The next Black Arts Movement Business District Town Hall is scheduled for Sunday, June 12/2016, 3-5pm at East Side Arts Alliance, 23rd and International Blvd, Oakland.
Table of Contents
1. Summary of BAMBD Town Hall Meeting, 5/13, Aries Jordan
2. Touchstones to stand on, Dr. Ayodele Nzinga
3. Letter from City Council President, Lynette McElhaney
4. Letter of invitation for Cultural Keepers meeting, Alessia Brisbin
5. BAMBD Notes, Marvin X
6. Reply to Marvin X, Eric Arnold
7. Business Improvement District BID, Denise Pate
8. Africa Town, Zahieb Mwongozi
9. Black Bourgeoisie Art and Opportunism, Marvin X
10. Talks at Yenan Forum on Art and Literature, Mao Tse-Tung
11. BAMBD Tour, Ashley Chambers and Paul Cobb
12. Call for Papers: Black Arts Movement South Celebration, Dillard University, Kim McMillon
Diop discussed differences in the Northern Cradle (Europe) and the Southern Cradle (Africa/Asia), expressed by the settled culture, including agriculture. The nomadic tradition is Northern with cremation the burial custom. We North American Africans adopting cremation as a burial custom, we see the level of their addiction to Northern Cradle culture.
The Southern Cradle people buried the dead along with the tools of life, for they believed in the resurrection and after life, thus their dramatic tradition was comedy as opposed to the Northern tradition of tragedy. Alas, the major theme in Northern Cradle drama is murder! Even today, this is their central theme. Check out the greatest plays of Shakespeare, Othello, MacBeth, King Lear, Richard III.
Of course the original drama of the Southern Cradle was comedy, expressed in the Osirian drama of Resurrection, based on the annual inundation of the Nile or Hapi River and the seasonal harvesting of crops, along with Ra, the Sun, and his opposite Seth or Sunset, i.e., darkness, evil. The Osirian drama of Resurrection is the prototype crucifixion drama, signifying the comedic nature of life, i.e., after darkness comes light. The Muslims say after difficulty comes ease, thus tragedy has no place in the Southern Cradle. The Southern Cradle insists there must be joy and happiness after sadness. Check out the joy of the Second Line New Orleans funeral rites. The Osirian resurrection drama is the prototype of the crucifixion ritual, but the drama ends with resurrection and ascension, a joyful rather than sad affair. See Kersey Graves The Sixteen Crucified Saviors.
We have surely enacted the Osirian drama in our sojourn in this wilderness of North America. Rev. Cone called it the ritual of the Cross and Lynching Tree (See his interview with Bill Moyers, PBS). He insists we and "they" cannot understand the American Tragedy until we come to terms with the cross and lynching tree, until we appreciate the Strange Fruit Billie Holiday told us about. When we understand that the central theme of North American African literature is how I got ovah, how I survived, then we can appreciate we are of the resurrection tradition, alas, it is in our past, present and future. What did Maya say, "And still I rise...."
Alas, the invaders impregnated African women and her mulatto children suffered the classic mulatto syndrome of identity crisis best expressed by Prince "Am I Black, Am I white?")
In present times, market forces cause us little time to think, plan and act, especially since we live disorganized and insecure, trusting no one, no even ourselves and our lovers, thus we cannot rally around the flag to resist the onslaught of rapidly changing demographics even while we sleep, for rents are rising, new property owners have arrived, not necessarily white, Chinese even, or Russian, Arab, African, no matter, we must adjust to market forces or move, or seek shelter under the overpasses of our lives, now pushing the shopping carts of our lives to God knows where. Remember our tradition of migration (el muhajir, the migrant).
"The king sold the farmer to the ghost.
In the middle of the Atlantic ocean
is a railroad of human bones...."
At least former San Francisco Mayor Joe Alioto apologized for “destroying the cultural and economic vitality of the Fillmore.” Do we need to name the Black politicians and Black capitalists who sold out Harlem and other cities? Can we blame politicians for being corrupt when corruption is the name of the game?
We thought Black Power would save us but Black Power morphed into green power for many elected politicians and black capitalists. Many went to jail and prison for corruption. The Black mayors of Newark, New Jersey are models of corruption. We are confident the current Mayor Ras Baraka will defy the Negro political tradition.
After fifty years of Black Studies, how many students do we have who minored or majored in agribusiness in California, the richest agricultural valley in the world, that canal running north to south is like the Nile or Hapi River, yet we are deaf, dumb and blind to DE NILE thus we are not HAPI!
The major business in the central valley is agriculture, so how do we fit in? And then there’s the critical issue of water. When we move to the central valley, how long are we going to be in the valley without water? The farmers consume 80% of the water and the almond farmers use most of that for export. This may change with the coming marijuana industry. But even that will be a corporate affair.
Brothers are still being arrested for selling marijuana even after buying it from white boys operating legal weed stores.
A brother who has a restaurant business he inherited from his mother, is being sued by a patron who was asked to depart with his dog, even though the customer had an official card declaring his dog was for emotional support. The brother said he was going to close down because he knows he can't win against a white man and his dog! We must resist, Sonia Sanchez said resist, resist, resist. I remind people what we used to say at high school football games, "Push 'em back, push 'em back, way back!"
After months of requesting, including appeals to the President of the City Council and the Mayor, why can’t we get banners up proclaiming the BAMBD, to say nothing of our request that vendors be able to work in the BAMBD 14th Street corridor, for economic reasons so our people see they can do for self, and don't need to sell drugs or their bodies. Surely, merchants can't complain especially when there are few merchants in the downtown area.
Since we have been repeatedly told BAMBD is not a priority, we may need to be patient (Amiri Baraka said if we be patient too long we become a patient), at least until after the city council elections, unless we get the bright idea to protest those politicians who’ve been lagging and dragging for months. As the Black Panthers said, you are part of the problem or part of the solution. Don't push us to the edge or we'll run our own people for city council!