Saturday, January 31, 2015

Marvin X in Stanley Nelson's documentary film on the Black Panther Party

Note: Marvin X received a phone call from producer, Laurens Grant, letting him know he survived the cutting and is indeed part of the people interviewed by director Stanley Nelson. There will be a private showing in the Bay soon, followed by a public screening. The film was recently screened at the Sundance Film Festival. Next weekend it will be in Los Angeles at the Pan African Film Festival.

"Marvin X was my teacher. Many of our comrades came through his Black Arts Theatre: Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Emory Douglas and Samuel Napier."--Dr. Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party



Marvin X concluded his Revolution on the Rocks Book Tour 2012 with a lunch interview with producer Laurens Grant who is working on a documentary on the Black Panther Party, directed by Stanley Nelson. Marvin X has urged her to include how the Black Panther Party in particular and the liberation movement in general was influenced by the Black Arts Movement. According to Marvin X, there was cross fertilization between the Nation of Islam, Black Panthers, Black Arts Movement and the Black Student Movement that led to Black Studies.

Bobby Seale and Marvin X at the Joyce
Gordon Gallery Black History Celebration, 2012

No aspect of the Black Consciousness Movement sprang up in isolation. We cannot discuss the Black Panthers without discussing the African American Association, led by Donald Warden, aka Khalid Abdullah Tariq Al Mansour. From the AAA's influence came the Panthers and the establishment of Black Studies at Oakland's Merritt College, even before the violent strike for Black Studies at San Francisco State College, now university.

And would the students at Merritt and San Francisco State have been motivated without the West Coast Black Arts Movement, e.g., Bobby Seale performed in Marvin X's second play Come Next Summer before joining the BPP. Bobby played the role of a young black man in search of revolutionary consciousness.

At San Francisco State College, LeRoi Jones, aka Amiri Baraka's Communications Project enrolled student actors and playwrights such as Jimmy Garrett, Benny Stewart, George Murray, Jo Ann Mitchell, Elleadar Barnes, et al., who went on to participate in the Black Panther Party after BAM consciousness.

At San Francisco State College, now University, Marvin X's first play, Flowers for the Trashman, produced by the Drama Department, 1965, ushered in Black Arts West Theatre, 1966, with X and playwright Ed Bullins. Danny Glover performed in BAW. BAW came under the influence of the Nation of Islam will key players joining the NOI, i.e., Marvin X, Duncan X, Hillary X and Ethna X.

Upon his release from prison, 1967, Eldridge Cleaver hooked up with Marvin X and they established the Black House, a political/cultural center, along with Ethna X, Ed Bullins and Willie Dale. Again the Muslim influence: Marvin X an d BAW guru and former inmate with Eldridge, Alonzo Batin, forced Eldridge Cleaver out of his white woman's house (Beverly Axelrod, the attorney who took his manuscript Soul on Ice out of Soledad Prison and whom Eldridge promised to marry, who also contracted a portion of royalties from Soul on Ice and won by default while Eldridge was exiled in Algeria). Eldridge died poor while his book is still an international bestseller as we write! You Marvin X eventually introduced Eldridge Cleaver to Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, Marvin's companions from Merritt College.

But just as the Nation of Islam recruited members of the Black Arts West Theatre, Marvin X would later recruit for the NOI. His biggest fish was no doubt Nadar Ali or Bobby Jones who Elijah Muhammad put over the fish import business.

Islam had a significant role on the East Coast Black Panther Party and the genre Muslim American literature begins with Marvin X and the BAM writers, e.g., Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, Askia Muhammad Toure, et al.

Marvin X and his mentor and associate, Master Sun Ra,outside Marvin's Black Educational Theatre on O'farrel Street, between Fillmore and Webster, 1972. Sun Ra and Marvin X were both teaching Black Studies at UC Berkeley. They produced a five hour concert without intermission and a cast of fifty at San Francisco's Harding theatre on Divisadero St.
 Eldridge and Alprentice Bunchy Carter, his prison buddy and later leader of the Los Angeles Black Panther Party, murdered on the campus of UCLA, along with John Huggins by members of the US organization, headed by Ron Karenga.

