we see it is only determination that permits RAY to become a success; his persistence to control his destiny is clearly a lesson for any struggling human being, but especially the artist. We see the artist must not only master the show but the show business as well, and any moment he neglects show business he is ripe for robbery as happened in the beginning of his career and even later when he dismissed his assistant for stealing, but even more important is how RAY demanded rights to his music, including ownership of the master tapes. The movie is a how to for young artists.
Jamie Foxx did a masterful job as the blind Ray. I was totally convinced he was Ray and not Jamie.
As I said above, the music made his path easier, providing him with a crutch to stand on but the crutch was after all part of Ray's essence.
As a former addict and director of Recovery Theatre, I was pained at his heroin addiction although I sympathized and empathized because of his disability, after all, I thought, if I were blind I might want some heroin just to get through the night, but we know better, we know and we saw the destructive power of the drug on his person, his art and most importantly, his beautiful family that was his codependent for many years, his wife, later his children, who suffered greatly because they loved him so much. Every addict should see this movie to understand the pain of the codependent because we can never say we've recovered without understanding how we subject those around us in our selfish desire to self destruct. As my New York comrades told me, no excuse is acceptable, none. We were happy to see RAY finally seek recovery, but more importantly the constant flashback to his mother and brother were a demonstration that we must confront demons even deeper than drugs to become holistic. It is after the doctor tells him he needs analysis that we see RAY subjecting himself to self-analysis to process the death of his brother and the truth of his mother whose words "don't be a cripple" were a healing motif throughout the movie. Of course, we could have used more of him enduring the recovery process but we are gratified he stayed clean thereafter.
Sex, his other addiction, was, for all concerned, no less toxic than heroin. As the other woman, Regina King was great, making us realize her pain, especially when pregnant. The question for me is when will American culture accept the other woman, recognize her as a human being, including her children. If gays and lesbians can and will come out of the closet to marry, so must the other woman, and the other man, for that matter. As his wife "on the road," Marge probably spent more time with him than his wife, so why must she suffer non-recognition, a total debasement of her human right to happiness, prompting her to suffer a drug overdose that we know was clearly suicide. Imagine, the highest rate of HIV/AIDS is black women who engage in one night stands rather than submit to polygamy with a man practicing safe sex. If there can be civil unions for gays and lesbians, then the same is proper for persons with multiple partners, or is a person in a relationship with multiple partners less than human? Perhaps, this is the subject for another movie, but RAY suggests it is a question that isn't going away, especially with artists who often discover sex fires the engine of their creativity. Consider all the lyrics Ray gave us on the pussy and dick theme, "Hit the Road, Jack," "Night Time Is The Right Time," "What'd I Say,"et al.
His turn to country music because it tells a story is the reason my mother, a country girl, declared her love for the music. In short, any music genre Ray touched, he turned to gold for himself and his audience.
RAY is a great movie about a great man who shared his creativity with the world, in the process taught us how to transcend musical and physical boundaries, even boundaries of the soul.
Marvin X's essays: In The Crazy House Called America is available from Black Bird Press. Two additional books are planned for publication in 2005 are; In the Land of My Daughters, poems, and Wish I Could Tell You the Truth, essays
Ray Charles Web SIte
Marvin X on AALBC.com
Jamie Foxx The Kingdom Interview
"�A notable and articulate advocacy of black conscientious objection came from the Nation of Islam. In 1942 Elijah Muhammad was arrested in Chicago and convicted of sedition, conspiracy and violation of the draft laws. After serving time in a federal penitentiary until 1946, Muhammad continued in his beliefs. Two decades later he vigorously urged his followers to refuse participation in the Vietnam War. Among those who listened were world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali and Marvin X."
-Lorenzo Thomas, University of Houston, from preface to Love and War (poems) by Marvin X, Black Bird Press, 1995
Starring Will Smith Directed by Michael Mann
MPAA: Rated R for some language and brief violence.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Some things in life are a cause for hesitation-we know we're not walking on solid ground, yet we go forward into the unknown like a brave soldier ordered into battle. This is how I approached ALI, knowing this movie was bound to touch me in a personal way, since Muhammad Ali and I were the two best known Muslims who refused to fight in Vietnam or anywhere for the white man. Ali was in sports, I was part of the Black Arts Movement, also associated with the Black Panthers. Elijah told Ali to give up sports, that the world was not made for sport and play. Ali refused. Elijah told me to give up poetry, that he was after the plainest way to get truth to our people: poetry, he said, was a science our people didn't understand. I refused. Was Elijah right? Look at the present condition of Ali. Look at the present proliferation of poetry: gansta rap poetry has contributed to the desecration of black people. How did we go from revolutionary BAM poetry to the reactionary rap songs about bitch, ho and motherfucker? Sonia Sanchez says the rappers simply put on stage what was happening in the black revolutionary movement and our community in general: the disrespect of women. Even spoken word is at a pivotal point of becoming crassly commercial, promoted in night clubs along with alcohol and other drugs. Certainly, this is no atmosphere to teach truth which is the poet's sole duty, not to be a buffoon or entertainer. Poetry is a sacred art: in the beginning was the word and the word was with God�. One club owner stopped a successful poetry night when it became a butcher shop, patrons trading poetry for sex, more or less�. Academic poetry never made it in the hood, since it is essentially a foreign language. Thank God for poetry slams, they have allowed the masses to appreciate poetry, seizing it from the academic barbarians who killed the word in abstract nonsense only a rocket scientist or linguist can understand. Perhaps, this was Elijah's point to me. But, finally, all poetry uses devices such as metaphor and simile which may confuse rather than "make it plain" in the style of Elijah and Malcolm, even though they too used these devices. Elijah didn't stop Muhammad Ali from being a poet!
