Monday, June 9, 2014

The Dr. Cornel West/Marvin X connection

              Poor People

For Cornel and Tavis

Marvin X is the poorest famous person I ever met.--Toya Carter

Stay poor, Marvin, it will keep you honest and truthful.--Dr. Nathan Hare

We are poor people
kidnapped dispossessed
we are poor people
chattel slaves
wage slaves no slave (job)
we are poor people
we survive on love
we survive on hate
we hunt we prey on other poor
we sell our souls we sell our bodies
we sell our minds
just to eat to feed our children
we are poor people
having nothing never starving
often on the brink
sometimes we feast
get drunk get loaded
fight Saturday night
fuck Sunday morning
we are poor people
in our ignorance
we know something is wrong
something stinks
we call on God we call on Jesus
we call on Allah we call the doctor
we call our mama
to help us understand why
we are poor people
why we have no land want no land
why our leaders are dead or silent
crucified by the police starved by the politicians
our leaders
why we birth them
but do not protect them
we are poor people
we visit the rich
we stare in wonder
the plush life
we know we don't belong
we excuse ourselves
return to the ghetto
now we feel at home
now we feel a man
even with nothing
a man
not a smiling buffon
a man
no Master Charge
a man
no 30 year mortgage
a man
no winter in Jamaica
a man.
--Marvin X

from Selected Poems by Marvin X, Black Bird Press, 1979 

Marvin X's stepson, Kwame Satterfield, is Cornel West's first cousin on his father's side, Fuad Satterfield, a painter and professor emeritus. Cornel and Marvin also have a mutual friend, journalist Fahizah Alim.
photo Gene Hazzard

"Marvin X's writing is orgasmic!" says journalist Fahizah Alim. 

Cornel participated in Marvin X's concert The Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness at San Francisco State University, April 1, 2001. 

Cornel embracing two of Marvin X's daughters, Nefertiti and Amira. Man on far left is Marvin X's mentor, the Honorable John Douimbia, founder of the Black Men's Conference, Oakland, 1980.  John was an associate of Malcolm X during his Harlem hustling days and after. John told Malcolm about the need for a secular organization. Malcolm eventually formed the OAAU, Organization of Afro-American Unity. 

Marvin has asked Angela Davis and Sonia Sanchez to join the BAM 27 City Tour

Cornel has signed on to Marvin X's Black Arts Movement 27 City Tour in honor of Amiri Baraka. Other educators on the tour include Sonia Sanchez, Dr. Tony Montiero, Dr. Muhammad Ahmad (Max Stanford) and Dr. Nathan Hare, the father of Black Studies.

 Dr. Nathan Hare, father of Black Studies

 Amiri Baraka and Marvin X were friends for 47 years.

 With the election of her son Ras Baraka as Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Mrs. Amina Baraka has had some of her grief over the loss of her husband assuaged.

 Askia Muhammad and Marvin X, godfathers of the Black Arts Movement. Askia will participate in the BAM 27 City Tour.
The only problem with you is that you don't know the problem!--Ab (RIP)

 Temple University's embattled professor Dr. Tony Montiero. He is down for the BAM 27 City Tour

Dr. Ahmad, another Temple University embattled professor will be part of the BAM Tour. Muhammad was a founder of RAM (Revolutionary Action Movement) along with Robert F. Williams (Negroes With Guns)
Marvin X with the Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra at the May 17, 2014, Malcolm X Jazz/Arts Festival, Oakland. Here he performs with David Murray and Earl Davis. Marvin is reading Amiri Baraka's classic poem DOPE. The BAM 27 City Tour is available for booking, please call 510-200-4164/email:

On Sunday, June 15, Marvin X will kickoff Berkeley's Juneteenth Festival

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