 Huey P. Newton in wicker chair, rug, shield, spear; these items came from Eldridge Cleaver's room at Beverly Axelrod's house. Marvin X and Alonzo Batin (BAM guru) moved Eldridge from Axelrod's  White House to the Black House on Broderick St., San Francisco.

 Marvin X at Fresno State College/now University. He was removed as lecturer on orders of
Governor Ronald Reagan who also removed Angela Davis from UCLA the same year, 1969.

 My Friend the Devil, Marvin's memoir of Eldridge Cleaver.

 Eldridge Cleaver and Marvin X outside the house where the Panthers had a shoot out with the OPD. Little Bobby Hutton was murdered by OPD, Cleaver wounded and later fled to exile. When he returned as a Born Again Christian, Marvin X organized his ministry. photo Muhammad Al Kareem
See My Friend the Devil, a memoir of Eldridge Cleaver by Marvin X, Black Bird Press, Berkeley, 2009. Also, Somethin' Proper, the autobiography of a North American African Poet, Marvin X, Black Bird Press, 1998. Somethin' Proper came off the press the day Eldridge Cleaver made his transition to the ancestors, May 1, 1998. Marvin X performed the memorial rites in Oakland. Kathleen and daughter Joju attended the memorial. Kathleen said, "Marvin, the memorial was great, but there were just too many Muslims!" Alas, their son is Ahmed Maceo Eldridge Cleaver, a Sunni Muslim!



Marvin X is a playwright in the true spirit of the Black Arts Movement (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 received his MA in English/Creative writing from San Francisco State University, 1975. He has taught at San Francisco State University, Fresno State University, UC Berkeley and San Diego, Mills College, Merritt and Laney Colleges in Oakland, University of Nevada, Reno.

His latest book is the Wisdom of Plato Negro, parables/fables, Black Bird Press, Berkeley. He currently teaches at his Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland, Lakeshore on Saturdays, Sundays at the Berkeley Flea Market:

ON SATURDAY, FEB 7, MARVIN X PRESENTS THE 50th Anniversary of the Black Arts Movement at Laney College, of which he is a co-founder, having worked in BAM from coast to coast. In San Francisco, he co-founded Black Arts West Theatre in the Fillmore District, 1966. In 1967 he co-founded The Black House with Eldridge Cleaver, playwright Ed Bullins and Ethna X. Wyatt. In Harlem, New York he worked at the New Lafayette Theatre, 1968: Associate Editor of Black Theatre Magazine.  

In Harlem he worked with BAM artists: Ed Bullins, Amiri Baraka, Askia Toure, The Last Poets, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Sun Ra, Haki Madhubuti, Milford Graves, Barbara Ann Teer, Mae Jackson, et al.
Marvin X in Harlem, NY, 1968
photo Doug Harris

Friday, January 30, 2015

Dr. Wade Nobles, Elaine Brown and Marvin X at Year of the African American Male, hosted by Alameda County SupervisorKeith Carson

Left to Right, Dr. Wade Nobles, Professor Emeritus, San Francisco State University; Elaine Brown, former Chairwoman of the Black Panther Party and Marvin X, co-founder of the Black Arts Movement.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Photo essay by Adam Turner: Laney College President, Faculty, Staff meet with Marvin X to plan Black Arts Movement 50th Anniversary Celebration at Laney College, Feb. 7

Black Arts Movement co-founder Marvin X, aka The Chancellor

 Dr. Leslee Stradford, curator of the BAM/Post News Group Visual Art Exhibit from San Quentin Prison. Next to her is  Brandi Howard, Staff Assistant to President Dr. Elnora T. Webb

Dr. Elnora T. Webb, President, Laney College. Laney formed a special relationship with the Black Arts Movement to make the event happen. "We love you, Dr. Elnora Tina Webb!"says Marvin X.

