She is about to complete the full cycle of the August Wilson plays for the first time in history
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Manifesto of Marvin X's Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland and other cities on his grassroots guerilla warfare rampage, stick and move
Marvin X at San Francisco Juneteenth, 2015, Fillmore
Marvin X at his Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland.
Brazilian dancers at Academy of da Corner at San Francisco's Juneteenth
Russian woman stops to help poet collate his pamphlete Mythology of Pussy and Dick
She said, "I see what you are doing. I did it for thirty years, let me help you." Marvin let her help him.
Poet Samantha with Tarika Lewis on violin in background
performing with Marvin X's Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra at Laney College, Feb. 7, 2015
Queen Mother Kujichagulia, multi-talented master griot/jejali
Val Serrant, master percussionist from Trinidad, always at the beck and call of Marvin X and BAM
Poet Samantha in a swoon before doing her thang in a masterful manner.
Aqueila Lewis, Ms Erotica
Kalamu Chache', poet
She is about to complete the full cycle of the August Wilson plays for the first time in history
Manifesto of Academy of da Corner
14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland
"Marvin X is Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland."
--Ishmael Reed, author The Complete Muhammad Ali, including a chapter long interview with Marvin X
Academy of da Corner is a continuation of the Black Arts Movement, an educational/ performance/academic/activist project to inspire the Cultural Revolution in North American Africans, with implications for the rest of humanity that apparently follows closely every cultural move of North American Africans. We can't fart without the world copying our fart. So perhaps we should be flattered except for the fact that often imitation becomes exploitation and we become victims of our own creations, e.g., "Lord, look what they did to my song."
Nevertheless, we shall strive forward with our cultural revolution to transform the negative aspects of our lives into the positive, to reconnect our community, parents with children, males with females, brother to brother and sister to sister, yes, even enemies must reconcile in the spirit of recovery, healing and liberation of the entire community. This is the challenge of the new millennium and we shall not move forward without meeting it. Either we are brave warriors willing to face the jihad within ourselves and our community, or we're cowards prepared to tread water until we become extinct, a forgotten people, relics of a glorious past but no future except a multicultural chasm where we exist on the last rung of the ladder, simply because we refuse to transcend our differences for the greater good, thus succumbing to a low intensity war determined to destroy us politically, economically, morally and culturally.
Academy of da Corner/Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra: The Performance and Educational Arm of the Cultural Revolution
As Fidel Castro has said, our weapon is consciousness, yes, it is the only weapon we have that can defeat the forces allied against us. Consciousness is an awareness of our traditions and our mission. Our tradition is a freedom loving people, not political, economic and cultural slaves to others. We reject the slave tradition of clowning and buffoonery so evident in African American artistic expression today, especially movies and rap (now called yap, for rap derived from the tradition of revolutionary spoken word: H. Rap Brown, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Last Poets, Baraka, Sonia, Askia, Haki, X, and yes, Malcolm, Martin, Kwame Toure, Fannie Lou, Queen Mother Moore, Angela).
If one is not aspiring to be in the tradition of Paul Robeson, i.e., the artistic freedom fighter, then one has no right to claim membership in the Black Arts Movement, and is therefore merely a whore for capitalist pimps, ready to wear any clown suit, do any shuffle, say any jingle and rhyme, put on any make up and dance for the master's American bandstand, manifesting the cultural hate personified by the likes of Michael Jackson and others too numerous to mention.
No people with consciousness would allow themselves to be paraded on BET, MTV and elsewhere as naked whores, pseudo gangstas and wannabe pimps. Although we are about artistic freedom and freedom of speech, we reject phony black bourgeoisie culture police who are themselves guilty of a profane and obscene lifestyle of conspicuous consumption, yet we demand African American artists get in harmony with our tradition and mission to use our creativity to help liberate the deaf, dumb and blind, not take them deeper into the devil's den of iniquity.
Academy of da Corner/Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra Will Speak Truth to Power
Academy of da Corner/Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra will perform works that liberate not desecrate. Rappers have given us graphic descriptions of our psychosocial condition, now we must come with solutions. If you hate yo daddy and mama, show me how you turned hate into love, show me how you sought reconciliation and unconditional love. Otherwise, you are simply yapping nursery rhymes, snibbling like snotty nose babies too pitiful to wake up and release your lips from your mother's breasts, you ungrateful bastards! Grow up, did mama tell you life was a bowl of cherries—you are lucky to have a mother and father—think of all the children who are products of foster care.