"Refusing induction, Marvin X fled to Canada. 'I departed from the United States�to preserve my life and liberty, and to pursue happiness�.' "-loc. cit.
Malcolm X recruited Cassius Clay into the Nation of Islam. Malcolm's oratory influenced me to consider Elijah's Islamic Black Nationalism while I was a student at Oakland's Merritt College, along with Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Ernie Allen and others who became the new black intelligentsia, the direct product of Malcolm, Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah and Elijah. When Malcolm X spoke before seven thousand students at U.C. Berkeley's Sproul Plaza (1964), I was in the audience. When he was assassinated, we wore black armbands to express our grief at San Francisco State University, actor Danny Glover among us. In truth, we were too confused to do more, which was the devil's purpose: confuse, divide and conquer.
Although Ali and I were followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Ali followed closer to the letter than I-I followed the spirit of Elijah. Elijah told us to resist the draft, go to prison if necessary. Ali followed orders-but I was under the influence of my Panther friends who said we should not only resist the draft, but resist arrest as well-so rather than go to jail, I fled to Toronto, Canada, joining other resisters. But before I went into exile, I met Muhammad Ali at the Chicago home of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. After Eldridge Cleaver was placed on house arrest for allegedly causing a riot at a Black Power conference on the campus of Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. (along with Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Kathleen Neal, later Cleaver), Ramparts magazine permitted me to interview Ali in place of Cleaver who was a staff writer. To the disappointment of Ramparts, Cleaver and myself, Elijah called Ali into a room. When he returned, he said to me, "Brother, the Messenger said not to do the interview." He added, "This is the man I'm willing to die for-what he says, I do." So I didn't get the interview. I returned to California with the disappointing news. Ramparts eventually did a story on Ali. This was 1967-a few months later I was exiled in Toronto. After Toronto, I went underground to Chicago, arriving in time to see troops occupy the south side and the torching of the west side, following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In Oakland, the Black Panthers responded to the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. by staging a shootout with the police in which Eldridge Cleaver was wounded and Little Bobby Hutton murdered. With the FBI on my heels, I left Chicago and arrived in Harlem, joining the Last Poets, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Askia M. Toure', Don L. Lee, Amiri Baraka, Ed Bullins, Sun Ra, Milford Graves, Barbara Ann Teer and others for the second Harlem Renaissance. But my draft problems weren't over-coming back from Montreal, Canada one weekend, I was apprehended at the border and returned to California for trial-I resisted a second time, fleeing to Mexico City before sentencing. It is now 1970. In Mexico City, I met the sons of Muhammad Ali's manager, Herbert Muhammad (son of Elijah Muhammad), who were attending the University of the Americas. The sons, Elijah and Sultan, were in a kind of exile from the madness of Black Muslim Chicago-they didn't receive Muhammad Speaks newspaper, of `which I was now foreign editor and their father manager-so I gave them my copies. They were talk of the town. The African American ex-patriot community informed me Elijah's grandsons didn't believe his teachings. I discovered they were right about Elijah, nicknamed Sonny, who was caught bringing marijuana across the border, among other things. I arrived at their casa for a party to see Sonny dancing with a white woman. Sonny let me use his birth certificate to cross the border to get my woman. Yes, I was "Elijah Muhammad." But as I crossed the border, my woman was on a plane to Mexico City. At least Sultan had a Mexican girl. Sultan eventually became the personal pilot for his grandfather, Elijah Muhammad. After journeying to Belize, Central America, against the advice of my Mexico City contact, revolutionary artist Elizabeth Catlett Mora, I was arrested for teaching black power and "communism," deported to the US and served five months in federal prison for draft evasion. With this background, I entered the cinema to view Ali, the story of a man and a time that shook America and the world.
"For his court appearance, Marvin X prepared an angry and eloquent statement, which was later published in Black Scholar (April-May 1971), 'There comes a time�when a man's conscience will no longer allow him to participate in the absurd.' He recalled with disgust the Supreme Court's 1857 Dred Scott decision which pronounced that 'a black man has no rights which a white man is bound to respect.' And in ringing tones he challenged the court's authority to contravene his religious and philosophical principles, 'But there you sit�with the blood of my ancestors dripping from your hands! And you seek to judge me for failing to appear in a court for sentencing on a charge of refusing induction, of refusing to go l0,000 miles to kill my brothers in order to insure the perpetuation of White Power in Southeast Asia and throughout the world.' " --loc. cit. ALI
The name Muhammad Ali means the one who is most high and worthy of much praise. In Ali, we saw a man arise from "Clay" or dirt to become the most recognized person on earth. Will Smith deserves much praise for his portrayal of Ali, bringing him alive, making him believable. This was no easy task because of the character's complexity as folk hero with many dimensions: athlete, religious militant, poet, lover man. As athlete we must give credit to the camera man for so many close-ups that transformed and reinforced Will Smith's image as Ali. Actually close-ups seemed to be the dominant camera angle throughout the movie and they worked to bring forth the beauty of the African skin tones as well as reflect character in various situations. The camera catches Ali's third wife Veronica Porche (Michelle Michael) at an angle that reflects the absolute golden beauty of her skin as she and Ali stroll in the African sun. There are great pan shots of people in the streets of Ghana and Zaire. The sound was awesome when Ali was in the ring punching or getting punched. The sound vibrated our bodies, making us a virtual part of the movie.