L to R: Jim Cave, Odell Johnson Theatre technical director; Eric Smith, Staff Assistant in Laney Business Office (sitting in for Kinetta Barnett, Laney Facilities Services Specialist) and Randolph Belle, Communications Director for President Webb.
Tamika Brown and Alicia Christenson, Co-chairs of the Ethnic Studies Department.

On Tuesday, Feb. 3, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors will honor The Black Arts Movement with a commendation for fifty years work. In the words of ancestor Paul Robeson, Marvin X and the  BAM workers describe themselves as Artistic Freedom Fighters.

BAM update: Artists, presenters and performers at Black Arts Movement 50th Anniversary Celebration, Laney College, Feb 7

 Fantastic Negrito will perform at the reception along with Earle Davis

John Santos: Keeper of the Culture 
We are honored to have the Honorable John Santos donate his time and talent

YGB, Youth Speaks Poets will perform

The Black Arts Movement Poet's Choir and Arkestra. Members performing at Laney College include the following: Tarika Lewis, Mechelle LaChaux, Paradise Jah Love, Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, Kalamu Chache', Lakiba Pittman, Earle Davis, Rashidah Sabreen, Zena Allen, Aries Jordan, Genny Lim, Tacuma King, Val Serrant, Destiny Muhammad, Tureada Mikel.

 Elaine Brown, former Black Panther Party Chairwoman will moderate panel on BAM and Black women writers.

 Suzzette Celeste, MPA, MSW, will co-facilitate the How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy Peer Group along with Dr. Nathan Hare

San Francisco State University Professor Dr. Dorothy Tsuruta will participate on the panel BAM and Black women writers. 

Aries Jordan will participate on the panel BAM and Black women writers

Dr. Ayodele Nzinga will be a panelist on BAM/Black Power Babies, along with her son Stanley. Dr. Nzinga will also direct the production of Marvin X's play Flowers for the Trashman

Dr. Nathan Hare, PhD Sociology, PhD Clinical Psychology, will co-facilitate the How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy Peer Group

Percussionist Tacuma King is part of the BAM Poet's Choir and Arkestra

 Judy Juanita, poet/novelist will be on the panel BAM and Black Women Writers

 BAM divas: Tureada Mikel, Mechelle LaChaux, Dr. Ayodele Nzinga and Tarika Lewis on violin

 Malik Seneferu will exhibit his visual art

 Michell Bennett will facilitate the BAM Wellness Boot Camp. Will Marvin X join the boot camp?

 Lakiba Pittman is part of the BAM Poet's Choir

 Kalamu Chache' is part of the BAM Poet's Choir

 Avotcja is an original BAM worker. She is part of the BAM Poet's Choir and Arkestra

 Poet Genny Lim is part of the BAM Poet's Choir and Arkestra

 Zena Allen, Kora player, is part of the BAM Poet's Choir and Arkestra

 Violinist Tarika Lewis, a member of the BAM Arkestra

 Earle Davis, an original member of Marvin X's Black Arts West Theatre on Fillmore St., SF, 1966

 Poet Paradise Jah Love will perform his classic "You love everything about me but me."

 San Francisco State University student activist. He was a member of the BSU and one of the 1968 strike leaders, now General Manager of KPOO Radio. He will appear with his daughter Renya on the BAM/Black Power Babies panel.

 Pianist Muzuki Roberson is a special guest with the BAM Poet's Choir and Arkestra

 Multi-talented Phavia Kujichagulia is a special guest with the BAM Poet's Choir and Arkestra

Empress Diamond, Mayor Libby Schaaf and Marvin X. Mayor Schaaf supports BAM District.
President of the Oakland City Council, Lynette McElhaney, Empress Diamond, Marvin X. President McElhaney will introduce resolution and proclamation establishing the BAM District

Empress Diamond, Councilwoman Desley Brooks, Marvin X. Councilwoman Brooks supports BAM

Carol Newborg of the William James Prison Art Project, Marvin X, Dr. Leslee Stradford, Professor of Art at Laney College. Art from San Quentin Prison will be exhibited at the BAM celebration, Feb 7.

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