We were not brought to America to create families, but to be mules, donkeys and horses, to have our families utterly destroyed for capitalism and slavery. And we can only overcome America's plan for us by putting on the armour of God and standing tall together, defying America's hope for our continued subservience and debauchery. Aw, Jesus said be in this world but no of this world. After all, it is an illusion, a world of make believe, a world of materialism and conspicuous consumption.
Poets and spoken word artists have an obligation to speak truth to power, not submit gleefully, yapping nonsense around the world to make a dollar and make mockery of the elders, calling them "broke heroes," although the so-called broke heroes are the reason you are among the newly rich because of their sacrifice and unconditional love for your punk bitch little asses.
The American Educational System Is An Abysmal Failure
Since the American educational system has failed to teach Johnny and Johnnymae how to read, write and most of all, think, the Academy of da Corner shall see it as a priority to teach basic skills. How can we have a drama class in which students are unable to read the script. I have taught such classes on the college and university level, so I know the degree of the problem. Don't try to cover ignorance and mental retardation as a result of America's public school miseducation.
Academy of da Corner/Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra will train students with talent in the arts: drama, dance, music, creative writing, nonfiction, poetry and spoken word, for these are serious crafts that take discipline and training, not a jack in the box game of jingles and rhymes produced because one can memorize words that are full of sound and fury signifying nothing, although audiences are enraptured by the nothingness and babble, rewarding the jester with money at poetry Slams/Scams, deluding the person that he/she is a poet and spoken word master because of his/her natural talent as a product of the ancient African oral tradition.
Racism is the abomination of the new world, but Elijah Muhammad used racism and black supremacy as an anti-toxin to white supremacy. The Black Arts Movement did the same. Whites were often banned from attending performances and certainly from performing in productions. Harold Cruse noted how this marked a radical departure from traditional Negro theatre (see Crisis of the Negro Intellectual). Thus BAM was of, for, and by Black people, if only for a moment, time enough to get “ourselves” together. This moment was necessary to raise a people from the dead, who were full of fear after being terrorized for centuries by white supremacy.
Why is this so difficult to understand, perhaps because there are those in denial about the ravages of white supremacy on North American African minds, to say nothing about what it has done to delusional white minds. Why should victims of liars and murderers want them in our presence? How can we recover with them in our midst? Can the rape victim recover with the rapist in her bed?
Even today, American racism and capitalism/globalism is the scorn of the earth, blood sucking the poor in the name of global free trade, caring nothing for the rights of poor nations to economic parity. You consume the world’s energy for the greedy privilege of driving SUVs and having a television in every room, left on 24/7. You have no intention of dealing with the root causes of terrorism: poverty, ignorance, and disease.
Until you do so, you will become a prisoner in your own land, afraid of those outside your borders and those within whom you’ve equally mistreated, abused and falsely accused of being criminals, unworthy to share in the fruits of their labor and that of their ancestors, while white descendants enjoy the surplus capital from centuries of slave labor.
Our primary concern was then and is now ourselves. You are dangerous to our health, mental, physical, and spiritual, unless you have radicalized your consciousness, or shall we say become blackenized, certainly all vestiges of white supremacy must be processed out of your consciousness. Those whites who have worked on themselves we welcome as allies, brothers and sisters in revolution.
It is not the nature of North American Africans to hate and exclude. We can be nationalists and internationalists, i.e., Pan Africanists, Aboriginial Black Man, without hating and excluding. But we do have the human right to do for self as others do, whites, Latinos, Asians, gays, lesbians, and others of every race, sex and creed.
We must not be afraid to become economically self-sufficient. We were in better economic shape under segregation, yes, when we were Negroes, now we’re black and don’t have a decent restaurant or hotel in any American city.
We have thousands of religious houses where the people receive their dose of opium as a form of social control to delay the day of our liberation, where people are taught fairy tales and nursery rhymes about a sky god who died on the cross for our sins. What have African Americans done but be loyal slaves, down to this present moment we are dying in Iraq defending liars and murderers.
Finally, racism is a component of capitalism. We cannot be capitalists because we have no capital! We hardly have one black bank in America. Where are our African American global markets? We might sell a few raps songs in Europe and Asia, but do we sell a blackmobile, trucks, socks, toilet paper, matches? At least Mexico produces their own oil, gasoline, soap, toilet paper. Why can't 40 million North American African produce one roll of toilet paper?
