Sunday, May 31, 2015

Photo essay: Marvin X's grandchildren graduate high school and head to college

Congratulations James, Jazmin and Jordan on your graduation from high school and on entering college. 

Peace and Love,
Marvin X
 James Houston Rhodes (center), grandson of Marvin X

 James Houston Rhodes

 James Houston Rhodes, grandson of Marvin X

 Jazmin Jackmon, granddaughter of Marvin X

Twins Jordan and Jazmin Jackmon, grandchildren of Marvin X

 Jazmin, Marvin K, Maryann, Jordan

 Marvin X's father, Owendell Jackmon (a Race Man), with sons of Marvin X: Darrel (RIP) and Marvin K

 Jazmin, track star since childhood
 Jordan and friends

 Jordan and friends

 Jordan, soccer star


 Jordan with the Marvin X look

Congratulations James, Jazmin and Jordan on your graduation from high school and on entering college. 

Peace and Love,
Marvin X

Oakland's White Supremacy Book Festival this Sunday, May 31, at City Hall

Oakland Book Festival

Some New York whites in conspiracy with local whites and multiculturals have been funded to present the Oakland Book Festival today at City Hall and Frank Ogawa Plaza. We had no knowledge of this event until yesterday when a novelist asked to share a booth with me. I emailed her back that I had no knowledge of this event so she emailed the link to the festival. When I saw the program featuring 90 authors, I noticed three or four Black authors, including Tennessee Reed, Al Young, Elaine Brown and Judy Juanita. We think this is shameful for Oakland to allow such a basically white racist event in City Hall and Frank Ogawa Plaza. --Marvin X

Ishmael Reed replied with the following statement:  

Marvin, several groups from Manhattan are doing "festivals" out here and are accompanied by their tokens like Paul Beatty, when we have black writers out here, local black writers. It's a Manhattan take over and local funding groups are giving them money but won't give us the time of day. They even brought a guy from England for an Oakland panel, Lewis Lapham, a rich guy, is doing the keynote. He don't know dick about Oakland. I organized a panel called "the Mahattanization of Oakland literature." Show up and make your voice known, i'm out of town. Ishmael

We recall Mayor Libby Schaaf's endorsement of the Black Arts Movement 50th Anniversary and her call for Black Arts Movement literature:  

“Oakland is lucky to have an incredibly talented and diverse art community. The African American Arts Movement is a vital, historically significant part of the Oakland Arts Community.  With its focus on justice, equality, and self-realization, the message of black artists is crucial to support.  From rage to celebration, art allows expression, and expression is essential to a community as varied as Oakland.  The recent 1% for Public Art that I authored ensures that new art will be a priority in Oakland in the future. I agree with Post Publisher Paul Cobb that BAM 50th Anniversary celebration should encompass all cultural genres: visual, literary, and performance.  Age-appropriate books for African American students about the Black Arts Movement will literally bring the lesson home for families to share and aspire to.”


May 31, 2015 11AM-6PM / City Hall and Frank Ogawa Plaza
Oakland Book Festival
Read. Debate. Celebrate.

One Day • Seven Hours • 90 Writers • 40 Events

Doors open to the public at 10:30am, with panels beginning promptly at 11:00am.

Readings and conversations with Ben Fong-Torres, Edwidge Danticat, Tracy K. Smith, Matthew Zapruder, Jenny Offill, Novella Carpenter, and others

Panels with Paul Beatty, Astra Taylor, Vikram Chandra, Elaine Brown, Leo Hollis, Anthony Marra, and many more

Rick Prelinger with Lost Landscapes of Oakland

Children's Area by Fairyland, MOCHA, and Oakland Public Library

Music by HipHop4Change, Oakland Youth Chorus, and Oakland School for Arts


You can reach City Hall by the 12th Street/City Center BART station and AC Transit lines at the 14th Street/Broadway stops.

For those driving, parking at the Clay Street Garage (1414 Clay St, Oakland) is available for a flat fee of $5 for the day.


SATURDAY MAY 30, 2015, 6PM - 8PM
Keynote Address: Lewis Lapham
Reading Oakland: Stories from our City's Literary Past

SUNDAY MAY 31, 2015

Doors open to the public at 10:30am, with panels beginning promptly at 11:00am.