We meet Ali as he was meeting Malcolm X (Melvin Van Peebles) and being converted to a Black Muslim. Malcolm converted an entire generation, especially youth in the north. Martin Luther King, Jr. reigned in the south, having almost no influence with us college students. We looked upon Martin as the chief bootlicker of the white man. As Malcolm, Melvin Van Peebles did a credible job. Of course he is no Denzel Washington (Spike Lee's Malcolm X), but at least he looked like Malcolm-although his delivery was weak-he lacked the fire of Denzel, but was acceptable and his relationship with Muhammad Ali clearly established an intimate friendship until they were forced apart by Nation of Islam politics which the movie pointed out was not apart from U.S. government politics of intervention and neutralization. We see the agents inside the NOI. Of course the NOI, along with the Black Panthers, was the main black organization on the FBI's list of subversives. Hoover and his Cointelpro was determined to prevent the rise of a black messiah who could unite African Americans. Malcolm and Martin were marked for elimination. Muhammad Ali slipped through to become hero of the Afro-Asian, Islamic world. After all, he defied the American government in a manner no one has until Osama Bin Laden. We have to draw the parallel between these two because they are heroes of the oppressed, especially the oppressed Muslim masses of Africa and Asia. The movie gave us the impression Ali was more a hero in Africa than with African Americans. One wonders whether this was deliberate, to dampen Ali's image in the eyes of the hero starved African American community. Let's be clear, Ali was in the tradition of the defiant, rebellious bad nigguh: Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, Gabriel Prosser, Jack Johnson, Paul Robeson. Ali was doing all right until he sent a shout out to the world, "No Viet cong never called me a nigguh."And we hear Danny Glover may be added to America's bad nigguh list, since Oliver North is encouraging Americans to boycott his movies because Danny made statements against military tribunals. Ali made it crystal clear he was going to say and do whatever the hell he wanted. America made him pay the price for being a free black man. What if the other mentally enslaved black men followed suit?
Jada Pinkett Smith as Ali's first wife, Sonji, was rather conservative in light of the character who was quite simply a so-called Negro who rejected Islam, initially accepting it solely because of her man. I wanted her to be more of a slut, a hard headed, stiff necked, rebellious negress. She was some of that, but maybe the script limited her because I know she has the talent as an actress to be more of a bitch than she was. Belinda (Nona Gaye), his second wife, was more sassy than Sonji in some ways, especially in her condemnation of Herbert Muhammad (Shabaka Hemsley), Ali's manager and the NOI, particularly when Ali was nearly broke. Her critical remarks were utterly shocking since they came from someone who grew up in the Nation of Islam. For a Muslim woman, she was equal in boldness with Ali.
Herbert Muhammad is one of the classic characters in NOI history and Shabaka did a fairly good job representing him, although we don't get the sense he was one of the most powerful men in the NOI and the first prominent black fight manager. If there had not been a Herbert Muhammad, there probably would not have been a Don King. The character Elijah Muhammad (Albert Hall) was rather weak and one dimensional, mostly negative. Realistically, it is impossible to downplay Elijah Muhammad in the drama of African America. He educated two of our greatest heroes, Malcolm and Ali, not to mention Farrakhan and even myself and thousands more brothers and sisters throughout this wicked land. Don't make me quote writer Fahizah Alim, "Elijah Muhammad was like a momma, even if she was a ho' on the corner telling lies to get money to feed us, she gave us life and kept us living until we could stand on our feet�" Basically, we see him suspending Malcolm and later Ali. I think the best supporting actor in this film would have to be Jamie Foxx as the legendary Drew Bodini, Ali's sideman. He was beyond belief as the tragic-comic Bodini, who seemed to inspire much of Ali's poetry and serve as cheerleader and confidant. Howard Bingham (Jeffery Wright), Ali's friend and photographer, should have served as sane counterpoint to the insane antics and witchcraft of Bodini, but he remains muted behind his camera, although we know by nature the photographer sees everything and often advises his client, constantly whispering words of wisdom from his vantage point.
