Sunday, July 5, 2015

Juniious Ricardo Stanton offers a healing peak into the psyche of the personality known as Marvin X

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Review: Junious Ricardo Stanton on In the Crazy House Called America, essays by Marvin X

Marvin X Offers A Healing Peek Into His Psyche
Review of In the Crazy House Called America


Junious Ricardo Stanton

Marvin X Offers A Healing Peek Into His Psyche

By  Junious Ricardo Stanton

Rarely is a brother secure and honest enough with himself to reveal his innermost thoughts, emotions or his most hellacious life experiences. For most men it would be a monumental feat just to share/bare his soul with his closest friends but to do so to perfect strangers would be unthinkable, unless he had gone through the fires of life and emerged free of the dross that tarnishes his soul. Marvin X, poet, playwright, author and essayist does just that in a self-published book entitled In the Crazy House Called America

This latest piece from Marvin X offers a peek into his soul and his psyche. He lets the reader know he is hip to the rabid oppression the West heaps upon people of color especially North American Africans while at the same time revealing the knowledge gleaned from his days as a student radical,  black nationalist revolutionary forger of the Black Arts Movement, husband, father lover, a dogger of women did not spare him the degradation and agony of descending into the abyss of crack addiction, abusive and toxic relationships and family tragedy.  

Perhaps because of the knowledge gained as a member of the Nation of Islam, and his experiences as one of the prime movers of the cultural revolution of the '60, the insights he shares In the Crazy House Called America are all the keener. Marvin writes candidly of his pain, bewilderment and depression of losing his son to suicide. He shares in a very powerful way, his own out of body helplessness as he wallowed in the dregs of an addiction that threatened to destroy his soul and the mess his addictions made of his life and relationships with those he loved. 

But he is not preachy and this is not an autobiography. He has already been there and done that. In sharing his story and the wisdom he has gleaned from his life experiences and looking at the world through the eyes of an artist/healer, Marvin X serves as a modern day shaman/juju man who in order to heal himself and his people ventures into the spirit realm to confront the soul devouring demons and mind pulverizing dragons; he is temporarily possessed by them, heroically struggles to rebuke their power before they destroy him; which enables him to return to this realm, tell us what it is like, prove redemption is possible, thereby empowering himself/ us and helping to heal us. He touches on a myriad of topics as he raps and writes about himself and current events. 

Reading this book  you know he knows what it is like to come face to face with and do battle with the insanity and death this society has in store for all Africans.   Marvin X talks about his sexual relations/dysfunction, drugs, media and free speech, sports, black political power or the lack thereof, the war on drugs and the current War on Terrorism, nothing is off limits. He includes reviews of music, theater as well as film, but not as some smarter/ holier than thou, elitist observer. 

Marvin X writes as one actively engaged in life, including its pain and suffering. He lets us know he was a willing and active participant in his addiction, how it impacted his decision making, his role as a parent, his male-female "relationships", his ability to be creative within a movement to liberate African people and the world from the corruption of Caucasian hegemony. 

Marvin X is in recovery and it has not been easy for him. As a writer/healer he still has the voice of a revolutionary poet/playwright, it is a voice we need to listen and pay attention to. He has survived his own purgatory and emerged stronger and more committed to life and saving his people.  As North American Africans (his term to differentiate us from our continental and diasporic brethren) he sees the toll the insanity of this culture takes on us. His culturally induced self-destructive lifestyle choices and the death of his son is a testament to how life threatening and lethal this society can be. 

But Marvin X also talks about spiritual redemption, the ability to transcend even the most horrific experiences with resiliency and determination so that one gets a glimpse of  one's own  divine potential. This book is an easy read which makes it all the more profound. In The Crazy House Called America is for brothers especially. It is a book all black men should grab hold of and digest, if for no other reason than to experience just how redemptively healing and liberating being honest can be.
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Marvin X is available for speaking and performing coast to coast. Check Youtube on his participation at the University of Chicago Sun Ra Conference, May 21-22, 2015.  Also, check out his appearance at the University of California, Merced, where they performed a dramatic reading of his play Flowers for the Trashman that appears in the Black Arts Movement anthology edited by Larry Neal and Amiri Baraka and SOS: the Black Arts Movement Reader, edited by Sonia Sanchez, John Bracey and James Smerthurst, UMASS Press

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