Presented by Mother Jones
Laurel Book Store: 3:45—4:30pm
Jaeah Lee, Lateefah Simon, Ali Winston

Council Chambers: 11am—12:30pm
Presented by Rick Prelinger and Alex Cruse

Hearing Room 1: 11am—12pm
Bruce Anderson, Frank Bardacke, Joe Paff

Presented by PEN Oakland
Hearing Room 2: 11am—12pm
Judy Juanita, Tennessee Reed, Tony R. Rodriguez, Floyd Salas, Al Young

Presented by Litquake
Hearing Room 3: 11am—12pm
Kim Bancroft, Jerry Cimino, Benjamin Griffin, Steve Lavoie

Hearing Room 4: 11am—12pm
Mark Danner, Anthony Marra, Nayomi Munaweera

Laurel Book Store: 11am—12pm
Ian Davis, Zakiya Harris, Dom Jones, Karen Seneferu

Hearing Room 1: 12:15—1:15pm
Veronica Graham, Benjamin Grant, Pendarvis Harshaw

Hearing Room 2: 12:15—1:15pm
Will Alexander, Greg Mahrer, Tennessee Reed, Matthew Zapruder

Presented by UC PRESS
Hearing Room 3: 12:15—1:15pm
Julie Guthman, Seth M. Holmes, Dana Perls

Hearing Room 4: 12:15—1:30pm
Vikram Chandra, Leo Hollis, Gary Kamiya, Kathryn Myers

Laurel Book Store: 12:15—1:15pm
Molly Antopol, Maria Hummel, Michael McGriff, J.M. Tyree 

Council Chambers 12:45—1:30pm

Hearing Room 1: 1:30—2:15pm
Stacy Carlson, Aleta George, Dorothy Lazard

Hearing Room 3: 1:30—2:15pm
Roger D. Hodge, Linda Norton

Laurel Book Store: 1:30—2:15pm
Rod Campbell, Novella Carpenter, Zac Unger

Council Chambers: 1:45—2:30pm
Adam Johnson, Jenny Offill

Hearing Room 2: 1:45—3pm
Simon Critchely, Mark Greif, Frank B. Wilderson, III

Presented by ZYZZYVA
Hearing Room 4: 1:45—3pm
Paul Beatty, Vanessa Hua, Héctor Tobar

Hearing Room 1: 2:30—3:15pm
Akhil Sharma, Ayelet Waldman

Presented by UC Press
Hearing Room 3: 2:30—3:15pm
Kiera Butler, Anna Lappé, Kim O’Donnel, Naomi Starkman

Laurel Book Store: 2:30—3:30pm
Melanie Abrams, Leslie C. Bell, Tracy Clark-Flory, Maria Dahvana Headley

VOICES: EDWIDGE DANTICAT in conversation with László Jakab Orsós
Council Chambers: 2:45—3:30pm

Hearing Room 1: 3:30—4:30pm
Roger D. Hodge, Clara Jeffery, David Rose

Hearing Room 2: 3:30—4:30pm
Elaine Brown, Astra Taylor, Frank B. Wilderson, III

Hearing Room 3: 3:30—4:30pm
Lance Freeman, Malo André Hutson, Gordon Young

Hearing Room 4: 3:30—4:30pm
Gregory Jordan, Reverend Dr. Harold R. Mayberry

VOICES: TRACY K. SMITH in conversation with Matthew Zapruder
Council Chambers: 3:45—4:30pm

Hearing Room 1: 4:45—6pm
Chris Johnson

Hearing Room 2: 4:45—6pm
Kathleen McClellan, Eyal Press, Eric Schmitt

FIGHTIN’ WORDS: PEN Oakland presents Oakland Out Loud
Hearing Room 3: 4:45—6pm
Lucille Lang Day, Judy Juanita, Genny Lim, Ruben Llamas, Floyd Salas

Presented by the Before Columbus Foundation
Hearing Room 4: 4:45—6pm
Lorna Dee Cervantes, David Meltzer, Gundars Strads, Armond White, Shawn Wong

Council Chambers: 4:45—6pm
Simon Critchley, Leo Hollis, Khafre James, Reverend Dr. Harold R. Mayberry, Dashka Slater, Atra Taylor


Children’s Area

11:00—11:30 Oakland Public Library, Reading Favorite Children’s Stories

11:30—12:00 Fairyland Presents: Tweedle-dee

12:00—12:30 Chapter 510: What if an Artist Ruled the World
Chapter 510 and North Oakland Community Charter School students read from What if an Artist Ruled the World/Si un artista dirigiera el mundo

1:00—1:30 Fairyland Presents: Little Miss Muffet

1:30—2:00 Oakland Public Library, Reading Favorite Children’s Stories

2:00—2:30 Fairyland Presents: Tweedle-dee

2:30—3:00 Oakland Public Library, Reading Favorite Children’s Stories

3:00—3:30 Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl read from Rad American Women A—Z 

3:30—4:00 Fairyland Presents: Little Miss Muffet


11:00—12:00 Oakland Youth Chorus, Miracle Chorus

12:00—1:00 Oakland School for the Arts Classical Guitarist Ensemble

1:00—2:00 HipHop4Change presents: Dizzy, J-Mal, Khafre Jay

2:00—3:00 Oakland Youth Chorus, Concert Chorus

3:00—4:00 DJ Simmons

4:00—5:00 HipHop4Change presents: Breathless, Golden Age, Dom Jones


Sunday May 31, 2015, 8pm
XOXO Nightclub, 201 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607
Performance by Critchley and Simmons