These characters were poets above all else, beginning with Malcolm, although we heard very little of his rhetoric, then Ali, Bodini, Don King (Mykelti Williamson). How Don King escaped the rat image is beyond me, but he did by donning the poet's persona. We must give Don credit for ushering in the age of the multimillion dollar fight purse. But we had to sigh a little sadness that the murderous land of Mubutu's Zaire was the scene of the Rumble in the Jungle, as if anywhere else in Africa was any different, i.e., devoid of a dictatorial regime. In Africa, Nkrumah taught, every state is a military state! Last but not least, Jon Voight (Howard Cossell), must be given credit for bringing the legendary Cossell to life, but it is clear Ali made Cossell, not the other way around, and in no way were they equals: Cossell, as media pimp, represented America at its worst --Ali's verbal sparring made Howard Cossell's world larger than life and sometimes smaller when Cossell made the mistake of asking Ali if he was the man he used to be. Ali retorted, "Howard, your wife said you ain't the man you used to be�"
The music score weaved in and out of the action at proper moments, making it delightful and meaningful, although it's hard to imitate Sam Cooke. The scenes in Africa made us feel the universal love for Ali, especially when the people were chanting "Ali" -again, the sound reached inside us, grabbing us into itself. Finally, we must credit Will Smith for transforming himself into all the things that make up Ali, his political consciousness, his religiosity, his morality and immorality, his media savvy and especially his poetry. Of course director Michael Mann must be credited with shaping the entire film. It was long but I didn't want it to end, especially when it did with the Rumble in the Jungle, the Foreman/Ali match in Zaire. But Ali's story is so much a part of modern American history that it could have gone on forever. Imagine him commenting on the events of 911. We understand that he has been requested to make public service announcements supporting America's war on terrorism. Would this be a more dramatic ending: the people's champ who fought against oppression, finally broken down to a servant of the oppressor? It may or may not be dramatic, but the tragic truth is that Ali is a member of Warith Din Muhammad's sect that was known for flag waving long before 911. Even before his transition in 1975, Warith had rejected the teachings of his father, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, in favor of orthodox Islam, dismissing the Black Nationalism of Elijah for Americanism, so it is not whack for President Bush to call upon Ali to be the "voice of America" to the Muslim world, nor for Ali to accept. Remember when my friend, Eldridge Cleaver, returned from exile waving the flag-the radical community was horrified one of their leaders had sold out.
Let ALI end with the Rumble in the Jungle. One purpose of that fight was to reestablish ties between Africa and African America. This was of great significance for Pan Africanism, including the therapeutic healing of divisive wounds in the colonized psyche of Africans and African Americans. As I said, Ali was indeed bigger than America-the first Muslim heavyweight champion of the world, the first African American athlete to unabashedly recognize our Motherland by staging a fight there. Ali was a man of the times, not by blending or following, but leading the way. The hero is first of all a leader. He extends the mythology of his people, like Coltrane taking us to A Love Supreme. Ali's mission was transcending our colonial education, breaking the bonds of our Christian mentality with its impediments of passivity and submission, although Martin Luther King, Jr. attempted to transform the Christian myth-ritual with his liberation theology. Ali's athletic prowess and discipline, his political consciousness, was an example for all fighters, especially freedom fighters around the world. If indeed, our hero has been co-opted, let us be mature enough to realize humans are not made of stone and we know in real life people change, not always for the good-thus the danger of hero worship and thus the Islamic dictum: nothing deserves to worshipped except Allah.
Other Movie Reviews by Marvin X on AALBC.com include:
Baby Boy - http://www.aalbc.com/reviews/baby_boy.htm
Traffic - http://www.aalbc.com/reviews/traffic.htm
Interview with Muhammad Ali daughter, boxing champion, Laila Ali
Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness Interview with Kam Williams
Marvin X, also known as Marvin Jackmon and El Muhajir
Marvin X was born May 29, 1944 in Fowler, California, near Fresno. Marvin X is well known for his work as a poet, playwright and essayist of the BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT or BAM. He attended Merritt College along with Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. He received his BA and MA in English from San Francisco State University.
Marvin X is most well known for his work with Ed Bullins in the founding of Black House and The Black Arts/West Theatre in San Francisco. Black House served briefly as the headquarters for the Black Panther Party and as a center for performance, theatre, poetry and music.
Marvin X is a playwright in the true spirit of the BAM. His most well-known BAM play, entitled Flowers for the Trashman, deals with generational difficulties and the crisis of the Black intellectual as he deals with education in a white-controlled culture. Marvin X's other works include, The Black Bird, The Trial, Resurrection of the Dead and In the Name of Love.
He currently has the longest running African American drama in the San Francisco Bay area and Northern California, ONE DAY IN THE LIFE, a tragi-comedy of addiction and recovery. He is the founder and director of RECOVERY THEATRE.
Marvin X has continued to work as a lecturer, teacher and producer. He has taught at Fresno State University; San Francisco State University; University of California - Berkeley and San Diego; University of Nevada, Reno; Mills College, Laney and Merritt Colleges in Oakland. He has received writing fellowships from Columbia University and the National Endowment for the Arts and planning grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Marvin X is available for lectures/readings/performance. Contact him at jmarvinx@yahoo.