Black Studies and Academy of da Corner
Although black studies derived from the efforts of black revolutionary students, with the demise of the liberation struggle, radical instructors and scholars were removed and replaced with academically "qualified" collaborators and trusted colonial servants, unconcerned with the original mission of black studies: to uplift the community. As a result, for every one brother going to college, four go to prison. For the most part, black studies is a sham, a place for tenured Negroes to keep a job for life unless they rock the boat by teaching radical ideas found to be politically incorrect by their academic masters.
Black Studies began in revolution, but has succumb to reaction and irrelevance with respect to providing a leadership role in uplifting the community. Where is a truly radical black studies department? Where in America is one black radical college or university? Even under Zionist occupation, Palestinians have their radical universities.
Please don't mention the Negro colleges and universities, mainly outhouses for training house slaves who escape the hood into corporate America and never look back. Of course the white colleges and universities do the same. Isn't it interesting that Dr. Ben couldn't find a black academic institution to donate his thirty thousand volume library? He gave it to the Nation of Islam, which is very ironic in light of his history of anti-Islamic pronouncements.
As a consequence of the above, the Academy of da Corner must step to the front line of community education; it must become an institution for the training of radical scholars and social activists who will fulfill the original mission of black studies by attacking illiteracy, joblessness, economic empowerment, addictions, mental and physical health issues and spiritual poverty caused by excessive religiosity. Academic subjects will be considered for their relevance to life issues as we confront America's low intensity war on a daily basis.
Gender Studies and Academy of da Corner
The Arabic word nisa has two meanings depending on syllable stress. One meaning is woman, another meaning is to forget. Long ago, Warith Din Muhammad gave a lecture on how men forget women. More recently, Amina Baraka exhorted me and her husband, Amiri, not to forget women, to respect them always, especially for their contribution to our liberation struggle: "Remember the women of history, remember Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, remember Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Queen Mother Moore, remember Ella Collins," Amina cried.
Academy of da Corner must address problems in male/female relations since such problems directly impact healthy family and community development. Mrs. Baraka was addressing two poets, both having the artistic sensibility and insensitivity to become emotionally detached from women, children and men in our quest for creativity, thinking a poem is more important than the human being. (Of course Amiri Baraka is qualified to speak for himself, but since I know him, I'm taking the liberty to place him in the boat with me, other poets and artists in general.)
If men of intelligence can be so detached, imagine the behavior of men with lesser intelligence. Perhaps this is why the divorce courts and the anger management programs are full. Men just don't get it and some have no intention to "get it." It will take generations before the patriarchal mentality subsides, if then, although great strides have been made in male/female equality. Now we are in danger of women getting revenge after coming into power situations. They want to oppress. Go before a female judge with a domestic violence case!
But the socialization of males and females must be examined to explore better, healthier methods of interpersonal relations. How can women who love talking endlessly, communicate with men who will go silent when approached on critical matters? "Do you hear me, man," the woman says, "Then why don't you say something?" In the TS Eliot poem the women say, "That is not what I meant, that is not what I meant at all. . . ."
Male education must involve manhood rites that allow them to explore male psychology and female psychology, and the same for women. So often we come together not knowing a damn thing about each other, until it is too late, two or three children later, several ass whippings later.
Men must learn to understand and treat females as equal but different human beings. The idea is not to make men more feminine, but to understand their natural selves and gain a more precise understanding of the opposite sex. Mythologically speaking, understand the function of the sky god and the earth mother goddess. One is the protector, one the nurturer. Today the situation is such that the woman needs protection from the protector!
And the man feels his nurturer is somehow his enemy, the very person he sleeps with he is terrified of, and often the woman feels the same. What kind of horror story is this?
Moving from myth to nature, roosters will not become hens, bulls will not become cows, so stop trying to reverse nature, although it is urgent that we understand the nature of human psychology, understand different functions of each sex, responsibilities, desires, drives and dreams. Often men are indeed lost in the stars, while women are usually forced to stay grounded in reality. As Joseph Campbell explains, men must be taught they are approaching manhood. Women know they are approaching womanhood at the first cycle—they can see, feel, touch, smell womanhood, but men need a ritual: they must come out of the sky and go into the bush to be terrified into the reality of manhood.