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Bay Area says goodbye to Black Arts Movement icon Michael Lange

Today, Saturday, May 30, 2015, the Bay Area celebrated the transition to ancestorhood of Michael Lange, educator, filmmaker, theatre director, actor, singer. Michael was the son of Bay Area media diva Jerri Lange and brother of actor Ted Lange (Love Boat). Folks packed St. Columba Church on San Pablo to celebrate our dear brother, one of the kindest souls who walked the planet earth. He was repeatedly described as a true trooper, true friend, brother and fighter for social justice. He directed and/or produced and performed in plays on Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others. In 1980 he helped Marvin X plan the Black Men's Conference at the Oakland Auditorium.

Plans are in motion to establish the Michael Lange Foundation. Paul Cobb, Oakland Post News Group Publisher, made the first donation to the foundation. As part of the Black Arts Movement District along 14th Street, downtown Oakland, from Martin Luther King, Jr to Alice Street, Marvin X is calling for Alice Street to be renamed Michael Lange Way.--Marvin X

Lifting up BB King and Michael Lange: Reflections on lives well lived

May 28, 2015
by Wanda Sabir

Michael Lange
Michael Lange

The thrill isn’t gone, but certainly without BB King (Sept. 16, 1925-May 14, 2015) singing it, living it, being an example of it, well – the world without him and his faithful Lucille will not be quite the same any longer. Good times? Well, they are on “pause” presently.

And then there is Michael Lange, our Malcolm X. Michael made his transition May 20, the day after what would have been Malcolm X’s 90th birthday. Michael was 66. His mother, Jerri Lange, made 90 this year. She and El Hajj Malik El Shabazz were age mates. Michael’s Memorial Celebration is Saturday, May 30, 12 noon, at St. Columba Catholic Church, 6401 San Pablo Ave., Emeryville, CA, 94608.

I never knew El Hajj Malik Shabazz, so when I saw Michael perform his speech, “Ballots or Bullets,” the first time in the James Moore Theatre at the Oakland Museum, I was mesmerized. I knew it wasn’t MX but certainly in front of me was a man who’d channeled his energy and brought him to life. Michael later performed this piece again at an event at West Oakland Branch Library I hosted honoring Malcolm X.

Imam Abu Qadir El Amin spoke about El Hajj Malik the Muslim and Robert Henry Johnson performed “Creation,” a poem written by James Weldon Johnson. I’d seen RHJ at Black Choreographers Moving Towards the 21st Century, and he agreed to perform at our community celebration of this wonderful man’s life.

Michael Lange and a friend pose at the reception leading into Black Media Appreciation Night on Sept. 13, 2014. – Photo: Malaika Kambon
Michael Lange and a friend pose at the reception leading into Black Media Appreciation Night on Sept. 13, 2014. – Photo: Malaika Kambon

I don’t know if I knew Michael’s day job was running the City of Oakland’s Feather River Camp then. However, when I was hired one summer to teacher a writing class – California Gold Rush History – his office was a great place to hang out. Slim’s guitar and boots were near the door and as a staff and camper that first summer, I was treated to the talent night where Michael as Slim emceed and performed.

I went to Feather River Camp a few more times over the years with my granddaughter and nieces for camp cleanups and Family Camp. Even after the City of Oakland no longer ran it, Slim would still come up and perform and teach music workshops.

Michael was so generous. His was a life completely devoted to service. I loved the way he took care of his mother too. Theirs was an example of reciprocity, teamwork and loving kindness.

He and I also sat on the board for the Northern California Center for African American History and Life, the trustees of the archives that the African American Museum and Library, Oakland, houses. Michael was the president. He served until he had a heart attack – his body’s message to him to slow it down.

He listened and devoted himself full throttle to art. He directed films and plays. In fact, when he died, a play going up at the Black Rep was in rehearsal. He was also working on a film. Michael led a really full life.
Jerri and Michael Lange stand in front of Jerri’s portrait in the renowned Alice Street Mural in downtown Oakland. Journalist Jerri Lange, 90, mother of thespians Michael and Ted Lange, was one of the Bay Area’s first African-American women radio and TV personalities and also a professor at San Francisco State University.
Jerri and Michael Lange stand in front of Jerri’s portrait in the renowned Alice Street Mural in downtown Oakland. Journalist Jerri Lange, 90, mother of thespians Michael and Ted Lange, was one of the Bay Area’s first African-American women radio and TV personalities and also a professor at San Francisco State University.

I think his portrayal of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in America’s “The Expulsion of Malcolm X,” which he also directed, was brilliant, as was his stunning performance of William Grimes, a fugitive slave who wrote about the tyranny of captivity and published the book too (1825) in Regina E. Mason’s play based on her great-great-great grandfather’s life.

