West Coast BAM members include Emory Douglas, Judy Juanita, Halifu Osumare, Danny Glover, Jose Goncalves, et. al. This was a national movement of socially conscious artists/activists aligned with the Black Liberation Movement: east coast, west coast, mid west, dirty south!
Emory Douglas, Black Panther Minister of Culture is the best example of the Black Arts Movement artist who was a member of a political organization as well. He was a member of the BPP. See his comments on his role as BAM/BPP?BLM artist/activist in the Stanley Nelson documentary film The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.
To best understand the importance of BAM in the Black Liberation Movement, check out what co-founder of the BPP Dr. Huey P. Newton said, "Marvin X was my teacher. Many of our comrades came through his Black Arts Theatre: Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Emory Douglas, Samuel Napier, Judy Juanita, et. al." Larry Neal said BAM was the sister of the Black Liberation Movement. Marvin X says, "BAM was the mother! BAM gave cultural consciousness to those students, intellectuals and grass roots people who went into the political movement. We awakened the people with our poetry, plays, songs, chants, raps, paintings, dance, music, literature, journals, and all other genres of the Black Esthetic."
This young lady videos an interview with Marvin X at his Academy of da Corner for her Youth Speak with the Elders Project. After she and her colleague exhausted Marvin X with questions about the Black Arts Movement District, there was more drama in Oakland's BAM District. Marvin X was too absorbed in the action to use his cell phone camera to document the events that soon followed the interview with youth, but down the block from him at 14th and Franklin, two lesbians got into a fight and a short time later two men scuffled in front of the Chase Bank across from Academy of da Corner. When one pulled out a knife, the security guard at the boarded up Chase Bank pulled his gun to stop the fight. The OPD arrived to arrest the man with the knife. They handcuffed him but later released him. After being released, the man broke down emotionally as he road off on his bike.
Marvin X says while we appreciate the videographers who come through to interview me, we think we need our own camera to document the action taking place in "the most dangerous classroom in the world". Would you like to donate a video camera to Academy of da Corner? Your donation can be tax-deductible. Call 510-200-4164.
On May 21, 22, Marvin X will be at the University of Chicago conference on Ancestor Sun Ra, his mentor and colleague in the Black Arts Movement. On June 5,6,7, he will be one of the featured authors at the Second Annual Sacramento Black Book Fair.