Alessia Brisbin on upcoming Culture Keepers Meeting, Tuesday, July 26, 6-8pm, Oakland Center Cultural Center, 14th and Adeline
BAMBD must be wise enough to think ahead about all possible pitfalls, from internal flaws to external events and other factors but especially such stinking thinking as getting tied to the umbilical cord of Oakland politricks for an ephemeral ride to nowhere. Think of a billion dollar trust fund, independent and for community benefit, not controlled by city government or individuals.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
You may have noticed three recent occurrences that have me thinking about an idea and strategy I had 20 years ago that Black people in Oakland are still struggling to bring to fruition.
Chinese Premier Chou En Lai in China
Chairman Mao greeting Shirley Graham DuBois and
Dr. W.E.B. DuBois in China
TALKS AT THE YENAN FORUM ON LITERATURE AND ART
Mao on Petty-bourgeois ideas
Among the proletariat many retain petty-bourgeois ideas, while both the peasants and the urban petty bourgeoisie have backward ideas; these are burdens hampering them in their struggle. We should be patient and spend a long time in educating them and helping them to get these loads off their backs and combat their own shortcomings and errors, so that they can advance with great strides. They have remoulded themselves in struggle or are doing so, and our literature and art should depict this process. As long as they do not persist in their errors, we should not dwell on their negative side and consequently make the mistake of ridiculing them or, worse still, of being hostile to them. Our writings should help them to unite, to make progress, to press ahead with one heart and one mind, to discard what is backward and develop what is revolutionary, and should certainly not do the opposite.
The Problem of Audience
I began life as a student and at school acquired the ways of a student; I then used to feel it undignified to do even a little manual labour, such as carrying my own luggage in the presence of my fellow students, who were incapable of carrying anything, either on their shoulders or in their hands. At that time I felt that intellectuals were the only clean people in the world, while in comparison workers and peasants were dirty. I did not mind wearing the clothes of other intellectuals, believing them clean, but I would not put on clothes belonging to a worker or peasant, believing them dirty. But after I became a revolutionary and lived with workers and peasants and with soldiers of the revolutionary army, I gradually came to know them well, and they gradually came to know me well too. It was then, and only then, that I fundamentally changed the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois feelings implanted in me in the bourgeois schools. I came to feel that compared with the workers and peasants the unremoulded intellectuals were not clean and that, in the last analysis, the workers and peasants were the cleanest people and, even though their hands were soiled and their feet smeared with cow-dung, they were really cleaner than the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois intellectuals. That is what is meant by a change in feelings, a change from one class to another. If our writers and artists who come from the intelligentsia want their works to be well received by the masses, they must change and remould their thinking and their feelings. Without such a change, without such remoulding, they can do nothing well and will be misfits.
Honoring and Celebrating the Brilliant Minds of the Past, Present and Future
We are excited to announce that the 8th Annual Oakland Juneteenth Celebration is fast approaching! Please join us on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 925 Brockhurst Street Oakland, CA 94608, between Market Street and San Pablo Avenue for a day for music, free health screens, historical education and family fun. This year’s theme is “Honoring and Celebrating the Brilliant Minds of the Past, Present and Future.” Our event brings together people of all ethnicities and cultures of the Greater Bay Area to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States.
For the last eight years, the Juneteenth Celebration has brought people from all over Oakland together to commemorate this momentous event. Last year over 1,000 people enjoyed the festival that included live music, free health screenings, oral history presentations, free food, quilting, and many other symbolic activities to commemorate our African American heritage. This year we will expand the event to provide even more opportunities for the community to hear from the voices of our ancestors:
Live Blues and Jazz performances
Vendors and Community Resource displays and sales
Health Zone hosted by Alameda County Public Health Department to provide health
screening & resources
We invite local organizations and vendors to participate in this wonderful gathering of neighbors. If you would like to secure a vending booth or host a resource table, please complete the attached forms and return them by June 13, 2016. Space is limited and booths will be assigned on a first come, first served basis upon receipt of application, fees, and permits where applicable. Once all documents are received, you will receive confirmation of your space at this year’s festival. If you have any additional questions or need any additional information please contact me at (510)435-1077 or Barbarahoward47@comcast.net. Our hope is that you will seriously consider this invitation and join us as we strive to make a positive difference in our community.