Yearly at the Oakland Ensemble Theatre, I would look forward to the seasonal productions of Jeff Stetson’s “The Meeting,” which Michael, as Malcolm X, would perform opposite James Brooks as Martin King.

For a while Michael and Lonnie Elder had a theatre in Oakland called the Bay Area Repertory Theater, where they produced original work and classics. One of the pieces mounted was Michael’s “Prophet Nat,” a musical docu-drama that explores the life of enslaved prophet Nat Turner, who led the first successful rebellion of enslaved Africans in Virginia in 1831. As a storyteller and singer, Michael has penned over 40 songs whose lyrics convey a story of hope at a time when today’s world is at the crossroads between freedom and oppression. It was a really wonderful production.

James Brooks and Michael Lange perform a staged reading of Frederick Douglass’ “What to the American Slave is the Fourth of July” on July 3, 2007. – Photo: Wanda Sabir
James Brooks and Michael Lange perform a staged reading of Frederick Douglass’ “What to the American Slave is the Fourth of July” on July 3, 2007. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

When the Oakland Public Conservatory was on Franklin, their Alternative July 4 event featured Michael and James Brooks performing a staged reading of Frederick Douglass’ “What to the American Slave is the Fourth of July.”

For a while Michael managed what was then the Alice Arts Center. There he and Edsel Matthews, founder of Koncepts Cultural Gallery, would have great conversations. At his farewell salute the evening he made his exit, ideas flowed unabated as people thought about Michael’s life and his legacy – the Michael Lange Foundation, a street named after him were just a few ideas contemplated.

Chicago recording of Marvin X reading with poet Kazembe and musicians, May 23, 2015

Chicago musicians and poet Kazembe accompanying BAM Master in recording studio: left to right Marvin X, Eliel Sherman Storey, sax, David Boykin, sax, Tony Carpenter, percussion, Lasana Kazembe, poet
sent you some files
‘Thanks Marvin, what you think?’
Files (522 MB total)
Will be deleted on
2 June, 2015

Berkeley Juneteenth, Sunday, June 21, 2015

Catch Marvin X at Berkeley Juneteenth!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Marvin X is Nazzam Al Sudan, Organizer of the Black Nation

Marvin X's first Arabic  and Islamic teacher  was Ali Sheriff Bey, who gave him the name Nazzam Al Sudan, Organizer of the Black Nation. A master of languages, Ali Sheriff Bey told Marvin  Nazzam means organizer, systematizer,  one who creates an original mythology with the body of his work.

We know you agree Marvin X is writing his mythology before our very eyes. He wrote his memoir of Black Panther Minister of Information Eldridge Cleaver on the internet, day by day, chapter by chapter; in three weeks; the man he introduced to the Black Panthers, the man he'd visited in Soledad Prison as part of a visit of Black Dialogue Magazine staff arranged by Cleaver's lawyer Beverly
  Axelrod.When Eldridge returned from exile, as with his release from prison, again, the first person he hooked up with was Marvin X. When they established the Black House, Marvin was the secretary, one who controlled communications. He had control when anybody called Eldridge at the Black House. Calls from Cleaver's lawyer/lover came through Marvin X; calls from the man Eldridge mentored Bob Avakian of the RCP or Revolutionaruy Action Party, Marvin transferred to Eldridge.
Marvin X says the most dangerous motherfucker in any organization is the secretary. This is the motherfucker who knows everything. As per Eldridge Cleaver, I probably know more about him than any man. I taught him how to tie a tie. He paid me to organize his ministry the Eldridge Cleaver Crusades, but the supreme irony was that his chore staff were Black Muslims, the only Blacks who were fearless enough to work with him. The Christian Blacks were in mortal fear they were going to get killed for fucking with white man. As we know, the majority of Negroes or North American Africans are mortally afraid of the white man. So Cleaver's core staff were Black Muslims because they were fearless.

In order to advance his ministry, he used the Muslims as props while giving his testimony. The Muslims didn't care because they were getting paid, so he told Christian audiences that he had saved these heathen --and the Christians, Born Again Christians, ate it up like a hog eating slop/

We did not know our  visit to Soledad Prison Cultural Club was the beginning of the American Prison Movement. WE could see when we entered the meeting inside Soledad Prison that the brothers had organized a revolutionary organization inside the prison. Prison Movement Kumasi says while the masses were having their revolution in the streets, the brothers in prison were having our revolution. It was clear to us the Eldridge Cleaver and Alprintis Bunchy Carter were fully in charge of the Black Culture Club. Any brother in prison would tell you it was kill or be killed, so we must understand lessons learned in prison were practiced when brothers got on the outside. In the Black Panther film Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Marvin X says, "Do you think a personality such as Eldridge Cleaver would not impose control in anhy organization?"