BEYOND RELIGION, TOWARD SPIRITUALITY, ESSAYS ON CONSCIOUSNESS
Black Bird Press
1222 Dwight Way
Berkeley CA 04706
280 pages, $19.95
Marvin X has done extraordinary mind and soul work in bringing our attention to the importance of spirituality, as opposed to religion, in our daily living. Someone�maybe Kierkegaard or maybe it was George Fox who�said that there was no such thing as "Christianity." There can only be Christians. It is not institutions but rather individuals who make the meaningful differences in our world. It is not Islam but Muslims. Not Buddhism but Buddhists. Marvin X has made a courageous difference. In this book he shares the wondrous vision of his spiritual explorations. His eloquent language and rhetoric are varied�sophisticated but also earthy, sometimes both at once.
Highly informed he speaks to many societal levels and to both genders�to the intellectual as well as to the man/woman on the street or the unfortunate in prison�to the mind as well as the heart. His topics range from global politics and economics to those between men and women in their household. Common sense dominates his thought. He shuns political correctness for the truth of life. He is a Master Teacher in many fields of thought�religion and psychology, sociology and anthropology, history and politics, literature and the humanities. He is a needed Counselor, for he knows himself, on the deepest of personal levels and he reveals that self to us, that we might be his beneficiaries.
All of which are represented in his Radical Spirituality�a balm for those who anguish in these troubling times of disinformation. As a shaman himself, he calls too for a Radical Mythology to override the traditional mythologies of racial supremacy that foster war and injustice. If you want to reshape (clean up, raise) your consciousness, this is a book to savor, to read again, and again�to pass onto a friend or lover.
�Rudolph Lewis, Editor, ChickenBones: A Journal
In the Crazy House Called America
Click to order via Amazon
Format: Paperback, 204pp
Pub. Date: January 2003
Publisher: Black Bird Press
In the Crazy House Called America is available from Black Bird Press, Berkeley,$19.95. Contact Marvin X at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Rarely is a brother secure and honest enough with himself to reveal his innermost thoughts, emotions or his most hellacious life experiences. For most men it would be a monumental feat just to share/bare his soul with his closest friends but to do so to perfect strangers would be unthinkable, unless he had gone through the fires of life and emerged free of the dross that tarnishes his soul. Marvin X, poet, playwright, author and essayist does just that in a self-published book entitled In The Crazy House Called America.
This latest piece from Marvin X offers a peek into his soul and his psyche. He lets the reader know he is hip to the rabid oppression the West heaps upon people of color especially North American Africans while at the same time revealing the knowledge gleaned from his days as a student radical, black nationalist revolutionary forger of the Black Arts Movement, husband, father lover, a dogger of women did not spare him the degradation and agony of descending into the abyss of crack addiction, abusive and toxic relationships and family tragedy.
Perhaps because of the knowledge gained as a member of the Nation of Islam, and his experiences as one of the prime movers of the cultural revolution of the '60, the insights he shares In The Crazy House Called America are all the keener. Marvin writes candidly of his pain, bewilderment and depression of losing his son to suicide. He shares in a very powerful way, his own out of body helplessness as he wallowed in the dregs of an addiction that threatened to destroy his soul and the mess his addictions made of his life and relationships with those he loved. But he is not preachy and this is not an autobiography. He has already been there and done that. In sharing his story and the wisdom he has gleaned from his life experiences and looking at the world through the eyes of an artist/healer,.."
�Junious Ricardo Stanton
Love and War: Poems
by Marvin X. Preface by Lorenzo Thomas
Format: Paperback, 140pp.
Publisher: Black Bird Press
Book of poetry by Black Arts activist, preface by Lorenzo Thomas. "When you listen to Tupac Shakur, E-40, Too Short, Master P or any other rappers out of the Bay Area of Cali, think of Marvin X. He laid the foundation and gave us the language to express Black male urban experience in a lyrical way." James G. Spady, Philadelphia New Observer.
Read: Marvin X Unplugged An Interview by Lee Hubbard
Movie Reviews by Marvin X on AALBC.com include:
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Marvin X returned to his Alma Mater, San Francisco State University, for a Black History Month talk in Davey D's class on Hip Hop. Davey D asked the poet about ideological differences between the Black Arts Movement and the political liberation movement, especially between BAM at the Black Panther Party. The poet said much of the dispute centered around arm struggle, with the Panthers decrying all those who refused to pick up the gun. He said armed struggle became an issue in the founding of the BPP since Bobby Seale and Huey distinguished themselves from their intellectual friends when they picked up guns to defend the community against police occupation and abuse under the color of law.
It was only until the Panthers attended the Pan African Cultural Festival in Algeria that they gained an understanding of the necessary role of art and culture in the liberation movement.
What was ironic was that many of the Panther leaders came through Marvin X's Black Arts West Theatre, including Bobby Seale (co-founder), Eldridge Cleaver, minister of information, Emory Douglas, minister of culture, George Murray, minister of education, and Samuel Napier, minister of distribution. Bobby was in Come Next Summer, X's second play writtern prior to and performed before he established Black Arts West, 1966, with playwright Ed Bullins, Hurriyah (Ethna X), Carl Bossiere, Duncan Barber, Hillery Broadous.
This is why Marvin X disputes Larry Neal's assertion that BAM was the sister of the liberation movement. Marvin says BAM was more like the Mother, especially on the West Coast.