Director of Oakland Juneteenth Festival B.H. Brilliant Minds Project, Inc.
him before a million people in Tiananmen Square, he turned to Mao and said, "Chairman, thank you
DuBois departed the USA to become a citizen of Ghana, West Africa. Ironically, he criticized Marcus Garvey's Black to Africa Movement. Many North American Africans are leaving the USA for Ghana and other nations in Africa, among them Marvin X's daughter, Muhammida, who now lives and works in Accra, Ghana and has no plans of living again in the USA. She told her dad, "They may not have electricity 24/7 in Ghana but they don't have white supremacy 24/7. Nobody follows me around in the hotels and expensive stores! Dad, you need to get your behind to Ghana!"
muhammida el muhajir, black arts movement baby 2.0
Brand Marketing, Product Manager, and Tech Startup Founder in Brooklyn, New York
As the former Music Marketing Manager at sports powerhouse, Nike, Inc., El Muhajir spearheaded pioneering marketing campaigns and programs with industry heavyweights, Eminem, Outkast, Alicia Keys, Pharrell Williams, and Island Def Jam Records.
Through the creative agency, Sun in Leo, she produced the acclaimed ‘Street Stylez ‘ international fashion tour in Sao Paulo, Tokyo, and Paris as well as the ground breaking documentary, “Hip Hop: the New World Order” exploring the global impact of hip hop establishing El Muhajir as an expert voice on international trends in music, fashion, art, and culture.
She has presented at The United Nations, Oxford University, The Brooklyn Museum, and UC Berkeley and her works have been incorporated into the curriculum at The New School, The University of Sheffield (UK) and Harvard University.
One of El Muhajir's endeavors, frank white, a Brooklyn cafe/gallery space was nominated 'Best New Coffeehouse' by Time Out NY magazine and noted in many global publications for its focus on design and cultural engagement.
El Muhajir pursued a Masters degree in International Relations at The University of Ghana and received a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology with a double minor in Chemistry and Communications from Howard University where she attended on a full athletic scholarship.
To complement her traditional marketing expertise with digital technology, El Muhajir completed a one year Fellowship at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) Incubator in Accra, providing Business Development to a portfolio of tech start ups from Ghana and Nigeria.
She currently works developing digital marketing strategies for clients in West Africa and will soon launch the beauty product review app, Beauty Radical.
Many comrades concern themselves with studying the petty-bourgeois intellectuals and analysing their psychology, and they concentrate on portraying these intellectuals and excusing or defending their shortcomings, instead of guiding the intellectuals to join with them in getting closer to the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers, taking part in the practical struggles of the masses, portraying and educating the masses. Coming from the petty bourgeoisie and being themselves intellectuals, many comrades seek friends only among intellectuals and concentrate on studying and describing them. Such study and description are proper if done from a proletarian position. But that is not what they do, or not what they do fully. They take the petty-bourgeois stand and produce works that are the self-expression of the petty bourgeoisie, as can be seen in quite a number of literary and artistic products. Often they show heartfelt sympathy for intellectuals of petty-bourgeois origin, to the extent of sympathizing with or even praising their shortcomings. On the other hand, these comrades seldom come into contact with the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers, do not understand or study them, do not have intimate friends among them and are not good at portraying them; when they do depict them, the clothes are the clothes of working people but the faces are those of petty-bourgeois intellectuals. In certain respects they are fond of the workers, peasants and soldiers and the cadres stemming from them; but there are times when they do not like them and there are some respects in which they do not like them: they do not like their feelings or their manner or their nascent literature and art (the wall newspapers, murals, folk songs, folk tales, etc.).
A scene from Marvin X's BAM classic Flowers for the Trashman, produced by Kim McMillon's theatre students at University of California, Merced.
