Sunday, May 18, 2014

Marvin X and the Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra Rock Oakland's Malcolm X Jazz Festival

Coming soon to Oakland's Paramount Theatre: Marvin X and the Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra. Stay tuned to the Black Bird Press News for date and time. After the performance of Marvin X and the Black Arts Movement Poets Choir & Arkestra at University of California, Merced earlier this year, a young brother told Marvin X, "The tickets should be $400.00 to attend this BAM concert."

FYI, we are still waiting for more pics (if you have pics, please send ASAP). This was hardly a one man show. Other performers included Choreographer Linda Johnson and her dancers--Linda opened the show and stole the show with the beauty of her movement. There was harpist and vocalist Destiny Muhammad; violinist Tarika Lewis with her young students (awesome); vocalist Mechelle LaChaux, actress/poet Ayodele Nzinga; poets Genny Lim, Toreada Mikell, Paradise Jah Love, Kalamu Chache', Aries Jordan, and actor Geoffery Grier, percussionist Tacuma King, drummer Val Serrant, Zena Allen on the Kora, singer Rashidah Sabreen, et al. 

Marvin X reading Amiri Baraka's classic poem DOPE, accompanied by Arkestra members:  percussionist Tacuma King, left, drummer Val Serrant, center, and sax living legend David Murray, right. David endorsed and will participate in Marvin X and the Black Arts Movement 27 City Tour. David said he can definitely help take the BAM tour internationally. David lives in Paris, France.
photo Frank Phillips

 Marvin X reading Amiri Baraka's DOPE, accompanied by sax man David Murray and Earl Davis on trumpet. Earl Davis is an original member of Marvin X's Black Arts West Theatre, San Francisco, 1966. photo Harrison Chastang

 photo Harrison Chastang
photo Harrison Chastang

Maisha introducing Marvin X and the BAM poets choir and arkestra.
photo Frank Phillips

Mechelle LaChaux rocked the house with her holy ghost church version of I Don't Know What You Came to Do, accompanied by Destiny Muhammad on harp and Tarika Lewis on violin, along with one her students, BAM baby 3.0

BAM Poets Choir members Geoffery Grier, Rashidah Sabreen, Toreada Mikell, Kalamu Chache', Genny Lim. They were powerful and eloquent as poet/actors and as chorus in their call and response.
photo credit Daniela Kantorova

 Choreographer Linda Johnson opened the BAM myth-ritual with her dancers. They were so beautiful some people cried tears of joy. Her two African drummers were bad too. photo credit Daniela Kantorova

Several of Linda's students came from the audience to join her on stage.

BAM Asian Poet Genny Lim reading a poem in praise of Amiri Baraka
photo credit Daniela Kantorova

 Poet Paradise Jah Love reading his classic They Love Everything About You But You!
photo credit Daniela Kantorova

Poet/actress/director/producer Dr. Ayodel Nzinga performing Marvin X's Parable of Woman on the cell  phone. The woman is in her coffin describing her funeral to her girlfriend.
photo Daniela Kantorova

 Marvin X, percussionist Tacuma King and Zena Allen on Kora
(sound man in b.g. thank you Mr. Sound Man, good job!)

Marvin X and Umar Bin Hasan of the Last Poets
The Last Poets are part of the BAM 27 City Tour

Dear friends,
On behalf of the Black Arts Movement 27 City Tour in honor of our beloved ancestor Amiri Baraka and all those BAM workers throughout America and the world, we seek support for the National BAM Tour:

Financial Sponsors – financially support of single city and/or multiple cities to cover production costs, honorariums and travel for participants.
Event Partners – event partners to assist with production, promotion, logistics, accommodations, meals, transportation, etc.
Host Venues – venues to host panels, exhibitions and performances
Presenter/Participants – local and national artists and scholars to present
Production Team –  team support local and national event production and promotion in each city

If you can help us in any way, please let us hear from you at the earliest. Call 510-200-4164; 
jmarvinx  Below is the Abstract for our tour.


Marvin X, M.A.
Project Director

Associate Producer:
muhammida el muhajir
sun in leo, inc.
f: sun in leo
t: @suninleonyc


The mission of the Black Arts Movement’s 27 City Tour is to continue the cultural revolution we initiated during the 1960s.  This cultural revolution is still needed because for a variety of reasons the Black Arts Movement was aborted due to the radical nature of our task which was the liberation of our people in harmony with the political movement.  Today, the need to address the political condition is critical, yes, even with the election of a non-white president, though this president has done little to address non-white issues, especially the high unemployment of youth, the high incarceration rate of 2.4 million  and the deportation rate of two million so called illegal immigrants since President Obama took office.

But more than the political and economic situation is the cultural condition, the reactionary values in hip hop culture, especially unconscious rap poetry, and even the socalled conscious poetry is, in the words of my daughter, an expression of the pseudo conscious, for words are not followed by the right action. As we know, talk is cheap!

But most important is the overall lack of mental health wellness in our community nationwide, to say nothing of physical wellness. The high rate of homicide among young North American African men is symptomatic of a lack of manhood training or the infusion of traditional values that inspire and motivate people to be the best they can be, to give honor and respect to their elders and ancestors. 

