Sunday, February 28, 2016

The wild crazy ride of the Marvin X experience: a critical look at the man called Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland (Ishmael Reed); the USA's Rumi, Saadi, Hafiz.... (Bob Holman); according to Dr. Mohja Kahf, "Marvin X is the father of the genre Muslim American literature

Marvin X, also known as Marvin Jackmon and El Muhajir was born May 29, 1944 in Fowler, California, near Fresno. During his travels, he was known variously as Marvin Ellis Jackmon, Marvin X. Jackmon, Marvin X, Nazzam Al Sudan, Maalik El Muhajir, Elijah Muhammad, Otis Black, et al.

Nazzam Al Sudan was his first Arabic named given to him by his teacher, Ali Shariff Bey, Master Teacher of the Black Arts West Theatre and Black House, San Francisco, 1967. Ali was a Ahmadia Muslim who were the great evangelists of Islam to the West. The NOI is grounded in Ahmadia Islam which Sunni Muslims consider haram or sheirkh. Sunni Muslims cannot the Ahmadia version of Islam that a prophet came after Prophet Muhammad Ibn Abdullah. The Ahmadia accept their prophet as the Messiah or Messenger. Thus the NOI believe Elijah Muhammad is their Messenger. See the Maulana Muhammad Ali translation of the Holy Qur'an. See also the Yusef Ali translation of the Qur'an, especially his chapter on Egyptian Religion and its steps toward Islam.

In Africa, especially West Africa, Muslims have their indigenous prophets, messengers, saints, holy men. In Senegal the St. Bamba has a Holy City that other Sunni Muslims reject, though they have their saints, graves and holy sites.  

Marvin X is well known for his work as a poet, playwright and essayist of the BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT or BAM. He attended Merritt College along with Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. He received his BA and MA in English from San Francisco State University.

Marvin X is most well known for his work with Ed Bullins in the founding of Black House and The Black Arts/West Theatre in San Francisco. Black House served briefly as the headquarters for the Black Panther Party and as a center for performance, theatre, poetry and music. Marvin X is a playwright in the true spirit of the BAM. His most well-known BAM play, entitled Flowers for the Trashman, deals with generational difficulties and the crisis of the Black intellectual as he deals with education in a white-controlled culture. Marvin X's other works include, The Black Bird, The Trial, Resurrection of the Dead and In the Name of Love.
He currently has the longest running African American drama in the San Francisco Bay area and Northern California, ONE DAY IN THE LIFE, a tragi-comedy of addiction and recovery. He is the founder and director of RECOVERY THEATRE.
Marvin XMarvin X has continued to work as a lecturer, teacher and producer. He has taught at Fresno State University; San Francisco State University; University of California - Berkeley and San Diego; University of Nevada, Reno; Mills College, Laney and Merritt Colleges in Oakland. He has received writing fellowships from Columbia University and the National Endowment for the Arts and planning grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Read: Marvin X Unplugged An Interview by Lee Hubbard
Marvin X is available for lectures/readings/performance.  Contact him at

The Wisdom of Plato Negro: Parables/Fables

In “Wisdom of Plato Negro,” Marvin teaches by stories, ancient devices of instruction that appeal to a non-literate as well as a semi-literate people. (Fables differ from parables only by their use of animal characters.) The oldest existing genre of storytelling used long before the parables of Jesus or the fables of Aesop, they are excellent tools, in the hands of a skilled artist like Marvin X, in that he modifies the genre for a rebellious hip hop generation who drops out or are pushed out of repressive state sponsored public schools at a 50% clip. Marvin X is a master of these short short stories. Bibliographies, extended footnotes, indexes, formal argumentation, he knows, are of no use to the audience he seeks, that 95 percent that lives from paycheck to paycheck.
These moral oral forms (parables and fables), developed before the invention of writing, taught by indirection how to think and behave respecting the integrity of others. Marvin explained to his College of Arts audience, “This form [the parable] seems perfect for people with short attention span, the video generation… The parable fits my moral or ethical prerogative, allowing my didacticism to run full range” (“Parable of a Day in the Life of Plato Negro,” 147). But we live in a more “hostile environment” than ancient people. Our non-urban ancestors were more in harmony with Nature than our global racialized, exploitive, militarized northern elite societies.
—Rudolph Lewis is the Founding Editor of, A Journal. (Click here to read the full review).

