Saturday, June 20, 2015

From the Archives: Marvin X Speaks to the Gullah Nation, Beaufort, South Carolina, 2002

Marvin X Speaks to the Gullah Nation, 2002
Last evening, poet Marvin X arrived late for Brother Jabari's radio show in Gullah country, Beaufort, South Carolina. When he finally arrived at the station, he told Gullahland listeners he was late as a result of being caught up in "negrocities," borrowing a term from Amiri Baraka who is writing a book about NEGROCITIES. During the course of the interview Marvin defined the term as an ailment caused by an inflamation of the Negroid gland at the base of the brain due to bad habits. In his play A Black Mass, Amiri Baraka wrote, "Where the soul's print should be there is only a cellulous pouch of disgusting habits."

Brother Jabari, publisher of the Gullah Sentinel, questioned Marvin X page by page about his book IN THE CRAZY HOUSE CALLED AMERICA, starting with the suicide of his son on March 18 of this year. The poet said his pain was cushioned by the fact that so many of his friends have lost sons and daughters to homicide. Dr. Nathan Hare has written that homicide and suicide are two sides of the same coin. Marvin's son suffered mani-depression which the late revolutionary Dr. Franz Fanon called a "situational disorder" caused by oppression." Of course, Dr. Fanon, author of the classic WRETCHED OF THE EARTH, said  revolution was the solution to the mental health problems of the oppressed.

When Jabari turned to Marvin's essay THE INSANITY OF SEX, the poet read the first paragraph of the essay but refused to go further on the Christian owned radio station, although he noted that while sitting in the shade of a tree during the Gullah Nation's Heritage Festival on St. Helena island, he was soon joined by a group of church women who--after X showed them his book, immediately turned to THE INSANITY OF SEX and agreed with his opening paragraph one hundred per cent. Jabari, one of the sole lights in the Gullahland house of darkness, asked X about the culture of the crack house.

The poet said "The crack house is like a third world country: there is no electricity, no running water, no bathroom, no toilet paper, no food, no love. It is the worse thing since slavery." He then had the engineer play track ten of his CD version of ONE DAY IN THE LIFE, the drama of his addiction and recovery. In this "Preacher Scene" the minister describes the horrors of crack culture, ending with the lines, "Crack is worse than slavery. Didn't the slave love his Moma? His God? His Woman? His Children? Not the crack slave, the crack slave is a dirty, nasty, funky slave...."

X then said, "I want to say this to the Christian community: see, I lived in Reno, Nevada while teaching at the University of Nevada and the preachers in Reno never said anything against gambling and prostitution--which are legal. Now, members of the audience who have watched my play wanted to know why the pastors in the community never preach a sermon like the preacher in my play. On more than one occasion, a member of the audience stood to testify that many preachers cannot give a similar sermon because the church is compromised due to the fact that mothers in the church have sons and daughters who are contributing money from the drug trade to the church and if the preacher said anything he wouldn't have a congregation in many urban centers. And maybe in rural centers as well."

Marvin X was asked about education. He said Johnny and Johnnymae can sell dope, weigh dope, package dope, count dope money, but the teachers tell us Johnny and Johnnymae can't do math, can't read, can't do chemistry. This is a lie and the fact that youth remember hours of rap songs word for word is a testament to their intelligence. 

Marvin X spent his final day in Gullah land swimming in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of St. Helena Island. He listened to the pain of a mentally disabled Gullah woman who was camping near the ocean and was a friend of his host, Sister Hurriyah Asar, a landowner in Gullah country who is one of the Queens of the Black Arts Movement, having been a key player at Black Arts West Theatre in San Francisco and at the Black House/Political/Cultural Center, visited by the likes of Amiri and Amina Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Bunchy Carter, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Lil Bobby Hutton, Eldridge Cleaver, Askia Muhammad Toure, Sarah Webster Fabio, Chicago Art Ensemble and others.

When black clouds appeared, Marvin X knew the hour had arrived for him to depart Gullah country. After all, he had enjoyed the people, the land, the sea, the creeks, the chickens, geese, goats, calves, and dogs. Being a country boy from Central Calif, he talked to the animals and they to him. But he leaves Gullahland with a heavy heart, for if the ancestors have given the descendents of slavery any part of America, it is this beautiful land, these islands in the sun.

He has vowed to return to this heaven on earth. Sister Hurriyah was the glue of the West coast black arts movement. And in the new epoch, she is showing the way to heaven on earth. If ever a man shall follow a woman, it is now, for she has created heaven on earth. 
--Marvin X, November 12, 2002, Beaufort, South Carolina.

FYI, the last time Marvin X visited Gullahland, his friends told him not to say anything while there. "Just chill, don't say shit. We're not going to give you a book party or help promote your book. Go swim in the ocean." Since his hosts exhibited such  fear of the white supremacy powers, he followed their request. He visited the Yoruba African Village in Sheldon and interviewed the new king or Oba. 

He was saddened his hosts feared the Blacks as well as the white. Jabari had told him the Gullah Africans were afraid to come inside his newspaper office, afraid their boss would see them. Also, his hosts told him they were tired of Cali Blacks or Blacks from the North coming down there inciting the Africans then departing, leaving them to suffer the wrath of the white man, since he knows which family the Africans visited and would retaliate on that family. He might have one of the family members fired from their three minimum wage jobs. 

Marvin X 
will perform and autograph books 
at Berkeley Juneteenth
Sunday, June 21, 2015
be there or be square

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