Bathroom Graffiti Queen
by Opal Palmer Adisa
8/25 - 9/4/2016
By Marvin X
By Amiri Baraka
Bathroom Graffiti Queen
By Opal Palmer Adisa
by Cat Brooks
By Regina Evans
*Too Much Woman For This World
By Khyrishi Wig
*The Ideal Plain
By Reginald Wilkins
by Terry Bission
*indicate World premieres
Nevertheless, no hard and fast line can be drawn between popularization and the raising of standards. Not only is it possible to popularize some works of higher quality even now, but the cultural level of the broad masses is steadily rising. If popularization remains at the same level for ever, with the same stuff being supplied month after month and year after year, always the same "Little Cowherd"  and the same "man, hand, mouth, knife, cow, goat",  will not the educators and those being educated be six of one and half a dozen of the other? What would be the sense of such popularization? The people demand popularization and, following that, higher standards; they demand higher standards month by month and year by year. Here popularization means popularizing for the people and raising of standards means raising the level for the people. And such raising is not from mid-air, or behind closed doors, but is actually based on popularization. It is determined by and at the same time guides popularization. In China as a whole the development of the revolution and of revolutionary culture is uneven and their spread is gradual. While in one place there is popularization and then raising of standards on the basis of popularization, in other places popularization has not even begun. Hence good experience in popularization leading to higher standards in one locality can be applied in other localities and serve to guide popularization and the raising of standards there, saving many twists and turns along the road. Internationally, the good experience of foreign countries, and especially Soviet experience, can also serve to guide us. With us, therefore, the raising of standards is based on popularization, while popularization is guided by the raising of standards. Precisely for this reason, so far from being an obstacle to the raising of standards, the work of popularization we are speaking of supplies the basis for the work of raising standards which we are now doing on a limited scale, and prepares the necessary conditions for us to raise standards in the future on a much broader scale.
Failure to recognize this is wrong. Furthermore, when we say that literature and art are subordinate to politics, we mean class politics, the politics of the masses, not the politics of a few so-called statesmen. Politics, whether revolutionary or counter-revolutionary, is the struggle of class against class, not the activity of a few individuals. The revolutionary struggle on the ideological and artistic fronts must be subordinate to the political struggle because only through politics can the needs of the class and the masses find expression in concentrated form. Revolutionary statesmen, the political specialists who know the science or art of revolutionary politics, are simply the leaders of millions upon millions of statesmen--the masses. Their task is to collect the opinions of these mass statesmen, sift and refine them, and return them to the masses, who then take them and put them into practice. They are therefore not the kind of aristocratic "statesmen" who work behind closed doors and fancy they have a monopoly of wisdom. Herein lies the difference in principle between proletarian statesmen and decadent bourgeois statesmen. This is precisely why there can be complete unity between the political character of our literary and artistic works and their truthfulness. It would be wrong to fail to realize this and to debase the politics and the statesmen of the proletariat.
The criterion for judging subjective intention or motive is social practice and its effect. We want no sectarianism in our literary and art criticism and, subject to the general principle of unity for resistance to Japan, we should tolerate literary and art works with a variety of political attitudes. But at the same time, in our criticism we must adhere firmly to principle and severely criticize and repudiate all works of literature and art expressing views in opposition to the nation, to science, to the masses and to the Communist Party, because these so-called works of literature and art proceed from the motive and produce the effect of undermining unity for resistance to Japan. According to the artistic criterion, all works of a higher artistic quality are good or comparatively good, while those of a lower artistic quality are bad or comparatively bad. Here, too, of course, social effect must be taken into account. There is hardly a writer or artist who does not consider his own work beautiful, and our criticism ought to permit the free competition of all varieties of works of art; but it is also entirely necessary to subject these works to correct criticism according to the criteria of the science of aesthetics, so that art of a lower level can be gradually raised to a higher and art which does not meet the demands of the struggle of the broad masses can be transformed into art that does.
A common characteristic of the literature and art of all exploiting classes in their period of decline is the contradiction between their reactionary political content and their artistic form. What we demand is the unity of politics and art, the unity of content and form, the unity of revolutionary political content and the highest possible perfection of artistic form. Works of art which lack artistic quality have no force, however progressive they are politically. Therefore, we oppose both the tendency to produce works of art with a wrong political viewpoint and the tendency towards the "poster and slogan style" which is correct in political viewpoint but lacking in artistic power. On questions of literature and art we must carry on a struggle on two fronts.
BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT BUSINESS DISTRICT TOUR
Ashley Chambers and Paul Cobb
Post News Group
Sonia Sanchez, Lakiba Pittman, Kim McMillon and Marvin X
Call for Papers: International Conference on the Black Arts Movement South, Dillard University, New Orleans, September 9-11, 2016
University of California, Merced
5200 N. Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343
PEOPLE'S NEWSLETTER OF THE BAMBD
Contact the Editor: Marvin X