Click to order via Amazon
Paperback: 281 pages
Publisher: Black Bird Press (2007)
Language: English

Marvin X has done extraordinary mind and soul work in bringing our attention to the importance of spirituality, as opposed to religion, in our daily living. Someone'maybe Kierkegaard or maybe it was George Fox who'said that there was no such thing as "Christianity." There can only be Christians. It is not institutions but rather individuals who make the meaningful differences in our world. It is not Islam but Muslims. Not Buddhism but Buddhists. Marvin X has made a courageous difference. In this book he shares the wondrous vision of his spiritual explorations. His eloquent language and rhetoric are varied'sophisticated but also earthy, sometimes both at once.
Highly informed he speaks to many societal levels and to both genders'to the intellectual as well as to the man/woman on the street or the unfortunate in prison'to the mind as well as the heart. His topics range from global politics and economics to those between men and women in their household. Common sense dominates his thought. He shuns political correctness for the truth of life. He is a Master Teacher in many fields of thought'religion and psychology, sociology and anthropology, history and politics, literature and the humanities. He is a needed Counselor, for he knows himself, on the deepest of personal levels and he reveals that self to us, that we might be his beneficiaries.
All of which are represented in his Radical Spirituality'a balm for those who anguish in these troubling times of disinformation. As a shaman himself, he calls too for a Radical Mythology to override the traditional mythologies of racial supremacy that foster war and injustice. If you want to reshape (clean up, raise) your consciousness, this is a book to savor, to read again, and again'to pass onto a friend or lover.
—Rudolph Lewis, Editor, ChickenBones: A Journal

BEYOND RELIGIONIn the Crazy House Called America
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ISBN: 0964067218
Format: Paperback, 204pp
Pub. Date: January 2003
Publisher: Black Bird Press
In the Crazy House Called America is available from Black Bird Press, 11132 Nelson Bar Road, Cherokee, CA 95965, $19.95. Contact Marvin X at:
“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…”
—Junious Ricardo Stanton

Love and War: PoemsLove and War: Poems
Click to order via Amazon
by Marvin X. Preface by Lorenzo Thomas
Format: Paperback, 140pp.
ISBN: 0964967200
Publisher: Black Bird Press
Book of poetry by Black Arts activist, preface by Lorenzo Thomas. "When you listen to Tupac Shakur, E-40, Too Short, Master P or any other rappers out of the Bay Area of Cali, think of Marvin X. He laid the foundation and gave us the language to express Black male urban experience in a lyrical way." James G. Spady, Philadelphia New Observer.

Wish I Could Tell You the Truth, EssaysWish I Could Tell You the Truth, Essays (Signed Copy)
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Paperback: 215 pages
Publisher: Black Bird Press (2005)
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

Somethin' Proper: The Life and Times of a North American African Poet Somethin' Proper: The Life and Times of a North American African Poet
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Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: Black Bird Pr (June 1999)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0964967219
ISBN-13: 978-0964967212
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches

Marvin X Performing

Land of my daughtersLand of My Daughters: Poem's 1995-2005
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Paperback: 116 pages
Publisher: BlackBird Press (2005)
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches

Pull Yo Pants Up Fada Black Prez and Yo Self!: Essays on Obama Drama
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Publisher: Black Bird Press (2010)

Click to order via Amazon
Publisher: Black Bird Press (2009)

Related Links
Black Bird Press News & Review
A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious,economic,psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."
Read: Marvin X Unplugged An Interview by Lee Hubbard

Marvin X Articles on Include
Nigguh Please! by Marvin X
The black culture police are at it again, lead running dog is Rev. Jesse Jackson, perhaps the most hypocritical culture policeman on the scene--especially after leading president Clinton in prayer over Monica while himself engaged in extramarital shenanigans. I can't take Jesse Jackson with his twisted mouth ( from lying) pontificating on moral issues while he is the most immoral of men, even pimping the blood of MLK, Jr.
Movie Reviews by Marvin X on include:
Baby Boy:

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1222 Dwight Way
Berkeley CA 94702

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