Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Black Arts Movement Wish List

Let's do the BAM Thang! City of Oakland approved The Black Arts Movement Business District along the 14th Street corridor, downtown Oakland. We expect to see the BAM flag flying immediately along with vendors on the street and the African Women's Market on Saturdays. We seek to establish a BAM Billion Dollar Trust Fund to secure the BAM Business District.


1. Black Arts Movement Districts established nationwide in each city with large populations of North American Africans. BAM chief architect, Amiri Baraka (RIP), called for the BAM tour to include 27 cities with large populations of North American Africans.

2. A community/corporate sponsorship of the Black Arts Movement 27 City Tour. Government agencies should support BAM as well, with the understanding that we are and shall remain artistic freedom fighters!

A Poetic Moment, Marvin X and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf at Black Arts Movement 50th Anniversary Celebration, Feb. 7, 2015.

 Mrs. Gay Plair Cobb, Marvin X, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Laney College President Elnora T. Webb, Dr. Nathan Hare, Paul Cobb
photo South Park Kenny Johnson

3. A BAM Endowment Fund  for veteran BAM artistic freedom fighters without basic survival funds. FYI, BAM/Black Power activists were patriots who believed in the values of American democracy. We believed in the American revolution. We quoted the US Constitution in our raps and principles. We believed in the consent of the governed, yet we suffered taxation without representation. We suffered a military defeat by the US Government. We hereby call upon all veterans of the US military to connect and support the BAM/Black Power veterans, especially those in need. We call on Black military veterans to reach out and touch the soldiers in America's domestic war against the freedom and independence of North American Africans, e.g., Black Panthers, Nation of Islam, Socialists, Communists, Liberation theologists and others. Now there are some who completely missed the 60s. They are like the girl who said Wake up to what? Poor girl doesn't even know she's sleeping. But US military veterans, reach out and touch your brothers in the war for freedom in America.

4. A BAM House in every North American African city. A separate house for men, women and youth in the BAM tradition. House can serve as a recovery center for those artists suffering from the addiction to white supremacy. BAM housing should be owned by a Land Trust. As per elder housing, they should be given the Life Estate to the space they inhabit, wherein they hold title to the property for natural life. Upon their transition to the ancestors, the title reverts to the Land Trust. On the general societal level, we think the Life Estate can end homelessness overnight in America. Of course, case management of many residents may be in order since many suffer traumatic slave syndrome, unresolved grief and communal amnesia, although Dr. Nathan Hare says it is not amnesia because they never knew, therefore they cannot suffer amnesia. Domestic colonialism severed the umbilical cord except for deep structure DNA residue. We know the ritual but not the myth, we beat the drum but don't know the rhythms as divine movement. How many of us recall the musical culture of Mali as origin of the Blues, especially in the Mississippi Delta. The Malian musician Ali Farka played with BB King and the Rolling Stones but he said he was not playing Blues. His music is from a ten thousand year old mythology, aboriginal and Islamic. Sorry we diverted from the housing issue but we must also address the dire mental apparatus that must be restored so the oppressed can regain their mental equilibrium as Dr. Hare notes. One project we have is the How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy mental health peer group facilitated by Dr. Nathan Hare and Suzzette Celeste, MPA, MSW. They recently conducted a session at the Black Arts Movement 50th Anniversary Celebration on Feb. 7, 2015, Laney College, Oakland.

5. A BAM Union of Artists, modeled on the National Writers Union. Union will offer health and life insurance for all members. Please comment on the NWU model. Do you suggest we reinvent the wheel?

6. A general fund.

Want to help? Contact: Marvin X, BAM 27 City Tour, 510-200-4164,
Please send a generous donation to the BAM 27 City Tour, 339 Lester Ave. #10, Oakland CA. 94606. Your donation can be tax deductible. BAM 27 City Tour co-planner, Paul Cobb, Publisher of the Post News Group in Oakland, suggests 100 people donate $100.00 in each city. This would go a long way to making the BAM 27 City Tour happen in your city. Set up a planning committee in your city, secure donations, grants. I will help you plan the BAM 27 City Tour for your city. Each city must have the participation of local artists, after all, BAM was local as well as national. Each city had their little Black theatres, some funded but mostly unfunded but were able to do productions as they were able. This was certainly true for Black Arts West Theatre, San Francisco. We got no grants. The Bay Area Black bourgeoisie did not support BAM until we established Black House with Eldridge Cleaver. They supported Black House because we had a celebrity in da house. Eldridge released his best-seller Soul on Ice while at Black House.  Today, we again call upon the progressive Black bourgeoisie to support the Black Arts Movement 27 City Tour.

collage by Adam Turner of the BAM Poet's Choir and Arkestra performing at the Malcolm X Jazz/art fest, Oakland, 2014

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