When Eldridge Cleaver financed the Black House with his royalties from the best seller Soul on Ice, 1967, after his release from prison, Marvin X and Ed Bullins operated the cultural component with Cleaver manning the political division, but Cleaver was exposed to a healthy dose of culture from co-founders Bullins and X, along with Amiri Baraka's Communications Project that performed at Black House. Other artists were Sarah Webster Fabio, Reginald Lockett, Avotcja and the Chicago Arts Ensemble.
Aside from armed struggle there were differences over the use of Marxism as a tool of analysis. Cleaver wanted the artists to be Marxist oriented but Islam was a greater influence than Marxist Leninism, although the writers and poets did indeed read Mao Tse Tung's Talks on Art and Literature at Yenan Forum.
But Islam dominated Black Arts West and Black House, aside from Cleaver and Ed Bullins, Black House members Marvin Jackmon (later Marvin X), Ethna Wyatt (later Ethna X), singer Willie Dale and his wife Vernastine were drifting into the Nation of Islam. While Cleaver had California Communist Party Secretary Roscoe Proctor giving seminars on Communism at Black House, Black Arts West Guru Alonzo Batin had a profound influence on those drifting toward Islam. Ahmedia Muslim language instructor, Ali Sharif Bey, infused the artists with his knowledge of Arabic and Urdu. He was Marvin's first Arabic teacher and gave him his first Arabic name, Nazzam Al Fitnah, organizer from persecution.
Bey said the poet is an organizer or systematizer, for he creates a system or mythology with the body of his work. The third Islamic influence was from Aaron Ali, a former minister in the NOI but had been set down by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Aaron Ali was a shaykh or holy man who taught linguistics to all who entered his domain. One could not enter without assuming the most humble persona. He used to debate in the hood with San Francisco semanticist SI Hayakawa, the English professor who became President of SFSU and crushed the Student Strike at SFSU, using State violence. Aaron Ali called Hayakawa an Oriental with an Occidental Mind! By suppressing the student strike, Hayakawa proved Aaron Ali was right.
The issue of arm struggle exploded after Marvin X introduced Eldridge to Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. Eldridge immediately joined the Black Panther Party and proceeded to evict the artists. Thereafter relations between the politicos and artists/intellectuals degenerated.
The original split happened when Bobby departed from the SoulBook magazine intellectuals, Ernie Allen, Mamadou Lumumba, Carol Freeman,Isaac Moore and others, claiming there were cowards for not taking up arms, even though they had founded the first Black Panther Party in the Bay Area, the Black Panther Party of Northern California. When Huey Newton and Bobby Seale connected, they demanded the intellectual Panthers take up arms or give up the Panther name.
To make their point, the BPP of Self Defense fired off rounds at a house party in San Francisco hosted by the intellectual Panthers. Thus began the bitter struggle between the political nationalists and the cultural nationalists, culminating in the assassination of Alprentis Bunchy Carter and John Huggins in the BSU meeting from at UCLA.
The assailants were members of the US organization under the leadership of Kwanza Founder Maulana Ron Karenga, the supreme cultural nationalist who guided Amiri Baraka into Karenga's Kawaida religion, a syncretized belief system concocted by Karenga.
Apprently Karenga taught Baraka the organizing skills necessary to put together an organization that enabled Ken Gibson to be elected Newark, New Jersey's first black mayor. After Karenga's men were indicted for the murder of Carter and Huggins, Baraka severed his ties with Karenga and after witnessing Gibson selling out to Newark Plantation Master Prudential Insurance before inauguration day, yes, after organizing ten thousand North American Africans at the Congress of African People, Baraka is totally disillusioned with Cultural Nationalism and elected politicians, definitely after the Gary Convention of 1972 when they openly revealed their sell out personas.
It is at this point that Baraka dons the Marxist hat he wears today, thus switching with Cleaver who saw Jesus in the moon in his Paris exile and returned home a Born Again Christian. Cleaver switched to the right when it was clear the left was not going to assist him in returning from his Paris, France exile. He had fled the US after the shootout with Oakland Police Department in which Lil Bobby Hutton was murdered in cold blood by the OPD.
The notes above are a more detailed account than what was presented in Davey D's class.
I told the students revolution only happens when all forces in society unite, whether the armed struggle people, along with the non-violent persons, artists, workers, students, elders, children, teachers, preachers, prisoners and ex-prisoners, only then are we able to make revolution.
The poet asked the class to give a shout out to the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Morocco who are in the process of revolution. What is ironic is that they used methods used in our revolution, especially during the civil rights era with Martin Luther Kings, Jr.'s non-violence. During their 18 days of deposing Pharaoh Mubarak, the people did not fire a bullet that we know about. They used our technique to win their freedom. With their million man march, they perfected our MMM and showed what we should have done when the million black men marched: we should have remained in DC until our agenda was met, no matter what, i.e., reparations, land, self-determination, sovereignty , etc. But we got out of town before sundown. Marvin quoted Sun Ra who taught him, "The Creator got things fixed, if you don't do the right thing, you can't go forward or backward, you just stuck on stupid."
Marvin told the students, "We may need to return to DC with a million black men, a million white men, a mission Asians, a million Latinos, a million gays and lesbians.
The people of the Middle East are showing you how to lay down before tanks, if you are really serious about shaking off the slave system. He told the students it is their fault if they are being subjected to tuition hikes at every turn, program cuts, and other high fees.