Men must at least listen to the dreams of women, even if we reject their dreams, and women must do the same—ultimately a compromise can and must be found. It shall never be again, "Your way or no way," although men will attempt to maintain male privilege until the sky falls—look up, brother, the sky is falling!
And women, in their new found aggression and power positions, will push their agenda at every turn, forcing men to react violently, "Bitch, I don't want to hear nothing you got to say. Shut the fuck up." But she's not going to shut up and she ain't going away—you may leave her for another woman but strangely it will be the same woman with another name. A woman is a woman is a woman is a woman, stupid!
So before there can be unity, there must be understanding. The main thing is not to oppress each other, especially since we're both freshly out of slavery. Men often feel the double-edged sword of oppression from the black woman and the white man. And women feel the same sword blade from the white man and the black man. If we, males and females, would recognize we're not enemies but friends and lovers, sailing in the same love boat, we'll be at least halfway free!
When women are at the top of their game, they have the unique ability to get anything they want from men, sometimes with the glance of an eye, a stride, a smile, the tone of her voice can totally disarm a man. Call it feminine charm or whatever, but women have been successful throughout the ages. With her newfound power, do not forget her ancient secrets that worked for thousands of years, giving her the ability to be a helpmate to great men and tearing down great men when in rage and frustration.
Consider the Children
These twisted male/female relationships have profound implications for the children. When the male departs from the jungle to the forest, the child, especially the male child, is soon out of control, usually by age 15. He is in absolute rebellion against his mother's agenda, although her agenda is often bisexual because she is forced to don the persona of the female/male. The young man's hatred is directed at the female side of the mask, although he harbors a distinct hatred for his missing father as well. So consider his rage, just as his hormones are kicking in. Again, the need for manhood training. But even with females, there is a need and desire for father's love that she will search for in fatherless young men or dirty old men!
Likewise, with young males, the hatred is transferred to girlfriends whom they verbally and physically abuse. This hatred is expressed in the poetic language of rap songs. Healing such shattered young lives is the task of mental health specialists such as Dr. Nathan Hare's Black Reconstruction mental health group sessions that he is calling to be established across America. In the interim, hip hop youth use poetry, sometimes unconsciously, for peer counseling, and this is all good. The University of Poetry must address such stress and strains in the personality of males and females, urging them to use poetry as a healing tool in their lives, let poetry be a bridge for reconciliation rather than a vehicle to only express pain and rage between the sexes and the generations.
If we were against gay and lesbian poets, there would be little poetry to read, since the arts seem to be the home of many gay people. Imagine a world without Langston Hughes or James Baldwin, or Audre Lorde and June Jordan. So my attitude is what does sex have to do with being a poet—nothing! A poet must understand human sexuality in general. A poet stuck on being gay is not a poet, for what happens when he or she must put on the persona of a man or woman, or a tree for that matter. A poet must transcend all sexuality in order to understand the universal human spirit that is, yes, beyond a particular sexual orientation. Gays and lesbians might sometimes have a more sensitive spirit, but every poet, whether gay or straight, must have a sensitive spirit.
Did Baldwin write as a gay or as a writer of the human condition? After my 1968 interview with him, I remarked to Ed Bullins, “He talked like a man.” Ed said, “He damn sho did.” Alas, Baldwin wrote the script for Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X. If he had been trapped in his gayness, how could he have written a script about a hero who symbolized black manhood? When people questioned whether he was qualified to write the script because of his gayness, Baldwin said, “Hey, I pay my rent, I write what I want to write.”
In the video version of my play One Day In The Life, a gay actor portrays my son. If he had not transcended his gayness, he wouldn’t have been in my play. So he was in my play because he was a great actor. At the audition for my play in New York, a gay brother tried out for the part but couldn’t transcend his sexuality. My daughter was casting director, and when I told her to let the guy read the part again, she said, “No, Daddy, no. Let me handle this. He got to go!”
So we have no time to condemn people for their sexual orientation. We might thereby condemn the goose laying the golden egg. We could use another Baldwin or Langston right about now to help free us from this precipice.
But I say to those who passed legislation permitting sex between consenting adults, and in California one of them was then Assemblyman Willie L. Brown, if gays can be with gays and lesbians with lesbians, then men who love prostitutes should be allowed to be with their sex workers in peace, not sneaking around in the alley like a broke dick dog, arrested and cars seized. Yes, legalize prostitution. Lakum dinu kum waliya din: to you your way and to me mine.