The 50%  or more drop out rate of students in our schools is partly the result of our dire mental health condition. Alas, it is said not only is there a critical need for a positive curriculum and teachers with an undying love for our children, but the mental health condition of our children requires mental health counselors with radical  values of wellness  based on a holistic approach to solving our myriad psychosocial and economic issues.  We are dumbfounded to learn the USA  (Bush and Obama) promised the young men in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere (except in the USA) three items if they stop their violence and pledge allegiance to the constitution of their lands: education, jobs and housing. Why not offer education, jobs and housing for the boyz and girls ,  in the hood? The BAM tour will address some of these issues through the medium of art, i.e. poetry, drama, dance, music, graphics.

While art therapy has been used in traditional cultures, and was utilized in the Black Arts Movement, there must be a concerted effort to make use of art in the healing of our people. Throughout the years, we have seen the power of art in changing destructive personalities. We recall the production we did of Amiri Baraka’s play Dutchman in Fresno CA. The local pimp loaned us  a wig for the female character Lula. When he viewed the play and saw her stab the young North American African male, Clay, this rocked the pimp’s world and he threw in his pimping towel, joined the Nation of Islam and eventually became an imam and made his haj or pilgrimage to Mecca. Thus we see the power of art to heal broken, self destructive and economically damaged personalities.

Many times we heard Amiri Baraka speak about the need to reach our people in the 27 major cities we inhabit—to reach out and touch them with healing Black Art that can restore our mental and physical wellness.  In honor of ancestor Amiri Baraka, we propose to conduct a 27 city tour with concerts and wellness workshops to aid in the recovery of ourselves. Our special focus shall be on young Black men, although we cannot  and will not ignore young black women, nor will we avoid adult and parental responsibility.

We estimate the overall budget for this project will be 2.7 million dollars at $100,000 per city, including  artist fees, promotion, advertisement, rental of venues, insurance, security, lodging, food and transportation. Since many of the Black Arts Movement workers are elders, the timeline would be at least three years to complete this project,  including planning and production.

BAM workers in each community will be recruited to participate and we would like to establish a BAM center in each city, no matter if it is a 50 seat theatre as Amiri Baraka suggested.  A staff of educators,  and mental and physical health workers must be a part of this project so that we more effectively deal with our wellness in a holistic manner.


Marvin X, Project Director
The Black Arts Movement 27 City Tour
Philadelphia PA

National Advisory Board Members (invited by Marvin X)

Mrs. Amina Baraka
Sonia Sanchez
Askia Toure
Umar Bin Hassan
Haki Madhubuti
Mae Jackson
Rudolph Lewis
Maurice Henderson
Emory Douglas
Elena Seranno
Greg Morozumi
Woody King
Ted Wilson
Troy Johnson
Kalamu Ya Salaam
Eugene Redman
Kim McMillan
Ayodele Nzinga
Geoffery Grier
Nefertiti Jackmon
Muhammida El Muhajir
Jessica Care Moore
Paul Cobb
Conway Jones
John Burris
James Sweeney
Fahizah Alim
Nisa Ra
Aries Jordan
Sam Anderson
Greg Corbin
Valerie Gay
Jerry Vernado
Warren Foster

Cities where North American Africans are in large numbers

RankCityAfrican-American Population Size (2010 Census)[1]Percentage African-American
1New York, New York MSA3,362,61617.8
2Atlanta, Georgia MSA1,772,56933.6
3Chicago, Illinois MSA1,721,57818.2
4Washington, District of Columbia (DC-MD-VA-WV) PMSA1,438,43625.8
5Philadelphia, Pennsylvania PMSA1,241,78020.8
6Miami, Florida PMSA1,169,18521.0
7Detroit, Michigan PMSA980,45122.8
8Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas PMSA961,87115.1
9Houston, Texas PMSA935,37115.9
10Los Angeles- Long Beach, California PMSA907,6187.1
11Baltimore, Maryland PMSA778,87928.7
12Memphis, Tennessee (TN-AR-MS) MSA601,04345.7
13Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, Virginia MSA522,40931.3
14St. Louis, Missouri (MO-IL) MSA516,44618.4
15Charlotte, North Carolina PMSA421,10524.0
16Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria, Ohio PMSA416,52820.1
17New Orleans, Louisiana PMSA397,09534.0
18Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia MSA375,42729.8
19San Francisco, California - Oakland - San JosePMSA363,9058.4
20Orlando, Florida MSA344,82016.2
21Boston, Massachusetts (MA-NHNECMA331,2927.3
22Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida MSA329,33411.8
23Riverside-San Bernardino, California PMSA322,4057.6
24Birmingham, Alabama MSA318,37328.2
25Jacksonville, Florida MSA292,88121.8
26Baton Rouge, Louisiana MSA285,91135.6
27Columbus, Ohio MSA273,56014.9
28Indianapolis, Indiana MSA263,37615.0
30Milwaukee-Waukesha, Wisconsin PMSA261,01016.8
29Nassau-Suffolk County, New York PMSA260 27310.88
30Jackson, Mississippi MSA257,02147.7
30Cincinnati, Ohio (OH-KY-IN) PMSA255,90512.0
31Columbia, South Carolina MSA255,10433.2
32Kansas City, Missouri (MO-KS) MSA254,50912.5
33Minneapolis-Saint Paul MSA243,4147.4
34Nashville, Tennessee MSA242,26415.2
35Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina MSA228,26820.2
36Phoenix, Arizona MSA207,7345.0
37Las Vegas, Nevada MSA204,37910.5
38Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania MSA196,7558.4
39Seattle, Washington MSA191,9675.6
40Greensboro-High Point, NC MSA184,73025.5
41San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, California PMSA158,2135.1

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