Monday, March 11, 2013

Hurriyah Asar at Black Love Lives Conference

Hurriyah Amanuel Asar must be recognized as a founder of Black Arts West Theatre, San Francisco, 1966, along with playwright Ed Bullins, Marvin X, Carl Bossiere, Hillery Broadus and Duncan Barber. When Marvin X connected with Eldridge Cleaver after his release from Soledad Prison, and established the political/cultural center known as Black House, San Francisco, 1967, Hurriyah and Marvin X were partners in revolutionary struggle at Black House. Black House was the center of Black culture and radical activism circa 1967. From Black House came the Black Arts Movement, e.g., Amiri and Amina Baraka (pregnant with their first child Obalaji) Chicago Arts Ensemble, Sarah Webster fabio, Avotchja, Reginal Lockett, Ed Bullins, Marvin X, Eldridge Cleaver, the Black Panther Party, Samuel Napier, Emory Douglas, Eldridge Cleaver. See Marvin X's memoir Eldridge Cleaver: My friend the Devil, Black Bird Press, 2009. Any study of Bay Area Black theatre and social activist arts workers must include the role of Ethna X. Wyatt, aka Hurriyah, aka Shahidah. In later years, Hurriyah became the Chief Market Woman at the Berkeley Flea Market, the crossroads of Bay Area North American Africans. Her concept of the general store is imitated throughout the Flea Market, even thought she departed years ago to become a land owner in South Carolina's Gullahland.

Others who were critical to the Black House were Amina and Amiri Baraka, Lil Bobby Hutton, Bunchy Carter, Maulana Karenga, Samuel Napier, Norman Brown, Alonzo Batin (RIP), Sonia Sanchez, et al.

Poem for Hurriyah: The Comforter

Who is this woman
who comes to me
out of darkness
crying in the name of Allah
for me to comfort her
I have seen her before
in my dreams
I have seen her
walking through snow
eating fruit where hot winds blow
here you are again
you want my love and mercy
Do not thank me
Thank God/Allah: We feed you for Allah's pleasure only
we desire from you neither reward nor thanks!

Thank God
I am His servant
I saw you in the fog
were you man or woman
you did not know
now you know
but do not act
even the moon submits
to the morning sun
Where are you in the circle of time
Dry your eyes sweet woman
Let me rock your soul
With my Father's hands
I will not be here long.

--Marvin X
from Fly to Allah, poems, Marvin X, 1967.

Ethna X. Wyatt, aka Hurriyah Asar, Queen of San Francisco's Black Arts West Theatre and the Black House. She will attend the Black Love Lives Conference with her friend of 47 years, Marvin X.
This photo appeared in Black Dialogue Magazine, San Francisco, 1966

Ethna, aka Hurriyah, designed and made this shirt (black velvet, gold trimmings) for Marvin X's production Resurrection of the Desd, a myth-ritual dance drama, Black Educational Theatre, San Francisco, 1972.

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