The poet was also asked to establish Recovery Theatre South by his Houston host, brother Omawali of the National Black United Front. On Friday, NBUF screened Marvin X's video THE KINGS AND QUEENS OF BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS, which features Amiri and Amina Baraka, Dr. Julia Hare, Dr. Cornel West, Phavia Kujichagulia, Destiny, Tarika Lewis, Elliott Bey, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Ishmael Reed,
Askia Toure, Rudi Wongozi, Rev. Cecil Williams, Marvin X and others. The poet read and answered questions for nearly two hours on every topic under the sun: the black arts movement, role and mission of youth in today's struggle, lack of unity, lack of reconciliation among 60s progressives and its effect on youth of today; will there be revolution without family unity; conflict between Panthers and other groups and within the Panthers, e.g. the conflict between Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver; between US and the Panthers. The poet said the rappers of today are our children, their behavior a direct reflection of our behavior during the 60s, 70s and 80s. They have our toxic waste.
He said the hip hop poetry readings are therapeutic for youth--peer counseling and a good thing but they must move to a revolutionary consciousness, get beyond the personal, although it is good to hear youth try to heal some of their wounds since many are without fathers and mothers--although they must come to terms with the fathers and mothers who abandoned them before any healing will take place. His daughter Nefertiti agreed with her dad that revolution must include caring for the family, the first unit of the community, although this reality was often forgotten during the 60s. We thought the family could be neglected for the abstraction called freedom.
We were dead wrong. We had it twisted.
On Saturday at Houston's Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, the National Black United Front hosted a forum on reparations. Keynote speaker was Att. Deadra Pellman who filed a lawsuit against corporations who benefited from slavery, including insurance companies. Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee presented a paper entitled "Making the Case for Slavery Reparations." Also on the panel was a sister who is a direct descendent of slaves and she told an eloquent story of her genealogy. In attendance were Mrs. and Mr. Omari Obadele, legends of the reparations movement and founders of N'Cobra, the organization that has spearheaded the call for reparations. The Nation of Islam was present, along with the New Black Panther Party of Houston.
Marvin X called for a general strike to go along with litigation and legislation--mass action to keep the pressure on the American people until we achieve self-determination and sovereignty. He said we should demand reparations for our ancestors if no one else. The poet described his train ride from South Carolina to Houston: as he looked out at the trees, the woods, the swamps, the marsh, the rivers, he thought about the many thousands gone, bones buried deep in the clay, in the creeks. He thought about the slaves who tried to escape but failed and the ones who did make it to freedom. For all these people, we must fight for reparations, and as Brother Kofi of NBUF noted, we must fight for compensation for the vestiges of slavery: our deplorable mental and physical health, our poor housing and now gentrification, lack of economic parity and educational opportunities. On another level, Marvin X noted that we are the 16th richest nation in the world (GNP), so even without reparations we have enough money to come up, if we use it wisely. We must take authority over our economic resources. The forum ended with Marvin X reading his poem "When I'll Wave The Flag."
Later that evening, the poet's daughter, Nefertiti, hosted a book party for her father, but because of the ENRON disaster many of the lawyers and MBAs present were unemployed and unable to purchase his book of essays, but they listened attentively as he read.