He told them he had met at student on the way to class that asked what should be done about tuition and fees. Marvin had told her to do exactly what her father did when he was a student at SFSU. He was part of the student strike to demand justice in academia, including a fair share of Associated Students funds, a black studies department. How can you SFSU students have this legacy yet accept the status quo? Close this motherfucker down! Dr. X said. The administration, representing the State, will come to you on bending knees, what do you students want? Full scholarships, ok. No program cuts, ok. No hiking of student fees, ok. Now, will you students please go home! Please leave the campus! If you stand up, the oppressor stands down. Look at the Middle East. Look at the history of SFSU!
Furthermore, Marvin X said, your President had guaranteed the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan that if they will lay down their arms and pledge allegiance to the constitutions of their lands, the USA will provide them with education, employment and housing.
If your President can do this for terrorists abroad, you must demand he do the same for youth at home.
Marvin X then gave his solution to the homeless problem. I have a simple solution, the life estate. This can end homelessness immediately by giving all homeless youth and adults a life estate, that is a title to an apartment or home that they own for life. The property cannot be transferred, sold, rented, willed or any other change of ownership. A transition of the owner, the property reverts to a community trust. The will take a basic level of stress off the poor. Marvin X said he'd watched a documentary of senior citizens in China who lived in a senior village with a life estate. But to end homelessness in America, the life estate can be utilized. X said it is all about thinking outside the box.
He told students to strive for ideological clarity, to seek knowledge beyond their white supremacy education. Study events in the Middle East, study economic planning in the Americas, in Venezuela, Boliva, Nicaragua, Brazil. Study the complexities of Haiti. And whatever you do, don't whip the white man's ass like Haiti did. You see the result. He will hate you forever.
It is not much different in the American South. There are many in the south who still can't get over that they lost the Civil War. The South functions in a state of grand denial, yet every one is armed, the south is an armed camp, men and women are armed.
Brothers tell me they would never drive down those southern roads at night without their guns. The South sings the blues for the return of the Slave System. The Africans know the Whites would love to put them back in chains. The prison system is nothing but the slave system under the US Constitution that allows involuntary servitude. And then the South practices the most wretched wage slavery, forcing persons to work two and three minimum wage jobs to survive.
The poet turned to his book How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy. The book was written in South Carolina, and when he went to copy the manuscript, the black woman clerk asked the poet where he was from. He said South Carolina. She said no you ain't because we don't say that word down here, White Supremacy. Yes, the South has a way to deal with language, more polite, more subtle, more innuendo , circumlocution, an etiquette of the most profound degree since it is about survival.
Marvin noted that black people in the South tell Cali Negroes not to come down there taking that talk then leave them with the white man. They've had four hundred years dealing with The Cracker and they don't need Cali Negroes stirring up things then leaving.
Nevertheless, he told the students he envisions a Second Civil War to finish the first, since the first left us in virtual slavery or essentially still a captive of the Slave System until today.
He told them as per their college education, don't believe the State is broke, or that America is broke, rather know the wealth is being hoarded by the blood suckers of the poor. It must be seized from them and redistributed to the masses of the people, especially the workers, the poor righteous teachers and others. Let's share the wealth! We shall not long endure capitalist greed.
And don't believe the media propaganda from the Jim Crow Media that America is broke. How can America be broke when half the money owned China is due American corporations who are part owners in Chinese corporations? Dr. Nathan Hare says don't believe anything the white man says until proven to be a fact.
As per Dr. Hare, Marvin turned to his book How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, telling students Dr. Hare teaches us there are two types of White Supremacy, Type I and Type II. Type II is Black people who suffer white supremacy, who must detox, recover and discover their true mission in life.
These are just a few of the points Marvin X made during his talk at San Francisco State University tonight.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
On Saturday, March 19, Bay Area Black Authors and Academy of da Corner Reader's Theatre present Women Poets in the Journal of Pan African Studies, Bathroom Graffiti Queen, a drama by Opal Palmer Adisa, produced, directed and starring Ayodele Nzingha of the Lower Bottom Playaz.
The Academy of da Corner Reader's Theatre will perform material from the Wisdom of Plato Negro, Parables/fables, by Marvin X. Music by Mechelle LaChaux and Rashidah Sabreen.
Women poets performing include: Ayodele Nzingha, Aries Jordon, Phavia Kujichagulia, Tureadah Mikell, devorah major. Readers Theatre cast members are Talibah, Mechelle LaChaux, Hunia Bradley.
Author Timothy Reed and Journalist Jerri Lange will read and discuss their books.
The event will have books available to purchase for donation to juvenile hall, country jail and prison, a project of Bay Area Black Authors, the Post Newspaper Group, Hug A Thug Book Club and Academy of da Corner. email@example.com. www.blackbirdpressnews.blogspot.com. Call
510-8375421. The event is at the Joyce Gordon Gallery, 406 14th Street, downtown Oakland.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Call for Papers:
The Black Chauncey Bailey Project
an anthology of essays on the assassination of Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey
Edited by Marvin X, published by Black Bird Press, Bay Area Black Authors and the Post Newspaper Group. Deadline, September, 2011.
We welcome papers, essays, memoirs, opinion, critical reviews, investigative reports, scholarly writings on Chauncey Bailey, who was assassinated in broad daylight on his way to work at 7:30 in the morning.
We invite authors to approach the topic from any angle that transcends the Jim Crow Media's version that he was killed by the Black Muslim Bakery Brothers solely because he was investigating the financial records and sexual behavior of bakery founder, Dr. Yusef Bey.
We welcome investigative writings that also focus on the role of the Oakland Police Department, City Hall under then Mayor Jerry Brown and Mayor Ron Dellums, and possibly other local, state and national politicians.
Papers can address the life and times of Chauncey and his work, especially at the Oakland Tribune, California Voice, Soulbeat Television and as Editor of the Oakland Post.
Another approach can be the unique fact that he is one of the few journalists killed in American history, especially compared with journalists in other countries such as Mexico, Columbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia, China and many African nations.
The killing of Chauncey Bailey can be approached historically as it cannot be separated from the killing of black men in the Bay Area and America in general. Why does such killing continue under the color of law? The Black Panther Party began partially in reaction to the police killing of Denzil Dowell in Richmond, California. Because the OPD is yet to be charged in the assassination, doesn't absolve them of conspiracy in the matter. Their officers may yet be indicted, most certainly in the court of people's justice.
Length should be one thousand to two thousand words, but there can be exceptions. The proceeds from this anthology will go to a trust fund for Chauncey's son and Bay Area Authors. Writers will be compensated for their submission.
We invite you to submit your manuscript as a MS Word attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marvin X, Editor
O, Malcolm X
We love you
ain't did nothing you said
yet the chickens home to roost
me being a country boy
makes me glad
like you said
but what now
will we go into the coop
get the golden eggs
stand up on the real
even lay down for the cause
in front of tanks, guns, tear gas
like the Egyptians
we know you smilin
but ain't we Egyptians too
Latter Day Egyptian Revisionists
Sun Ra said
We remember you in Egypt
praying in the Majed
we love you.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Let us push forward in the wind
fly on freedom's wings
he could not come home
so the world was his home
leader in battle
we love you DC.
We shall see you again
in the wind.
from Sweet Tea/Dirty Rice Poems, Marvin X, Black Bird Press, Berkeley, late 2011.
He was Field Marshall of the Black Panthers and wanted for murder in the USA. DC was in charge of the Panther military.
Upon his transition, his wife Barbara, who lives in Philadelphia, issued the following statement:
His wife,barbara easley cox(BC), had just spend last summer with him and his daughter, kimberly, was there in october. They are both thankful for the memories.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Let My People Go!
I do not care who you are, kings for life, presidents for life, let my people go! I don't care if you are American running dogs or religious running dogs from Saudi Arabia, let my people go. I don't care if you are Sunni or Shia, let my people go. I don't care if you are Christian Imperialists, let my people go! Take your guns, your tanks, you drones, your plane, your tear gas, your tanks, and let my people go. Let them go right now, today, right now!
My people belong to God, not me, not you, not religious movements, but God Almighty, not Sunni, not Shia, not Hamas, not Hezballah, no sect, no group, no cult, no tribe, no nation, but to God. Let my people go! No president for life owns the people, no king, no prime minister, no globalists, imperialists from America owns the people, only the people own the people. Let my people go!
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Happy Birthday Huey P. Newton! Co-founder of The Black Panther Party an African-American left-wing organization working for the right of self-defense for African-Americans in the United States. The Party achieved national and international impact and renown through their deep involvement in the Black Power movement and in politics of the 1960s and 1970s, as the intense anti-racism of the time is today considered one of the most significant social, political and cultural currents in United States history. The group’s “provocative rhetoric, militant posture, and cultural and political flourishes permanently altered the contours of American Identity.”
unfortunately, the young black people who have a media platform today are mainly rappers/artists. and as much as i love hip hop, although the majority of rap artists ‘portray’ the confidence, fearlessness, badass attitude of the panthers, the content, intellectualism, or politicism is non-existent. huey & the panther crew were college educated young men/women (aging in range from 16 - 25). they were well read. according to writer marvin x who studied with huey & co at merritt college in oakland, their independent reading list comprised of:
Black Bourgeoisie, E. Franklin Frazier
Facing Mount Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta
Wretched of the Earth, Franz Fanon
History Will Absolve Me, Fidel Castro
Neocolonialism, the last stage of Imperialism, Kwame Nkrumah
Negro Slave Revolts, Herbert Apteker
Myth of the Negro Past, Melville J. Herskivits
i contend that being a rapper/artist/in the public eye does not make one conscious politically or active socially but you’d hope that after gaining a certain level of celebrity, you’d take it upon yourself to read some books, do some learning at least if for nothing else you sound smart if you’re given a platform such as oprah/charlie rose/bill maher etc.
perhaps if a certain artist had read a few of the books on the list, he might have been better able to articulate sentiments such as ‘george bush doesn’t like black people’!
and even though wiz khalifa’s new song ‘huey newton’ has absolutely NOTHING to do with the newton’s life/legacy perhaps it will inspire a few kids to google him just to find out who the hell wiz is talking about.